Starring: Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Lane, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, Michael Rooker, Teddy Dunn, Kristen Stewart
Directed by: Doug Liman
The Weinstein Company
The Official Site of Jumper
Discuss Jumper on the boards!
For David Rice, anywhere is possible. With the ability to teleport or "jump" to any location in the world based on a memory, David is experiencing life like few of us will ever have the opportunity to. A quick trip to the top of Big Ben to take in the sights or to the head of the Sphinx in Egypt for a late lunch is just another Tuesday in the world of this young man with incredible power. That's how we're introduced to Hollywood's coolest new super hero. Or is it super villain? Or neither? That question alone should give you an idea of how compellingly conflicted of a character David should be, but Jumper seems to forget the good thing it has and get lost in its vivid fight sequences and stellar visual effects.
The movie wants you to see David as a good guy even though his unlimited income comes from quick jumps into bank vaults and he spends a lot more time fulfilling boyhood fantasies and taunting adversaries than he ever does doing good deeds. As a teen runaway with a missing mother and abusive father it's easy to sympathize with the character but disappointing when you see that, in his case, with great power comes greed. It goes to his head and turns him into a jacktard before the opening monologue is complete.
In the novel (Jumper by Steven Gould) David's questionable ethics and very realistic response to the discovery of a super power is used to develop the character beyond "good" or "evil". To tell more than just the origin story of the words next would be/could be hero or bad guy. It gives him depth and in the opening scenes of the film it seems just as likely to happen here, but it quickly becomes clear that in Jumper, character development is a distant second to just making shit cool.
Hayden Christensen (Revenge of the Sith, Awake) steps in to play our jumper and while his performance is far from offensive, it doesn't exactly leap off the screen at you. It's hard to register your presence on screen in a movie like this where every third shot is CGI and in a cast where nearly everyone else is inherently more interesting than you (I'll get to them in a second), but he definitely doesn't stumble into unpleasant obscurity like in Episode II. Still, he's not a star. Not yet anyway.
If there's ever a time where his performance is somewhat uncomfortable to watch it's got to be in his early scenes with his love interest Rachel Bilson. Great looking couple, but despite rumors of an onset fling, the pair is dead on screen. Just take a look at them here talking to director David Liman. They look bored out of their gourd. ZERO chemistry. Bilson plays Millie, a townie barhop that represents lost love from David’s youth. With Millie’s introduction, the film is given another chance to sort of develop both characters, unfortunately Millie is the kind of gal that will drops her skirt one plane ride and one afternoon after Davy shows up in his fancy clothes to beat up a childhood bully. (More daydreams fulfilled from a kid with too much power.) There's little there to make us care about Millie and David's relationship so they might as well be in love. Anything to move the story along, right?
Jackson similarly gets lost, overdoing his villainous "Jumper hunter" character like a cartoon version of Blade with the hi-tech gadgets, will to go to any length to kill his prey, and ridiculous hair all present and accounted for. Depending on how you view the movie, Jackson's character Roland, a member of a mysterious jumper-hunting group called "Paladins", is actually the good guy of the story. He recognizes the potential evil within all Jumpers and just goes to extremes to make sure they won't eventually fulfill that bad capability. This is just another great aspect to turn these characters in on themselves that goes completely unused.
I like Jackson but he's basically playing he same character here that he's played in a dozen movies, just varying the degree of how much he bugs out his eyes to make sure we know how intense he is this time. Still, during the fights, he doesn’t hold anything back swinging pick axes and cattle prods like the old pro he is. And it's thrilling to watch.
The one actor that escapes permanent residence in dullsville is Jamie Bell who plays Griffin, a second jumper that has dedicated his life to hunting and killing the Paladins that slaughtered his parents. In the brief time he gets on screen he makes the most of really developing his character beyond the one sentence description that was used to pitch the entire cast to the movie studio.
As disappointed as I was with where they took the characters I can find little to complain about with the action end of things. I've been dropping my digs that they pushed these elements to the forefront and made them a priority over all else, but it's obvious that that's true. So much care and attention was made in making Jumper look the part of the launch pad for another big action franchise, and in that aspect I think it's a huge success.
The characterization is in the toilets but there's so much great action, shot beautifully with every conceivable "teleportation stunt" being used. They fudged some of the ground rules of jumping that were laid out in the book, but I couldn't have cared less because they actually did something with it. They took that fudge and made cakes out of it. Big beautiful cakes of action that moved so fast I was having trouble keeping up with it. Who's where? How did they get there? Gimmie a sec to catch up!
It's all done well but the cherry on the... I guess cake, if we're returning to that metaphor... is the teleporting battle where we see two jumpers kick each other stupid across the planet throwing everything they have at each other. Including an orange (not the color, the citrus) truck. There's been nothing like this on screen before, including NightCrawler's attack on the White House in X2, and I think that is going to be the big deciding factor in getting Jumper a solid box office run and a bigger budget sequel. That's kind of the name of the game and I was entertained enough where I'm happy for them, I just hope they can make me care about more than one character" the next time out.
