Jumper [2008]

Actors: Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, Hayden Christensen
Doug Liman
UK, Europe, Japan, South Africa and Middle East)
Number of discs:
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date:
16 Jun 2008
Run Time:
85 minutes



Jumper, about a young guy who can magically teleport to anywhere in the world merely by thinking it, is a film that is as bland and good-looking as its star, Hayden Christensen who played Young Darth Vader in the Star Wars prequels.

Confined to the small screen, Jumper seems even more mediocre and inconsequential than it did on the big screen. Part of the problem is that the film has an unlikable anti-hero and its star (Christensen) lacks the charisma to make audiences actually like or care for the character.

Perhaps if he switched roles with the more animated and lively Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, King Kong) who plays a ?sidekick? of sorts, things might have worked out better for Jumper. The other problem though is that the movie seems to be in a rush to get things over and done with - as if director Doug Lyman (who scored hits with Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs. Smith) was in a hurry to teleport right out of there and collect his pay check. The action scenes are simply edited too fast and are often difficult to follow.

But ultimately the movie's shallowness undermines it and one is left with a so what? vibe when the end credits roll.

THE DISC: Good DVD, mediocre ? if not downright poor ? movie.

What makes Jumper unique as production is that it is one of those rare productions in which downtown Toronto isn't made to pass off as Tokyo city centre. David, the hero of Jumper, teleported right across the world and so it seems did the film crew who actually went to the ?bother? of filming in exotic locales such as Egypt, Paris, Tokyo and so forth. Interestingly enough for such a big-budget movie director Lyman resorted to the sort of guerrilla tactics which cash-strapped indie film-makers usually resort to.

Scenes in Tokyo and Paris for instance were filmed under uncontrolled conditions. The director simply followed the movie's two stars around the streets of these cities with a hand-held camera.

Those are actual pedestrians and not extras one sees milling about in the background. (Apparently Lyman couldn't get the required permits for filming, and thus opted for this highly illegal route. Plus there were budget restraints.) One ?chase scene? involving a sports car was actually filmed in ordinary traffic, the movie's stunt drivers sharing the road with everyday commuters. These making-of featurettes are quite worthwhile seeing just for this.

On the audio commentary the director and producers supply a lot of input into their various creative decisions. Apparently nothing but the original concept remained of author Stephen Gould's novel of the same name. The plot involving so-called ?paladins? that hunt and kill down the teleporting kids (or jumpers) is wholly their invention. They also let drop that they have enough ideas for another two movies in the series.

Lyman however spends a lot of time defending creative decisions that turned out to be wrong in hindsight. If you are going to have an anti-hero who actually insults the audience in his voice-over, at least make sure that you cast someone who isn't entirely bland and unremarkable in that role . . .

WORTH IT? The extras on this disc are actually more interesting than the movie itself. Check it out if you're a film student. Otherwise you're probably better off reading Gould's original novel instead.



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