Monday, July 21, 2008

REVIEW: Jumper


Year: 2008
Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Lane
Distributor: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
MPAA: Rated PG-13

When Jumper intentionally hit theaters early this year, I wasn't sure if I wanted to see it. It just didn't look like a movie that was going to be any good. The trailers however convinced me other wise. They kept mentioning from the director of The Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. This kept me kind of interested because I happened to enjoy both of those movies. What ultimately made my decision to not see the movie was its reviews. Despite grossing over $220 million worldwide, Jumper didn't fair well to critics with most of them complaining about its story. So with that in mind, I decided to wait for the DVD and hoped to review it someday.

Plot Outline:
David Rice (Hayden Christensen) is a young man who quite literally gets away from his grim family life by teleporting to another place with the power of his mind. Years later, David is using his powers to raid bank vaults, seduce girls in London and sit a top the pyramids. He soon discovers that he is not the only one bestowed with this unique gift, and all is not well in the world of jumpers. After jumping back to Michigan to get reacquainted with his long lost love Millie Harris (Rachel Bilson), David makes the acquaintance of experienced jumper Griffin (Jamie Bell). Griffin tells him of a secret between jumpers and a shadowy group that seeks to destroy them such as Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) who view jumpers as a threat to all mankind, and make it their mission to eliminate them.

The movie is based on Steven Gould's novel with the same name. The movie pretty much follows the novel at the start of the movie, but goes off in another direction half way through. The plot has an interesting concept that would have made for a killer trilogy, but it completely fails to deliver. We don't get answers to many of the questions the film leaves you with such as the connection between the jumpers and the people who are trying to kill them. Also the story with David's mother. Not only that, but the film tries to hide all of this with its special effects which are great by the way. The characters also feel somewhat plastic and pretty dull. Theirs hardly any character development which often results in no chemistry between the main characters. I think the studio should have sticked with the script by David S. Goyer which followed the novel really closely instead of going with another script which replaced parts of the novel with action scenes. With that said, Jumper is still pretty entertaining. Its cool to see the main character David jumping all over the world in the blink of an eye.

Hayden Christensen plays as David Rice and he gives an almost emotionless performance. His acting just wasn't convincing me and I know he can do better if he tries like he did in Episode III. Jamie Bell plays as Griffin and hes probably the only one in the film that I thought gave a very good performance. Hes witty and relaxed the way he should be. I remember him playing in Peter Jackson's King Kong which he had a decent role in. Its nice to see him somewhere in the lead this time. Rachel Bilson plays as Millie Harris and I kind of liked her in this role. She doesn't have much chemistry with Christensen, but I still liked that she was somewhat sophisticated. Samuel L. Jackson plays as Roland and he kind of surprised me. Honestly, when I first saw the trailer for Jumper, I just thinking "what the hell is Jackson doing in a movie like this". Than I saw the movie and thought he wasn't that bad in it. He doesn't really make for a good villain, but I still thought he gave a pretty good performance in his role.

The visual effects for Jumper are simply great. The movie was just released early this year so the films source is in excellent shape. I didn't notice any film grain and the image was clean through out the movie. Colors are pretty eye popping and very stylized. Their are some scenes where it seems like its somewhat oversaturated, but it looks vibrant for the most part. The film has many scenes where it shows its wonderful colors and this is mostly when David is seen in different locations. Flesh tones look pretty accurate with maybe some scenes alittle off. Detail is very clear and sharp. Environments look highly detailed and show alot of clarity. Close up shots show alot on the characters faces. The movie also contains many CGI footage that looks great. Animations look real and similar to those found in real life. This is a great looking movie that will end up being demo material.

The soundtrack in Jumper is very lively. The movie is scored by composer John Powell who also composed other hits such as X-Men: The Last Stand and The Bourne Ultimatum. The movies score is almost non-existent and hardly feels like its been used enough. The only real time we get to listen to it is during the end credits. Even with that, Jumper still features other music from various artists. All these music sound great and seems to go well with the films style. Bass is cranked up high and loud. Jumper has many scenes that use its bass to the limit. You can hear the rumble when someone jumps to another place. Dynamics hold up really well and show some aggressive use for the films rocking bass. This is easily reference material and something Id use to demo off my surround sound.

Jumper has an interesting concept that could have easily been made into a great film, but its under developed script brings it down a notch. The story although somewhat entertaining feels sloppy and a bit rushed. We get left with many questions that don't get answers too. The cast is average at best with most of them giving out decent performances. The visual effects for the movie are simply great and awesome to look at. The soundtrack is rocking with some strong bass and good music. This movie might be worth checking out if your bored and looking for some fun. Just make sure to have an open mind and not pay too much attention to its story. Here's hoping the sequel which they made it obvious near the end turns out better.

Grade: C-


Jaccstev said...

I also watch this film on DVD and sadly, I have to say that "Jumper" is not a good film. The teleport things in the film are truly quite interesting but still not enough to covered a huge hole on its plot and also the flatly actings.

Farzan said...

Your every bit right, but I did find some sort of entertainment in it.