Even if Kristen has just a small appearance, here are the reviews of the movie! Enjoy!
Please keep in mind that reviews can contain spoilers, lots of spoilers, and that negative reviews can be interesting to read.
If you have more reviews, feel free to email me. :)
•• Variety, Brian Lowry: Slick but extremely slim, “Jumper” seemingly attempts to heed the advice of its teleporting protagonist, who at one point suggests a trip to Rome that will “skip all the boring parts.” Similarly eliding much of the exposition — or simply delivering belches of it on the fly — director Doug Liman churns out a serviceable sci-fi thriller/videogame template that plays like “The Matrix Lite” and, finally, isn’t nearly as cool as its trailer. Nevertheless, pic could engineer its own lucrative heist by zeroing in on young males itching for action during the traditional pre-Oscar malaise.
After an introductory sequence in which we see a teenage version of David Rice (Max Thierot) discover his strange power to instantly leap from one location to another, pic itself jumps eight years to find him enjoying the fruits of that ability. The world is almost literally his oyster, as David (now played by Hayden Christensen) flits to London for a one-night stand, escapes just as quickly to lunch on the pyramids and finishes the day surfing in Fiji — all financed via the banks he robs by zapping into the vaults.
OK, so that blue guy in “X-Men” did it first, it’s still a rather enviable talent, and one that can’t go unchecked for long. Enter Roland (Samuel L. Jackson underneath a shocking white mane, but otherwise in a familiar mode), a driven pursuer of “jumpers” who deems them “an abomination.” He is, we’re eventually told, a paladin, part of a shadowy group that has been pursuing and eliminating jumpers for centuries.
David picks up that useful info from another, more experienced jumper, Griffin (Jamie Bell, the grown-up “Billy Elliot”), but it comes a little late, inasmuch as he’s already jumped back to Michigan to reconnect with the dream girl from his youth, Millie (Rachel Bilson), whisking her off on an improbable European tour and inadvertently putting her at risk.
Having demonstrated his action chops on “The Bourne Identity” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” Liman has fun with the initial exploration of David’s skills, which he shows off to Millie like a shiny new sports car. Although primarily shot in Toronto, pic boasts sequences in Tokyo, Egypt and Rome’s Colosseum, and the effects team (among them “The Matrix” alum Joel Hynek) pretty convincingly captures the lengthy roster of exotic locales, as well as images of jumpers dragging objects through their portals with them, which possesses a visceral kick.
Once the larger plot kicks in, however, the movie is a bit too chaotic for its own good, and its scope feels disappointingly small. Mostly, David and reluctant mentor Griffin take on what appears to be Roland and a handful of guys — more a skirmish than the historic “war” to which Griffin refers. The dialogue is also consistently clunky — a side effect, perhaps, of the sequential efforts of writers David S. Goyer (“Batman Begins”), Jim Uhls (“Fight Club”) and producer Simon Kinberg (Liman’s “Smith” collaborator) tackling Steven Gould’s young-adult novels.
Christensen exhibits a helpful vulnerability despite a thinly drawn character, with every role before and since his “Star Wars” experience providing further evidence of how poorly served he was by those movies. Beyond that, there’s virtually no time to add a second dimension to anyone (Diane Lane shows up in what amounts to a cameo), with Bilson’s adorableness doing most of the heavy lifting to establish a semblance of girl-in-jeopardy romance.
“Jumper” isn’t a bad time for what it is, but the movie itself plays like a preview of coming attractions. Indeed, given how the narrative speeds toward its tepid climax, the audience might be gripped by an underlying feeling the filmmakers almost seem to have harbored as well — a yearning to skip the preliminaries and jump ahead to a bigger, better-written, more satisfying sequel.
•• ViewLondon, Matthew Turner: Rating 2/5
Doug Liman's sci-fi thriller is stylish and fast-paced but it's let down by a messy script, a frustratingly under-developed plot and a wooden performance by Hayden Christensen.
What's it all about? - As a teenager, David Rice (Max Thierot) discovers he has the ability to teleport himself anywhere after he nearly drowns in a lake. Several years later, David (now played by Hayden Christensen) has developed his powers and is living the high life, travelling all over the world in a blink of an eye and robbing banks to support his high-flying lifestyle.
However, when David meets another young man with the same abilities (Jamie Bell as Griffin), he discovers that his genetic gift has existed for centuries and that Jumpers are hunted by mysterious assassins known as Paladins. And when the Paladins (led by Samuel L. Jackson and his ridiculous hairdo) track David down, he has to stay one jump ahead of them, while attempting to conceal his abilities from his childhood sweetheart (Rachel Bilson).
