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Jumper (2008)

by on 2013/05/10

Jumper (2008)

“Surprise me.”

* * *

People seem to dislike this particular flick, and I’m not quite sure why that would be. Jumper’s not perfect, it’s not even great, but it’s visually impressive and fun. I’m guessing it’s backlash against the Star Wars prequels, because they also featured Hayden Christensen.

I’d never heard of the original books, and the movie hadn’t caught my attention . . . at least until I was stuck in a flight with nothing else to do. How did I miss this assemblage of talent, well-stocked with many names I respected? Jamie Bell (The Adventures of Tintin), David Goyer (Dark City), Tom Hulce (Amadeus), Samuel Jackson (The Long Kiss Goodnight), Doug Liman (Go), and Michael Rooker (Tombstone). Add to that list several other more recent discoveries: Diane Lane (Judge Dredd), Shawn Roberts (Going the Distance), Kristen Stewart (Twilight), and Max Thieriot (Chloe).

Okay, maybe that list illustrates why it should have been great.

Christensen stars as David, a neglected boy who discovers he can teleport. Although he doesn’t remember, he’s been doing it since the age of five. At fifteen, he has an accident which makes him aware of the power. By 23, he’s living the globe-trotting life of a wealthy playboy, all on the spoils of unstoppable bank robberies.

Unstoppable, that is, until he’s tracked by Jackson’s paladin, and drawn into a secret war between the “jumpers” and technology-based hunters.

That’s pretty much all there is to it, notwithstanding a romantic subplot. There’s nothing deeper to ruminate on – the death or escapist fantasies of an abuse victim, for example – just a grab bag of flashy action connecting landmarks: Giza! London! Manhattan! Rome! Tokyo! Peterborough!

And lots and lots and lots of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Which is fine. I’m rarely impressed by what Gru calls “sparkly things” but I was in this case. I never tired of David jumping from one place to another, with a satisfying muffled thump, and the eddying tendrils of distortion.

Sure I could gripe at the details. How exactly did David not know of his powers between five and fifteen? Thieriot doesn’t exactly resemble a younger Christensen. Why is Jamie Bell always “just around” in the early scenes? And nobody blinks when David reappears after years of being dead and/or gone.

However, I was too entertained feel very down on it all and – given author Steven Gould has written other instalments – I’d now be willing to watch more adaptations. Perhaps they could even answer some of my questions. Unfortunately, given Jumper’s critical and popular reception, the odds of such an outcome are on par with my developing powers . . . my own good looks, intelligence, wealth, and modesty notwithstanding, of course.

* * *

Rated PG (Canada) / PG13 (United States)

88 minutes

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