Director Doug Liman been able to balance character and action before in movies like Go and even more so The Bourne Identity, but for some reason the action just completely takes control of the movie, pushing everything else back. We don't get a hero or a villain or even a comfortable and interesting in-between. All we get is a placeholder to look good while the post-production crew works their magic around him. It could be the bigger budget or the addition of a sci-fi twist but for whatever reason Liman was blinded by the visuals and ended up putting together a gorgeous but hollow spectacle.
Rating: 7 out of 10 - Ok, so I had more bad things to say than good in my review of Jumper but the truth is - I loved the movie, Everything I said about the vacant character development and lack of chemistry is 100% true but I couldn't help but be charmed by the premise, the possibilities and the presentation.
What these characters can do is a lot of fun to watch visually, and with a structure established of one group hunting another for hundreds of years, huge doors are opened to expand this beyond bad characters and no chemistry. Yes, I would LOVE to see a real franchise develop from this and really explore the universe. Really see how far they can take it. I'm enchanted by that and eager not only to see more but also to revisit this first offering.
David Rice may not be the Cineplex’s next great super hero or even moderately appealing action star, and you know what? It doesn’t matter. We don’t need a new John McClane. The one we have works fine. I could complain about the characterization all day long but the truth is, this time around, it was fine. I mentioned it so frequently in the review because it is apparent and the majority of moviegoers including fans of the book are going to be disappointed in the characters on screen. It's my duty to warn you of that. For me though, the action squeaks out a winning experience.
I would have loved to end the review with some classy line like “So if I could go anywhere right now, it would definitely be right back to the fourth row of the 7:20 showing of Jumper!” but that’s probably not true. I’d love to see it again but Jumper is probably playing in London and I’d be more than willing to pay to see it after jumping over there. So I guess what I’m saying is…”if I could go anywhere right now, it would definitely be right back to the fourth row of the 7:20 showing of Jumper! In London!”
I'm on board for the Jumper revolution, that's for sure. This will be delicious, popcorn fun in repeat viewings and I'm sure it'll wiggle its way into my DVD player frequently enough once it’s released. There's some great potential for extra features that I do hope they take advantage of. I'd love to see some featurettes focusing on the exotic locations, working inside the Coliseum, and even the process of adapting the book. As someone who's knee deep in reading the book right now (pg 226 as of this afternoon, for more scroll down to the JLCM Book Club section bellow) I'd be very anxious to see why they made the choices they did.
Jumper is the current subject of the JLCM Book Club and while the discussion has been rolling for a couple of weeks now, things are picking up now because of the movies release and because some of us are finally getting to the end of the book. It’s been a fascinating read so far, much more of a character study then the movie could ever pretend to be, and I’m enjoying it immensely.
Like most book to screen there are differences worth mentioning and picking a part, but I’ll save my nerd speak and spoilers for the comfort f that spoiler thread, and I’ll offer a hearty invitation for everyone to stop by and share your thoughts on the book, the movie, and how well they compare.
Also! We’ll be choosing a new book to read in the next week or so, so if you have a suggestions please feel free to share it with the community!
Jumper’s official web site is pretty sharp. But like the movie it’s got more style than substance. Beautifully designed menus and clever transitions navigate you to little beyond the standard wallpapers, video clips and plot synopsises. But it does contain something some of my fellow comic geeks, or just people interested in the continuing universe that the movie takes place in, may find some interest in. Free comics!
There’s no direct link so bare with me. Go to www.jumpermovie.com, choose whatever country you’re from and in the lower right hand side you’ll see a little image of a comic book and the words “ENTER THE COMIC TO FILM CONTEST”
. This is Jumpscars
a prequel to the Jumper movie that focuses on an early adventure of Sam Jackson’s Palladian character as well as a second Palidan that I can’t really talk about because it involves spoilers.
The contest mentioned deals specifically with creating video inspired by the events of the book. That’s not something that particularly appeals to me, but the grand prize sure does. A trip to LA to meet director Doug Liman as well as a brand new Mac Book Pro. That’s a pretty grand “Grand Prize”.
Unfortunately that contest expired. You’ll have to be content with just reading the comic for free via free download or right there on the site. I picked it up a couple of weeks ago (and have been kicking myself for dropping 15 bucks on it when I could have got it for 10 at Amazon or free on line) and found it to be a wonderful introduction to the movie from the perspective of the Paladins. I love that it isn’t an introduction of the main character or even worse a direct movie adaptation (Blah), instead “Jumpscars” looks at the story from a completely different perspective adding so much to the Jumper world and telling a nice little story at the same time. Well worth a read through.
So the Jump with Joe Contest was a complete failure. It was through no fault of you or any of the other readers that were kind enough to share their dream jump locations, but through me alone. I’m completely at fault and I’ve got to say it’s because I underestimated you guys a little. Let me start at the beginning.
