REVIEW of JUMPER—Anywhere Is Possible

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REVIEW of JUMPER—Anywhere Is Possible

I liked Jumper so much that I wish I could be the chump who could jump right into (what I assume will be) the sequel. Do I really have to wait?

David Rice (Hayden Christensen) discovers he has latent powers to teleport any place he visualizes. His initial reaction is to escape from a stifling home environment, school bullies, and poverty. In no time at all he beams himself in and out of bank vaults and scores big money, a penthouse suite, and global access. And just when he thinks he has it made, sitting on top of the world (or, at least, the Egyptian sphinx), along comes Roland (Samuel Jackson)—a "Paladin" committed to ridding the Earth of "jumpers"—as well as Griffin (Jamie Bell), a firebrand jumper equally committed to resisting and defeating the Paladins. Add luscious girlfriend Millie (Rachel Bilson) and an absent and enigmatic mother (Diane Lane, in a charismatic performance that bears no trace of Untraceable), plus locations in New York, Rome, Tokyo and Egypt, and kick-ass jumping effects and you have all the markings of an entertaining action sci-fi thriller.

But wait, there's more! This film is enrichened by believable character arcs that the sequel can only serve to deepen. Christensen plays his bruised soul to perfection. Yes, it's a superhero cliché that with great power comes great responsibility, something every young superhero needs to learn, but it's genuinely engaging watching Rice mature from a self-serving teenager to a young man giving thought to using his powers to help others. You truly sense that hiding his secret and living alone with so much power, even if it secures him material wealth, simply is not enough. The chemistry between Christensen and Bilson is sweet and sexy, which—linked to the film's opening on Valentines Day—reminds that Jumper is basically a love story about two people learning how much they can really reveal and share with each other. I imagine it will be the perfect date movie.

There are also solid veins of inquiry. As Rice learns that his gift has passed down through generations for millennia and that—like it or not—he is caught up in something of an ongoing holy war; Griffin guides him to make the historical connections between the Paladins and the Catholic Inquisition. The Magisterium's ageold dispute against divine immanence takes a pop cult turn in Roland's zeal to destroy anyone who possesses the power of God to move at will. Roland is not just a basic bad guy cut from dark broadcloth, however; Jackson exhibits genuine concern that the power bestowed upon jumpers inevitably drives them to madness and evil. One senses feral Griffin leaning that way. And one can only wonder if Rice's protestations that he's "different" will be borne out? I sure would like to know right now. Where's a worm hole when you need one?

Cross-published on The Evening Class.

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blackula jonezFebruary 12, 2008 2:23 PM

this movie does look cool, hope it doesn't suck

The VisitorFebruary 12, 2008 7:12 PM

wow, thanks for the review! i'm definitely going to catch it now.

Andrew MackFebruary 12, 2008 8:46 PM

I gotta admit I have also been intrigued by what I have seen on the tele so far too. Surprising even myself how interested I am in it simply based on tv spots. We finally have a stat holiday in February [Yay] so my 'Family Day' will be committed to my family of one and we'll go the cinema.

OpusFebruary 12, 2008 9:07 PM

I initially wrote this one off, due largely to the casting of Christensen, but the more I see about this one, the more I'm intrigued. Plus, it's directed by Doug Liman, who has been behind a number of incredibly entertaining, and thoroughly mainstream flicks.

Collin ArmstrongFebruary 12, 2008 10:34 PM

I've really enjoyed Liman's films. I'll give this a shot - thanks, Michael!

SwarezFebruary 12, 2008 10:50 PM

The more I watched that trailer the more I wanted to possess this power.

Arch StantonFebruary 14, 2008 1:04 AM

Thanks for the review. I was intrigued by the trailer too. It looked pretty cool so here's hoping it really is a fun, smart movie.

Michael GuillenFebruary 16, 2008 2:10 AM

Sigh. Unfortunately the initial critical reception has been less than favorable, according to The Greencine Daily's aggregate. Grady Hendix's comment is the most fair, I think: "As a professional pretentious person, it would be easy to be harsh on Jumper; but, if I had to pay for my own tickets, this is exactly the kind of fun little movie I'd want to see on a Friday night."

So viewer beware. You may just enjoy this movie no matter what the critics say.

DrewbaccaFebruary 18, 2008 11:41 AM

I'll be the first to agree with Michael having seen the movie yesterday. It was a whole lot of fun and I equally look forward to the sequel. I think the questions the movie raised in its plot give lots of opportunities for endless possibilities for an interesting story arc.

Andrew MackFebruary 19, 2008 5:59 AM

Michael: I have to admit, Jumper was pretty good. I went in optimistic, thanks in whole to your review, and I liked it a lot. Good story. Good effects that weren't overblown. Yeah, I would really like to see where this could go. Mr. Producers, just please, please, please don't feel like you have to dumb it down or up the ante. It was good the way it was.