Wednesday, 21 May 2008


JUMPER (2008)

Directed by: Doug Liman
Screenplay: David S. Goyer & JimUhls
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Rachel Bilson, Jamie Bell & Samuel L. Jackson

Jumper is a good movie, better than some would have you believe, but a frustrating movie. In fact, it's more like half a movie. Never really getting going, despite some good action, and then ending just as it has got going. The idea of people being able to teleport is a novel idea, smartly realized through intricate special effects but perhaps not given its full potential. This is due in part to a story getting bogged down in too much tedious relationship stuff. David (Christensen) is a troubled kid who finds out he can teleport and runs away to perfect his new gift. Grown up he robs banks, travels the world a jump at a time and lives the good life. Yet all he really wants to do is hook up with the girl from his childhood, Millie (Bilson). He does but not before the Paladin's show up in the form of Roland (Jackson). They kill teleporters, or jumpers. Why? Because they just do. So David finds himself on the run all the while attempting to find the right way to tell Millie about his gift.

See, a pretty neat concept and one that leads to a series of exciting set pieces and visuals but not much else. Even Jackson, who is requisitely sinister, doesn̢۪t get enough screen time. David's jumper origin rushes by so quickly that we are barely 20 minutes in and we are already well into the Paladin chases Jumper plotline. All the cast do well, especially Bell as the feisty, full of fury Griffin, another Paladin, but they are let down by a sense of not much happening. A lot does, with David and Griffin jumping into and out of countries and war zones in the same conversation but the pacing seems off, nothing lasting for what seems more than a few seconds. This certainly gives the sense of the fast movement of jumping but little else. Liman's film also suffers from what many of his films do: a sense of narcissism. Characters we find it difficult to feel sorry for when they seem to have pretty decent lives. Well, maybe not Griffin as he has had a shit time.

Despite the feeling that a lot was cut out and the end is a blatant set up for a sequel, Jumper is still a good time. Liman's naturalistic camerawork and the performances he elicits from the cast give the film a more realistic edge and the jumper sequences are breathless. Trick editing, photography and subtle CGI blend seamlessly together meaning the action sequences often take place in several locations and continents at the same time. Clever stuff and will hopefully be further developed in a sequel. Just add on an extra 20 minutes or so, so we feel like we have seen a whole movie.

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