June 13, 2008

Director Doug Liman’s Jumper, about a young man named David Rice (Hayden Christensen) who can teleport himself and most everything he comes into contact with to any part of the world he wants, is diverting and fun science fiction-style wish fulfillment fantasy for the first twenty or minutes or so. The jumping effects are very well done, and since David is something of a globetrotter, the location work in the movie is often impressive. Then Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) is introduced, the leader of a centuries old group called the Paladins that are dedicated to destroying jumpers, whom they consider to be “abominations to God,” and the movie is immediately dragged down. Jumper abruptly turns into a chase movie before the jumper concept is even satisfactorily explored. It sort of begins to recover from that shift in tone when a ridiculous plot development involving a machine developed by the Paladins all but ruins the rest of the movie. Basically, this is a potentially fun premise ruined by formulaic execution. I’m not even sure a jumping monkey sidekick would have saved this one. (But I’m sure it couldn’t have hurt.)

P.S. There’s a funny thread at IMDB about this movie called “Why aren’t Jumpers FAT?” The IMDB user who initiated the thread writes, “These Jumpers jump around all the time, even around their apartments. the only time they walk in the movie is when the british Jumper in Tokyo says “I like walking sometimes, makes me feel normal”. but these jumpers are lazy *beep* that should be overweight from the lack of exercise and walking they get.” The best answer to his question? “because no one would wanna see a movie about a teleporting fat guy.”


(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)


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