The Good - Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) has fashioned a fast-paced, snappily edited sci-fi thriller out of Stephen Gould's book, but it's very much a case of style over substance. That said, the effects are extremely well done and there are some undeniably impressive set-pieces, both of which feature heavily in the trailers.
The Bad - The film's biggest problem is Christensen, who gives a shockingly wooden performance (even by his own dismal standards) and has zero chemistry with Bilson. However, he can't take all the blame, as the script makes his character hard to like from the start – for example, he's seen ignoring the plight of flood victims he could easily rescue.
The other problem is that the messy script completely fails to explore any of its potentially interesting themes, such as the religious zealotry of the Paladins, the classic superhero theme of great power bringing great responsibility or, most intriguingly, a subplot involving Diane Lane.
Worth seeing? - In short, Jumper squanders its interesting premise and the end result is a flashy, but ultimately disappointing chase movie.
•• TwinCities, Pioneer Press: Hayden Christensen is in a new movie, and once again, someone needs a hug.
Has there ever been an actor more consistently dour than Christensen, who has stayed in a funk ever since he moped his way through his big break in "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones"? The actor's brow remains furrowed throughout "Jumper," in which he's the ultimate frequent flier, a guy who can instantly teleport himself to anywhere in the world, allowing him to be gloomy in Egypt, the Rockies and Dubai.
Fortunately, the movie possesses the sense of fun Christensen seems to have had surgically removed. The stunts and special effects, for instance, are dazzling. I'm pretty sure the movie's insurance company would not allow Christensen to be thrown 20 feet through the air onto a pile of rocks or for the Roman Coliseum to be trashed, but it sure looks like both happen in "Jumper." And there are little, clever touches - not only can Christensen pop all the way from New York to London, but when the TV remote is too far away to reach, he can also teleport himself down the couch a foot.
Christensen has a light touch like Torquemada had a light touch, but the rest of the excellent cast has a good time. Samuel L. Jackson, his hair powdered like Marie Antoinette, zips around menacingly; Rachel Bilson brings an oddly appealing fuzziness to her role as The Girl; and Jamie Bell ("Billy Elliott") has a playful quality that makes sure we don't forget it would be mighty cool to be a jumper.
Diane Lane and Kristen Stewart even show up in roles so tiny you may suspect Stewart, in particular, is on board because they're planning a "Jumper" sequel for her.
That would also explain the not-quite-all-there feeling you may have after the film. Like "I Am Legend," it's a shorter-than-you'd-expect movie that stints on the parts that would help us understand why the people behave the way they do. On the other hand, there's something to be said for a movie that doesn't overstay its welcome and that knows we've probably already spent more time with the Christensen character than we'd care to.
•• CinemaBlend, Josh Tyler: Rating 3/5
umper takes a pretty cool sci-fi idea, and doesn’t quite seem to know what to do with it. On the surface it should be a stronger film. Everything’s there, but director Doug Liman, helming his first film since 2005’s success Mr. & Mrs. Smith, never puts all the pieces together.
Hayden Christensen stars as David Rice, a boy from a single parent, broken home who at the age of 15, discovers he has the ability to instantaneously teleport himself any place he can visualize. David uses his ability to teleport himself away from his father, and years later we catch up with him as a young adult. He’s used his abilities to make himself rich, and he lives a solitary life of leisure, teleporting from his couch to the refrigerator, and from the refrigerator to Egypt where he has lunch sitting on the head of the Sphinx. Distance means nothing to him, and he appears content to go on skulking around the world sleeping with women in different countries and having the kind of good time we all wish we could have.
Of course nothing that good lasts forever, and it’s not long before David is discovered with a secret organization whose sole purpose is to hunt down and murder “jumpers” (their term for people with his abilities). After narrowly escaping his first violent encounter with the nameless organization’s top operative Roland (Samuel L. Jackson with white paint on his head), David runs home, gets the girl (Rachel Bilson) so he can put her in extreme danger, and then joins forces with a fellow jumper to kick some secret organization ass.
The problem with all of this is that Liman never stops to make any sense of it. We get a good feel for David, but never any notion of who or what this secret group is, why they’re attacking him, or how they’re able to find him in the first place. Most of what happens in the film happens simply because it’s written that way. It’s almost as if the movie needed to be longer. It touches on too many different subplots and never really resolves any of them. The movie sets itself off on a certain path, and that path leads absolutely nowhere. And so what could have been an interesting science fiction adventure ends up as a fun, but ultimately unsatisfying adventure flick.