The contest was sort of a second thought. I had come up with the joke that I ended up using and had always intended on using and realized that the jump to the moon and the jump to the ocean floor were necessary, but the third jump could be anyone jumping anywhere. It didn’t matter, as long as someone’s head was blowing up the joke would work fine.
It occurred to me that this was a good opportunity to open it up to you guys and I did so in this thread where a bunch of you turned out to offer up your suggestions. But they were too good. Too clever. I needed something simple, something non-descript that wouldn’t distract from the way the joke worked. Instead I’m getting great ideas about jumping all over the world to make the perfect ice cream sundae and two people that actually did want to go into space.
For the record, I was originally supposed to be the guy going to the moon but I swapped in Brandon J. Carr when he expressed an interest in going to Mars. That’s as close as you are gonna get Carr!
So I failed you and I’m sorry. Thank you to everyone that was gracious enough to participate. I promise that the next contest will be more organized and less fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants then this one was. I also promise to try and work those of you that did submit pictures into the background of upcoming strips. So stay tuned!
Whew! That’s a long review. I had to cut my review of the Indy trailer just to come in at a respectable length. No worries, I’ll slap it on to an upcoming review. I wanted to mention one thing down here and that’s that the Oscars are this Sunday. To celebrate we’ll be doing a short post-Oscars show on the Triple Featre. Be sure to stop by at 11pm EST to hear our first reaction LIVE!
Thanks for reading!
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Joe – The creator of the strip who has embraced giving crappy movies the chance they deserve. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.
First Appearance - The Introduction
Yeo – Yeo is Joe’s wife and often the voice of reason in the strip. Having her act rational allows the rest of the cast to embrace being in a comic strip which primarily involves randomly punching people, interacting with fictional characters and talking about boobs. Yeo is smart, beautiful and way too good for Joe. Don’t tip her off.
First Appearance - Fever Pitch
Irv – Joe’s movie-going sidekick who’s always down for watching Jason Statham crescent moon kick some thug through a plate glass window and getting some drinks before after and during a Vin Diesel movie. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.
First Appearance - Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior
Agent 337 George Jones – A government Agent that took over for Joe after he was bad-mouthing President Bush in the V for Vendetta strip. George ran the show for over a month bring a much needed sense of patriotism and justice to both the strips and reviews. He eventually got too attached to his work, empathizing with Joe’s plight to give crappy movies a fair shake. In a way he came to love crappy movies as well and was pushed out of the position. He spiraled out of control and ended up in prison. His adventures will be told in the limited series JLCM Presents: 337 Locked Up which is set to début Christmas of 09.
First Appearance - V for Vendetta
Other Notable Appearances: Stay Alive, Ice age 2, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Slither, Here Comes Guest week, Let’s Go To Prison
Leonidas – The former king of Sparta who has traveled into the future and is having trouble coping with the modern times. Yelling loudly and kicking people into giant holes doesn’t really work the same way it did in the olden days. As time as gone by he’s adjusted but it’s a safe bet that he’s always one bad message away from throwing a spear through someone.
First Appearance - 300
Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Strip# 300, The Golden Compass, Rambo, Untraceable, The Ladies of Max Paybe
Palpatine – Former Senator, Emperor of the Galactic Empire, Sith Lord... He shows up in the Joe Loves Crappy movies galaxy on occasion to let people know that they’re being stupid. No one’s really sure how he shows up in this universe but chances are it breaks all kinds of copywrite laws.
First Appearance - Episode III: The Dark Side
Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Night Watch, Saw 3, Are We Done Yet
Slow Billy – Billy is a sweet kid but he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. If you’re watching him for the day be prepared to explain to him the plot of the movie or how popcorn works or, not so much where babies come from, but what babies are. He’s a complete moron.
First Appearance - Four Brothers
Other Notable Appearances: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Da Vinci Code, Vantage Point, Journey to the Center of the Earth
Kyle the Movie Snob – Be careful what fun facts about movies you tell your friends at a friendly gathering or in line for the latest blockbuster, because if you’re even slightly wrong, Kyle will be more than happy to let you know. He usually gets what’s coming to him though. Poor guy has cracked three ribs since joining the JLCM cast.
First Appearance - Ultraviolet
Other Notable Appearances: 16 Blocks, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Transformers, Journey to the Center of the Earth
Jean-Luc Picard – Another lawsuit waiting to happen is Jean Luc Picard who, towards the end of the strip’s first year, became the go-to background character. If there was ever a seat to fill or a random person to place wandering around in the background, nine times out of ten it was Picard. While Picard has crossed paths with Irv he and Joe have never met. Perhaps they will some day but for now just can an eye on the background.
First Appearance - The Producers
Other Notable Appearances: I’m not telling you, that’s no fun. It’ like Where’s Waldo – go find him!
Ice Cream Sandwich – Delicious and… deadly? Usually when you see someone eating an Ice Cream sandwich, someone else is experiencing a substantial amount of pain. Still, how nice is an ice cream sandwich on a hot summer day?
First Appearance - Saw IV
Other Notable Appearances: Bee Movie, Run Fatboy Run, Saw V