Jumper

Jumper Poster Hayden Christensen

Rating: 3 of 5 ★★★☆☆ 

Jumper is a great concept. Its exciting and interesting and could be very cool except that it suffers from a weak script.

The visual effect of the jump is dynamic and propels the story forward. Its so fantastic and innovative and still completely simple so that it really is the strongest element of the film.
The flaw it creates though is that the narrative is choppy and sudden. Like Griffin and the confrontation in the Colosseum; where did that come from? We needed to see more of them tracking him or Griffin leading them to him or something that gave that scene context.

The whole mythology is woefully underdeveloped. This could be ignored (as it is in many sci-fi action movies) except the hints of a mythology highlight all of the other places its weak:

specific plot weaknesses follow »
Salem Witch Trials, really? Every other worldly ability these days is suggested as the cause for the Salem Witch Trials to the point that it’s become a cliche.
The Paladin are what?
Why is Samuel L. Jackson after them so fiercely? Why does he care that these kids can jump beyond the criminal element of Hayden’s character? Because not only is the whole only God should have that power reasoning weak, he apparently doesn’t know what omnipresent actually means.

In addition the mother/son dynamic is completely underplayed. They acknowledge what could be an interesting and complicated relationship and do absolutely nothing with it.

The biggest problems though are the gaps in the stories logic because they are so easy to fix and would have strengthened the movie significantly:

more specific plot weaknesses »
Why does David go home after Roland attacks him? Because he needs to disappear? I don’t understand how Roland’s attack drives him home when he’s been away for 8 years or something. (Yes, you could argue that he went somewhere he felt safe or thought he could hide or that was familiar but because of his backstory with his father all of those are weak.)
If David’s never met another Jumper and knows nothing of that world how does he know the terminology jump site or jump scar or think he can follow Griffin through his jump scar? (not the biggest plot hole but bothersome more because of how choppy other elements are)
So, these humans create wormholes. How do they propel themselves through, especially when they’re not moving? How did David move a stationary building through one? What are the rules for jumping – how, when, what and what are the limitations?
Variety pointed out quite nicely that the “war” that Griffin is referring to is really more of a skirmish. Or, at least that’s what we see of it. Why reference a centuries old war and show us so little of it?

Essentially this is a movie relying on the strength of a very cool visual effect. Luckily it works and the movie is fun. It just could have been actually good at the same time.

Writing:★★☆☆☆ 
Characters:★★¾☆☆ 
Performances:★★★☆☆ 
Directing:★★★☆☆ 
Production:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★☆☆ 

February 14, 2008 | Review , , | this post contains affiliate links