Jumper is fun though, and maybe that’s enough to justify seeing it. Some of the action sequences are moderately thrilling, even if they don’t seem to really mean anything. Samuel L. Jackson is wasted, but the teleportation effects are cool and Hayden is adequate as a spoiled man-child turned pseudo-hero. It’s an empty special effects flick which had the potential to be better than it is, but it's so riddled with plot holes that it never musters up the mental energy to actually be better. Sometimes thrilling, occasionally confounding, Jumper is a great concept which seems to only have half of a script, cut up into bits and pieces.
•• Digital Spy, Ben Rawson-Jones: Rating 4/5
Fans of Alan Partridge may remember the fictional chatshow host begging his BBC boss Tony Hayers for a second series, even going to the extraordinary lengths of attacking him with a lump of cheese. This overt desperation for another outing is strongly echoed throughout Jumper, which shamelessly pleads for the chance to be given a franchise. Fortunately, courtesy of some very slick storytelling, taut direction and appealing performances, Doug Liman's film functions as an enjoyable jaunt that whets the appetite for further adventures. This is one cheese that's definitely worth smelling.
The great danger in trying to establish a movie franchise, complete with its own high concept premise and mythology, is becoming too bogged down in explaining the backstory and laying the foundations. This is quickly avoided through an opening narration that quickly dispatches the vital information and allows the central plot to hit the ground running, or indeed jumping. In an age packed full of overlong blockbusters, Jumper's 90-minute duration is particularly refreshing and also ensures that the plot is incredibly lean.
The flab-free narrative follows the adventures of David Rice (Christensen), a young man who discovers he has the power to instantly teleport to locations across the globe. He harnesses his ability to steal a massive wad of cash, but soon discovers that a nasty chap (Roland) is after his blood. Hooking up with fellow 'jumper' Griffin (Bell) and high school sweetheart Millie (Bilson), David has to use his skills to stay alive at all costs.
Much of the film's relative success hinges upon the central character of David. He's neither the conventional movie hero nor the classic anti-hero, occupying a morally ambiguous no man's land in between. A flashback to his pre-jumping days demonstrates that he has a decent degree of kindness within his soul, but once he discovers his unique ability he hardly becomes Mother Teresa, instead opting for a selfish, luxurious lifestyle until his inner yearning to be loved takes hold of him. There's a fantastic, rather subtle moment when David is wallowing in his plush pad, funded by stolen money, with the television in the background showing a news report depicting several innocent villagers stranded due to a flood and facing death as they can't be reached. David simply glances away and totally rejects contemplating using his powers to perform a rescue attempt.
No stranger to teetering on the Dark Side, Hayden Christensen is perfectly cast as David. With his distinctly dark, sunken eyes clashing with his chiseled pin-up features, he visually fits the part and conveys an underlying sense of hurt stemming from David's abandonment by his mother at a tender age. The supporting cast is uniformly superb, with Rachel Bilson's Millie providing an appealing 'damsel in distress' and Jamie Bell suitably downtrodden and uber-cynical as the lone-wolf Jumper Griffin. As for Samuel L Jackson, he's hardly stretching his thespian abilities, but no one else can quite pull off the whole mean badass mutha act like he can.
Director Doug Liman keeps the globetrotting action moving along at a swift pace, deploying numerous sweeping camera shots in a bid to foreground the breathtaking nature of locations such as The Sphinx and The Colosseum, and also the spatial freedom afforded to the Jumpers. Wisely though, he steers clear of becoming too embroiled in the postcard-style environments, or else one would half expect Judith Chalmers to walk into shot for another edition of Wish You Were Here.
The old saying goes that any performance should leave the crowd wanting more. On this form, and with several tantalising revelations towards the end of the film, Jumper deserves the sequel treatment - and soon.
•• FilmBlather, Eugene Novikov: Rating B-
I’m fond of saying that there’s little bad acting in major — and even independent — American films. There’s an occasional misfire, sure, and instances where actors are clearly outshone by their co-stars, but genuine ineptitude is hard to come by. Often, there’s too much money at stake — a pretty face whose acting talent is less than prodigious can usually be helped by editing, shot selection, and a budget big enough to do take after take. Not every performance will blow you away, but truly cringe-worthy moments are rare.
Hayden Christensen is a perplexing case. My first instinct is to say that he is an exception, an actor who has achieved fame and popularity but who simply does not belong on the screen. But that seems wrong: his performances are technically competent, he delivers dialogue with some conviction, and his presence is never jarringly off. The problem, I’m coming to realize, is less with him as an actor and more with him as… Well, with him as a person. He’s not interesting. There’s nothing behind his eyes. His characters don’t seem like fake people (as they would were he simply inept), they seem like boring people, and not too bright.
