Short review: Avoid this movie.
Tag Line: “Anywhere is possible.”
State of mind: annoyed
Recently I read the book Jumper by Stephen Gould. I bought it because I heard it was coming out as a movie soon and was curious. The book was all right. Not fantastic, but a decent story about a kid named David Rice that discovers he has the ability to teleport when he is 15 and uses his newfound gift to escape an abusive home and live the life of Riley in NYC. I think I was more enamored of the idea of the story than anything else. I mean, just think about it. Wouldn't the ability to teleport be the absolutely, positively most freeing thing ever? You could go anywhere. At anytime. Instantly. You would never be stuck. Total and complete freedom. Best power ever.
On Sunday I went to see the movie. I knew going in that the movie and the book were going to be wildly different.
*SPOILERS from here on out*
Jumper, the feature film, was a mess. It’s a jumbled confusion of motivations and action. It is filled with a series of brief scenes that hint at greater things but are never explored and make the movie seems chaotic an unfulfilling. And the characters behavior is counter to what they are trying to tell you it is and it makes everyone in the film pretty unlikable. For example: In the beginning there is a scene between David and his long time crush, Millie. David tries to give Millie a second hand snow globe of the Eiffel Tower that a bully takes and throws in the river and from that we are supposed to empathize with him as a “sweet guy” and still like him even though later he becomes a globe trotting selfish snot. The very first scene we see him as an older wiser jumper living in a posh apartment in NYC he can’t even bother to move two feet down the couch to get the remote, but jumps it instead. All the while on the TV is news footage of a devastating flood on the scale of the tsunami in 2005 with survivors clinging to debris above the muddy churning water and the announcer is saying how it would take a miracle to get all those people. Noooo. It would take a jumper. But rather than use his power for good, he continues eating his corn puffs. It’s kind of hard to care about someone that doesn’t even for the briefest of moments consider using his power to help anyone but himself. Even after he is discovered by the “Paladin” his first thought is of himself. Rather than finding a safe place and trying to figure out just what the hell is going on, he goes back to his hometown to reconnect with the girl he crushed on all during High School even though everyone back home has believed him to be dead for the past eight years. After jumping an old High School bully into a bank vault in NYC during a bar brawl, (the stupidest revenge EVER, by the way! Especially since he was just attacked by people that know what he can do because of the bank robbery he pulled of 8 years previous and he jumps the kid who knows who he and everyone David has ever cared about is into the same freaking vault! And then later has the nerve to be upset and surprised to find out that the guy told the Paladin everything about David when they asked. Why wouldn’t he???), he woos Millie with an impromptu trip to Rome (the old fashioned way, by plane), and pulls her into the middle of the danger simply by being near her. At the coliseum he meets Griffin who tries to warn him against being near her when the Paladin again attack him. (Not sure how they knew he was there though.) Griffen uses some fancy jumping moves to defeat them and then disappears before giving David any real information. David follows Griffin to his lair, pisses him off, gets a few more cryptic comments and finally jumps back to Rome to get Millie and get the hell out of Dodge. Er, Rome. But before he can, he gets arrested by the Italian police where the biggest bit of confusing story telling happens. While in their custody and with the Paladin on the way (again), David’s mother suddenly bursts through the door, knocks out the cop and tells David he has 30 seconds to get out. He tries to chase her down even though he still has a chair handcuffed to him. She disappears and he makes his escape. While walking briskly away from the police station, Millie starts to do that annoying thing people do when another character really needs to be somewhere else. They insist on some answers. He hems and haws and convinces her to just get in the stupid taxi. After putting Millie on a plane home, David goes off in search of Griffin to finally get some answers. Which he never really gets. Nor does the audience. It was one of the most frustrating movies I have ever seen.
Maybe the way the movie jumps around from plot point to plot point was supposed to be some artistic reflection of the life of a jumper?
Nah. It was just laziness.
Here’s the story in bullet points:
Davey is the kind hearted, poor, picked on dweep.
Davey has a bad home life with his abusive father and absent mother, whom took off when he was five.
Davey discovers his power.
Davey uses it to run away and attain wealth.
Davey becomes a selfish snot that picnics on top of The Sphinx. (How obnoxious.)
The bad guy, who glares a lot and has a special knife just to kill jumpers-, which means he’s badder than bad, discovers Davey.
Right after realizing that scary bad guys that can keep him from jumping and would very much like to kill him, Davey decides now would be the perfect time to reconnect with his long lost crush, Millie.
Duh, Millie is now in danger.
Other jumper that has an attitude problem.
Wait… was that Davey’s mom? She took off when he was 5? WTF is she doing in Rome?
Stuff that is too stupid to type out. Even for this bullet point.
Fighting, mostly with other jumper who warned Davey about being so cavalier with his ability but doesn’t really bother to fill him in on the situation. Three sentences are all it would take: 1) Paladins are a fanatical group that want to kill Jumpers. 2) They can follow you in the wake of your jump and can keep you from jumping with electricity. 3) I have information on the Paladins back at my place and can show you how to avoid the Paladin so they wont’ come after you and your family.
(See. Three freaking sentences. Although that third sentence Griffin probably should have said BEFORE Davey pulled Millie into the story. Then Griffin could have an ally against the Paladin and Davey could stop being a moron.)
More fighting. And the occasionally thrown moving vehicle.
End of fighting, but nobody dies. Why? One word: sequel
Guess what!? Mom is evil too!!
End of movie. Credits. (Although I can’t believe anyone would actually want their name on this.)
Oh, and the thing about The Sphinx. I guess it's supposed to demonstrate that there is no where a jumper can't get too but David is show sittin in a lawn chair atop The Sphinx eating a submarine sandwich. One, that's pretty obnoxious. Two, people from the ground would be able to see him easy. It's not like The Sphinx is so high that the top of it's head is a secrety hidey place that no one can see or would even think to look at. P-uh-lease. If they wanted to use The Sphinx, (and I do think it would have been a cool idea), they should have had him sitting on it at night when the top of it's head is in shadow from all the lights aimed at it's face. He'd be hidden by it's difficult location and darkness, but the view would still be spectacular!
Anyone could see you, and I bet they have some kind of authority around the giant statue that would get a little testy if some kid was sitting on top using it as a picnic spot.
You might still be visible, but only just. If you wore reflective clothing and moved around a whole bunch.