A movie worth jumping out the window, screaming for help

Alex Bethke

Alex Bethke

If you’ve watched any sort of television in the last three months, then you knew the movie Jumper was coming to theaters. It has been advertised for months, including: sponsorship of playoff football games, cast appearances at the Super Bowl and on American Idol, as well as a tie-in advertisement with HP that featured Hayden Christensen “jumping” around the screen during a seemingly normal HP commercial. I have a feeling all this advertising was to get you to see the film the first weekend it hit the silver screens, because after reading this review, or any other for that matter, you won’t want to see it.

The film follows David Rice (Christensen, Star Wars, Awake) who inadvertently discovers he has the power to teleport during a potentially fatal accident. He then uses his unique ability to escape from his lousy father and starts robbing banks. David simply teleports into the vault, takes the money and teleports back to his apartment with the loot.

What David doesn’t know is that after eight years of robbing banks, someone has caught on to what he’s up to. That person is known as Roland (Samuel L. Jackson). Roland is a Paladin, an organization dedicated to eliminating Jumpers. David escapes his first run-in with Roland and returns to his hometown in pursuit of his teenage crush, Millie (Rachel Bilson, The Last Kiss, The O.C.). He whisks her away to a romantic vacation in Rome but in doing so, puts her at risk as well.

That’s where David meets Griffin (Jamie Bell, Flags of Our Fathers, King Kong), another Jumper who is well aware of the battle between their kind and the Paladins. Griffin educates David on the history of both Jumpers and Paladins all the way back to medieval times and welcomes David to the war.

Jamie Bell stands out as the single highlight of this movie. His character gets to have the most fun with his exuberant and punk type personality. Hayden Christensen is likeable enough but has failed to prove, at least to me, that he can truly act. His role in Shattered Glass is the closest to “good” that I can think of. He has potential but needs to deliver a breakout performance sometime in the near future for me to really believe in his abilities as an actor. Let’s face it, anyone could have been waving around that light saber, and you still would have loved it.

This movie is lacking one very important thing: a good PLOT. Don’t get me wrong, this movie has an interesting concept; it just wasn’t put together very well. It’s crammed into 90 minutes and seems to leave out a lot of information. You can definitely tell that this screenplay was adapted from a novel (Steven Gould’s Jumper) and of course, all the juicy details were left out. This really comes as a surprise to me considering it was written by David Goyer, Jim Uhls and Simon Kinberg; writers of Batman Begins, Fight Club and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. It’s also surprising considering director Doug Liman has directed films like Mr. & Mrs. Smith and The Bourne Identity in the past.

Two rather important questions that don’t get answered in the movie are: Who are the Jumpers, and who are the Paladins? The Jumpers apparently have their abilities because of something in their genes, yet nobody else in David’s family has such powers. So what really causes it? I know that Peter Parker got bit by a spider, and I know that Clark Kent came from another planet. I would like to know how the Jumpers came to be.

We also know nothing about the Paladins other than they want to kill the Jumpers. The movie suggests they fight for the moral reason that “only God should have the power to be all places.” I really doubt that moral code alone is the reason for a battle that has been raging for centuries. Who are the Paladins? How did they get started? How does this organization get its resources? All the questions I wanted answered but weren’t.

The movie trudged on in a way that made me wonder, “Why are they doing this, and why are they doing that?” The movie simply needed more scenes. The climax was anything but climactic. I looked down at my watch and thought, “This is going to be it? This is really supposed to be the climax of the movie?” Of course, they leave it wide open for a sequel, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. If it does, I imagine Jumper 2 will be a mid-summer release along with Rush Hour 4 and xXx 3.