His utter vacancy is a bane on Jumper, an otherwise serviceable sci-fi thriller that would have benefited from a compelling center. He plays David Rice, who, as a teenager, discovered the ability to teleport anywhere in the world. Bullied at school and neglected by his father, he uses his newfound powers to embark on a life of laziness and entitlement, robbing banks to finance an awesome New York City penthouse and spending his days on exciting world excursions (he particularly likes the head of the Sphinx). His freewheeling existence is interrupted by the arrival of Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), a “Paladin” who hunts “jumpers” like Rice, trapping them with electricity and stabbing them with an enormous knife. Roland supposedly works for a government agency — the NSA is mentioned a lot — but he is also a religious fanatic, his hatred for jumpers stemming from his belief that they are an abomination unto the Lord. “Only God should have that power,” he intones.
It doesn’t help that the screenplay has Rice make some questionable decisions — upon learning that Paladins are on his tail and determined to kill him, his first move is to seek out his father (Michael Rooker) and his not-quite high school sweetheart (Rachel Bilson), and take the latter on a trip to Rome. But the dead-eyed Christensen ensures that there’s nothing for us to latch onto. And Bilson, whose job is mostly to shake her head in stunned disbelief is hardly more engaging.
Matters get both better and worse when Jamie Bell shows up as a seasoned jumper who has made it his business to kill Paladins. Bell is so fascinating, so immediately and almost viscerally compelling, that he runs away with the film as soon as he appears. Quick, nervous, shifty-eyed and funny, he gives Jumper a no-pun-intended jolt of much-needed electricity. On the other hand, he blows Christensen off the screen, further accentuating the former Darth Vader’s fundamental blandness.
The movie is actually better than I’ve let on — the premise is rich, and Liman and his screenwriters create an intriguing if scant mythology around it. They take advantage of the sci-fi gimmick, staging a genuinely exciting climax involving teleporting double-decker buses, and a fight scene that spans continents. Liman gives the teleportation itself some physical force; every jump has an impact and appears to take effort. And to the extent the film is a morality play — there’s a pointed scene early on where David watches live footage of a disastrous flood on the news and then proceeds to teleport to London for a good time — it’s at least interesting, if ultimately incomplete (David is largely let off the hook).
My account of Christensen as boring rather than untalented is bolstered, I think, by his universally acclaimed performance in Shattered Glass, a film that was able to take advantage of his blankness in a role meant to convey an inscrutable amorality. But in something like Jumper, which requires a sympathetic and morally ambiguous hero, his presence is counterproductive. I enjoyed the film, but it’s as superficial as Christensen.
•• Reelviews, James Berardinelli: Rating 2,5/4
One of the cardinal rules when making a motion picture about a superhero, especially one no one has heard of, is not to make the integrity of the story depend on the existence of a sequel. Unfortunately, that's a rule that director Doug Liman breaks. If the viewer is able to ignore the wooden performances of Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson, what's on screen is fine, and even exciting at times. But there's no resolution. Three plot threads are left dangling. Jumper feels like a 90-minute tease. Viewers are left waiting for what comes next and, unless there is a follow-up (which seems unlikely), that dangling will continue for all time. The movie is surprisingly short; couldn't another 15 minutes have been spent fleshing out a few ambiguities and providing the sense of closure that is otherwise absent?
Really, Liman should know better. He helmed The Bourne Identity, which became the first of three interlinked Bourne productions. Liman and his screenwriters approached The Bourne Identity as a stand-alone with the potential to expand. That's not the case here. Coherence demands a second installment but there's nothing in the movie's pedigree, marketing, or pre-box office projections that indicate it will generate enough support to demand a follow-up. As a result, everyone paying $10 to see Jumper will have to do what Golden Compass fans have been forced into: reading the books to see where things go next (and ignore the inevitable discontinuities between script and novel).
What makes it to the screen is often fun. Liman applies the same frenetic approach to action scenes that made The Bourne Identity such an engaging and exciting affair. There's a lot of cutting during the climactic battle sequences but that makes sense considering what's happening. And Liman limits his use of the potentially nausea inducing hand held shots to a couple of instances. Jumper is clean, clear, and spare, lacking only a semi-satisfying ending.
The film's best scenes are the early ones for two reasons. First, when it comes to superhero "origin stories," the most enjoyable parts are usually those in which the protagonist explores his or her powers. That's where the fun and wonder lies, as the hero begins to understand the pros and cons of the abilities that set him/her apart from everyone else. Second, the actors playing the teenage versions of the characters are more believable and sympathetic than those who play their adult counterparts. AnnaSophia Robb (A Bridge to Terabithia) and Max Thieriot (The Astronaut Farmer) outact Bilson and Christensen by such a stretch that it sucks energy and life from the movie when they are replaced.
