Tuesday 11 March 2008

Review: Jumper

Year: 2008
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, Diane Lane
Screenwriters:David S. Goyer and Jim Uhls and Simon Kinberg
Director:Doug Liman

What if you could go anywhere you want in the blink of an eye? That's what Doug Limans latest film is about. Welcome to the world of Jumper. Christensen plays David who after a near death experience, discovers a genetic anomaly that allows him to "jump" to anywhere he wishes (think Nightcrawler in X-men). However Roland (Jackson) is an agent of a secret society that believes that only God may have the sort of power David has. To add to the proceedings David hooks up with an old flame named Mille (Bilson) and meets another jumper (Bell) and lands them into trouble as well.

Jumper is lazy. It's plot is thinly spread, the characters are two dimensional and the acting is is half baked. I shouldn't ask for too much for a February release but after following and enjoying the other movies of Doug Liman I could see me really enjoying this. Unfortunately Jumper is a movie only looking for one thing...."franchise".

Jumper should have been a movie that could stand on it's own two feet. Instead Liman's film leaves half the story unsettled and open ended with all of it's plot strands unexplored in any sort of depth. It's running time is short, but only because it seems half the film is on the cutting room floor....so it can all be explained in the next film.

The films corner cutting fucks up the storytelling so much it's distracting. An example would be the "relationship" between the films leads. Despite what the characters say, for no moment at all do we believe these two people have cared about each other since they were five. After not seeing each other for almost a decade the "Reunion" scene is pretty much this:

"hey how you doing?"
"Wanna go to rome?"
"Sure ok!"

This happens so often in the movie it becomes annoying. Everything is rushed and glossed over to push the viewer towards a anti-climatic cliff hanger. Characters are left inexplicable positions and never seen again, reasoning behind people's actions are never truly explained. Scenes literally "jump" (sorry pun not intended) to the next with no true story logic and it's a damn shame because when Liman directs the action the viewer has an ok time.

While not as brutal and intense as some of Limans other movies, Jumper's action set pieces are bring about a moderate amount of fun to the proceedings. Liman almost manages to gives a tasty glimpse into an intriguing idea but is let down by quality control. Screenwriters Goyer and Uhls have given us stronger scripts in the past but it seems that this film was written in between others project that they have more interest in.

The films casting also becomes a hindrance. Christensen and Bilson are attractive people but bland actors. Their chemistry is almost non-existent throughout the movie. Their dialogue does nothing to help them but they constantly play out their roles like two strangers that have just met.

Samuel L Jackson is once again on auto pilot. I can't remember the last time I saw him in a recent movie that I've truly enjoyed him in. With this said however, Jamie Bell injects some much needed humor and energy into the film. But by the time his character is allowed to do anything, the film is almost finished. Same goes for the cameo that is Diane Lanes role. Also Michel Rooker is in this and is hardly utilised and that my friends sucks balls.

I have no problems with films wanting to be franchises. However compare this to something like say The Matrix which can stand alone and become part of a three very easily. Jumper restricts itself so much it takes away everything that would make it a fun franchise to begin with.
It's a shame when a director you enjoy creates something that disappoints you, however it makes you go back to the movies that you loved before and that can only be a bad thing.