Review: Jumper is Terrible

Jumper is a fantastic concept. The idea of being able to "jump" through space, to be anywhere in the world with only a thought, that's heady stuff. Which makes it quite a shame that the execution here is so lacking. Plot points are ignored, everything is undercooked, and all signs point to "egh, we'll just explain it in the sequel." Only I spent 90 minutes of my life hoping for a complete story. Was this crazy of me?

If you've missed all the trailers Hayden Christensen plays a guy who figures out he has a remarkable skill in his high school years. That skill is the ability to travel through space (but not time) to anywhere else in the world. The film awkwardly starts with a separate actor in his teen years... and then they montage you into the current Hayden world. Same deal with Rachel Bilson's character. That method would have been fine if not for how quickly everything progresses. Very little attention is paid to detail here.

Then we're on the run! Sam Jackson works for... someone... to do... something. I can't explain it because they don't really either. They want to get Hayden because of his boss skill with the teleportation. It's left like that by the movie so I'll leave it there too. Sam Jackson is a villain. Obey.

What works here is the "coolness" factor. The effects are largely effective too, and for the first few minutes it's an enthralling experience as you factor in what you'd do if you had these God-like powers. The film would have been far better off avoiding the hackneyed ubiquitous bad guy angle to simply explore what a person would go through with this sort of ability. Would you be tempted to never have a real relationship? Would you try to throw in some good deeds? Where would you find happiness? All of these bigger questions would have made for a revolutionary film, Matrix style. No dice though. Instead we get a few average fight scenes interspersed with some nice visuals. I'm sure they had fun filming on location around the world. Now if only they'd earned that production budget! Or perhaps spent a buck or two on the screenplay.

Without any real plot to speak of Jumper devolves into a standard chase sequence with one liners sprinkled in every so often. Yes, they set up a sequel quite nicely, only it's done at the expense of the first film. It's frustrating. I just want to start this film over and fix it scene by scene. All in all, a pretty good description of this film's contribution to the movie world would be summed up as "two steps back."

Grade: D