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The International Writers Magazine: Anywhere is Possible

Jumper (2008)
Director - Doug Liman
Writers - David S. Goyer & Jim Uhls
Starring Hayden Christensen, Samuel L Jackson
Calvin Hussey

Featuring a fast-paced, effect-laden cinematic trailer Jumper vowed to be one of the most promising science fiction/action adventure releases of 2008. The premise of its plot is seductive yet simple; Imagine being able to transport anywhere your heart desires simply by visualising the destination.

This is the power of the films protagonist David Rice (Christensen), he is able to indulge in his every wildest fantasy, from robbing banks without the danger of bypassing security, to purchasing lavish penthouses, to sleeping with curvaceous London women and vacating to Fiji before leaving any contact details. However, as is often the case in such "super power" narratives David’s dreams quickly turn into a nightmare as he unwillingly becomes dragged into an ancient war between those like him, and their sworn enemies Paladins, a government sanctioned agency determined to capture and eliminate the "Jumpers".

Despite its intriguing premise Jumper seems to fall flat on its face in many key areas. Firstly its acting is decisively mediocre with the extremely wooden, Vader-wrecking Hayden Christian in the lead role, and with that annoying chipmunk from the O.C Rachael Bilson supporting as the films love interest. Even Samuel L. Jackson’s appearance as ominous villain Roland fails to impress, and considering his usual talent for entertaining and involving dialogue, it suggests that the scriptwriting and direction of this film are far from masterful.

So with this in mind let’s consider the visual and narrative elements of the film. The film is dreadfully superficial throughout with its narrative lacking a great deal of substance, character development and explanation in numerous areas which can feel extremely frustrating at times. Visually the action sequences are good, and well choreographed, however they are still far from mind blowing and offer the audience very little that hasn’t already been seen in similar past releases.

On the whole the film is not bad; it is just not great, nor particularly memorable. It does however show room for development, though whether this development manages to improve Jumper will remain unseen until the emergence of its inevitable sequels. If you visit the cinema craving a fast-paced, uncomplicated, action romp then you are likely to thoroughly enjoy this movie, however if you are seeking an intelligent, original science fiction masterpiece than may I suggest that you "jump" to another cinema screen.

Calvin Calvin March 2008

Calvin is studying for his Creative Writing Degree at the University of Portsmouth


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