Monday, February 11, 2008

Movie Premiere: Jumper

Directed by Doug Liman
Released February 14, 2008

What would you do if you had the ability to teleport? Fast-forward past character development, leaving any sensible ideas behind, and jump straight to the action scenes? That is the means of attack for the new Hayden Christensen action vehicle “Jumper.”

Christensen’s main character David Rice has the power to go anywhere he wants, but what’s the rush? Towards the opening of the film, he brags about his exploits in a number of different countries – all completed in a morning before sitting down for a picnic lunch atop the Egyptian pyramids. It seems likely that David would get tired or burnt out from all this fast-paced jumping and ceaseless adventuring. With all this teleportation, when does he have time to lead a normal life? Family, friends, maybe even a job?

David possesses none of those things. After a near-fatal schoolyard accident that led to his first accidental jump, David abandons his life and proceeds to glean his talents so that he can rob a bank without ever opening a door. David is not a bad guy, because he leaves “I.O.U.” notes at the scenes of his so-called crimes, with every intention of paying back the money he is “borrowing.” But David has no job, no ambition – so how can he possibly hope to right the wrongs he has committed in order to fashion for himself a carefree life of luxury?

That is by far the least of the problems plaguing the movie. At least fifteen years after his presumed death, David suddenly reappears in the life of his boyhood crush Millie. Without even registering shock that he is alive, she promptly agrees to accompany him on a trip to Rome, the travel destination of her dreams. Less than half an hour in, the two have become a romantic couple despite nothing transpiring to explain their bond. Sure, two good-looking people like Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson could be attracted to each other, but they have zero chemistry on screen. Coupled with that is the lack of any explanation of why they became so close on a flight to Italy.

If this movie had a script to begin with, there is certainly no semblance of one at any point in the film. The dialogue is sparse and substituted with popping noises and a loud soundtrack set to the semi-cool teleportation special effects. Like “Transformers” last year, they might have been more effective had they not been used every second. Sometimes less is more, and an ounce of sense would have been nice, even if a jump or two (or ten) had to be cut out.

Putting the script aside, the acting is a convoluted mess. Christensen never really could act, and Bilson seems stuck trying to portray a slightly more mature version of her character on “The O.C.” to no avail. Jamie Bell, best known as the title character in “Billy Elliot,” appears midway into the film as a fellow jumper who has some serious companionship issues which make him into the most inexplicably irritable character and a lousy sidekick. And then there’s Samuel L. Jackson, who at age 59 seems to have nothing better to do than play angry men obsessed with punishing hot young stars (see also “Black Snake Moan”). He is parodying himself, and the sad thing is that he gives the most effective performance in the whole movie.

Devoid of any reason or plot development, “Jumper” attempts to thrive on its moderately impressive special effects and the good looks of its central characters. Unfortunately, this poor excuse for a film has nowhere to jump.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The filming style of Jumper made me feel like i myself was jumping around, which was cool. Also Christensen’s lines were as short as possible, which was ideal for the movie’s overall quality.