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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Jumper


**½ Jumper. Science fiction.

Directed by: Doug Liman.
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Lane, Rachel Bilson



We saw this at the Hercules.

David Rice (Hayden Christensen) is a "jumper." That is, he can teleport himself. When he first discovered his ability as a teenager, he robbed a bank, and now he lives a life of luxury and adventure, jumping wherever takes his fancy.

But the mysterious Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) catches up to him. Roland is a member of a group called "paladins" devoted to killing all the jumpers they can find--apparently because "only God should have the ability to be everywhere." David gets away and jumps back to his home, where he meets up with his high school crush Millie (Rachel Bilson) and takes her to Rome to impress her.

This was a wonderful premise, but it really failed in the execution--for me, at least.

First, I couldn't sympathize with David's hedonistic lifestyle. Whenever he wants something, he simply steals it. I know I've seen too many superhero movies, but even if he wasn't going to devote his life to doing good, he could have at least had a balance. That was possibly the point--that developing this ability as a frustrated teen caused him to become a narcissist, but that was never developed. Regardless, I couldn't relate to him, so I didn't really care what happened to him, so I watched from a detached perspective.

Second, there was only a flimsy excuse for why the paladins wanted to kill all the jumpers, and even that wasn't explored at all. Basically, you just have to accept that they're mortal enemies, period. Not to mention that there's no explanation given for how/why the paladins' weapons of electric shocks and wires keep jumpers from jumping.

Then near the end there's a development that contradicts what we learned at the beginning of the movie. Again, if it had been explained better, or even admitted, it would have helped.

And ****spoiler**** the bit with his mother just seemed tacked on to the end. Her character seemed to contradict itself--she was willing to save her son, but fully intended to go on killing other jumpers? Carl suggested that it was not unlike a radical homophobe with a gay child, but I don't understand those people, either. Again, perhaps if the paladins' motivations were better explained, or if it had been presented as inevitable, something she couldn't change, rather than a choice...****

Anyway, the special effects and action scenes were a lot of fun. I just wish they'd spent a fraction of the effort on ensuring that the story was worthy of the effects.

Note: half of a star is for the fact that the movie starts out in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the 6 years' worth of nostalgia that evoked.

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