Universally panned and unfairly labelled a flop ($225 million return on a budget of $85 million – whatever), JUMPER is more than just an item of clothing you throw on in colder circumstances. It’s a sci-fi action adventure film and here’s a spoiler-free review of it!
The film follows a young man (David Rice, played by Max Thieriot/Hayden Christensen) who is capable of teleporting to any location he can visualize. After discovering this ability he is persued by a secret society intent on killing him. Jumper is loosely based on the 1992 novel of the same name by author Steven Gould.
I must have seen this one a dozen times already. It’s one of those films that doesn’t exactly slap you in the face but is enjoyable nonetheless. Sometimes we need those films. I’d define it as comfort-viewing.
In saying that it’s not taxing to watch. From the beginning the audience is led by the hand into the world of Jumper. The rules are explained to us with very little exposition and the narration is sparse.
My main criticism of the film comes early on in the runtime, targeting a slightly cliched bully scene. This does, however set up the first use of Davids powers and a sort-of-origin-story nicely so I retract that criticism willingly. It’s not only satisfying to watch but it isn’t drawn out. The same retraction stretches to the obligatory “testing the powers montage”.
It’s got a fairly grounded Soundtrack using a few choice tunes of the day and scored by John Powell (Face Off, Shrek, The Bourne Supremacy, Mr & Mrs Smith, Hancock….). The music was conducted by Brett Weymark and performed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
The film contains some stunning shots, like the sunset from atop the sphinx, which returns later in the film and to me always felt iconic. Jumper was filmed in 20 cities and 14 countries and it makes for a satisfying backdrop. Some beautifully framed settings and landmarks flash up for maybe a few seconds at a time and then zip away frequently throughout the films run.
There’s a strong element throughout the narrative of – what would you do if you had this power? : Rob a bank? Become incredibly lazy? Briefly consider the fleeting notion of using this power for good?
Surely by now we’re all in agreement that it’s always great to see Michael Rooker in anything? Samuel L Jackson plays Roland, a religious nut but also a ruthless tracker who gives off a wild stench of jealousy for Jumper-kind. Hayden Christensen gets to stretch his legs in this one. Obviously his most famous role involved playing the complicated Anakin Skywalker, a role that many believed came across as a whiny man-baby.
Watching this one i can’t help thinking it could easily have the legs of a sequel film or maybe a series if handled the correct way. It seems that I wasn’t the only one to come to that conclusion. Prior to the films release Christensen stated :
“This has definitely been set up in a way that will allow for more films, and Doug has been careful to make sure that he’s created characters that will have room to grow.”
Producer Lucas Foster stated in an interview: “The ideas got so large, that they really couldn’t fit into, you know, one or two movies, they needed to evolve over at least three movies. So we planned the story out over three movies and then we sliced it up in such a way as to leave room for the other two movies.”
A spin-off television series from the film, titled Impulse, was released on YouTube Premium on June 6, 2018 :
For those of you who care : the product placement “beer of the film” for this one is Budweiser – it’s evident but not as sickening as Ryan Reynolds Aviation Gin placements in 6 Underground.
This film has overall good pacing and makes for an even blend of comedy, romance, action and sci fi. It is fun, Saturday afternoon viewing. It’s not going to make it into any top ten list but it’s a solid comic book adventure. A nice opportunity for mainstream audiences to see Christensen in another role. There’s a fluid world built up here and I for one would welcome a sequel, prequel or broader view of that world.