The film opens in Ann Arbor, where a socially awkward high school student, David Rice (Thieriot) tries to give a token of his affection to the girl next-door of his dreams, Millie (Robb). It goes disastrously wrong when a bully gets his hands on the snow globe intended for Millie and tosses it onto a river with thin ice. Attempting to retrieve it, David goes under; however, instead of perishing in a watery grave, he spontaneously teleports into the Ann Arbor library. Allowing everyone to believe him to be dead, including his abusive, alcoholic father (Michael Rooker), David hones his teleportation abilities until he can travel freely almost anywhere. To get a little money, he robs a bank, and that's what brings him to the attention of NSA agent Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), who doesn't like "jumpers."
Fast forward the better part of a decade. David (Christensen) is now an adult and has adapted nicely to a life of privilege and luxury. But he's lonely and returns to Ann Arbor to locate Millie (Bilson). Their reunion results in a whirlwind romance and a trip to Rome. While there, Millie begins to suspect there's something strange about David, and David learns he's not unique. He meets Griffin (Jamie Bell), who informs him he's in the middle of a centuries-old war between "jumpers" and "paladins" and it's kill-or-be-killed. Roland, it seems, is a fanatic who will destroy anyone and anything that stands between him and putting a knife into a jumper's heart.
The film's rules for jumpers are intentionally left unclear so that the movie can play with them as the story evolves. It's not like in The Time Traveler's Wife, however, where travelers are restricted from bringing anything, including clothing, with them. The concept of the war between the jumpers and the paladins is left half-explained and underexplored. I kept thinking of the hatred between werewolves and vampires in the Underworld movies. If there's a rich mythology underlying this religious struggle, it never makes it to the screen.
Finally, there's a sense of a missed opportunity with respect to the relationship between David and Millie. The failure is both one of the screenplay, which relegates Millie into the role of more a prop than a character, and of the actors, neither of whom is able to imbue his or her character with any real sense of humanity. Christensen has enough highlights on an uneven resume to convince me he can act, but lazy performances such as this don't make him someone to watch for.
I was intrigued enough by half-explored ideas and unresolved plot threads that I would watch a sequel to Jumper - not that I expect one to be produced. The concepts and premise have more promise than what's delivered to the screen, but that's not a quality unique to Jumper. As long as the viewer understands that there's a lot left open-ended by the time the credits roll, the movie is capable of diverting for the better part of one and one-half hours.
•• Shadows on the wall, Rich Cline: Rating 2/5
The teleporting premise is intriguing enough to hold our interest, but the screenwriters never make anything of it, letting the story get increasingly corny.
David (Thieriot then Christensen) discovered his teleportation ability at age 15 and over the years has perfected his bank-robbery techniques. He now lives in Manhattan splendour, spending his days flitting around the world. Then the sinister Roland (Jackson) starts tracking him, and the people David left back home--his shattered dad (Rooker) and tentative girlfriend (Robb then Bilson)--are in danger. Suddenly he meets another jumper (Bell) who seems to know what's going on, but may be trouble.
Director Liman (Mr & Mrs Smith) makes good use of the whizzy effects and snazzy globe-hopping settings. And the characters have big personalities, although David's cocky arrogance leaves the film without a hero we care about. There's also the problem of Roland's motivation for ethnically cleansing the world of jumpers, which seems to stem from a hazily described medieval war or something (to say nothing of who funds his crusade or how he stays top-secret despite his bleach-white hairdo).
Meanwhile, the film is a blur of slick action sequences that are thrilling and visually inventive even if we never have a clue why everyone's at each others' throats. The cast is fine in their ill-defined roles; only Bell manages to breathe life into his character. Frankly, it leaves us wishing the movie had been about him instead of the more wooden Christensen in his trite romantic subplot with the perpetually lost Bilson.
This laziness shows at every level, from the David's tired trenchcoat (already a cliche by 1985) to his ridiculous perch on Big Ben's minute hand. It's like a compendium of things a young boy would think were really cool before he learned better. And as it progresses, the dialog becomes heavy with goofy jingo--the paladins, the jump scar, the grid--while the gadgets feel lifted from Ghostbusters or Men in Black. All of this undercuts what should have been an engaging story of a reluctant hero caught in a twisted spiritual war. But apparently the studio thought audiences would prefer not to engage their brains.
•• Canoe.ca, Liz Braun: Rating 2/5
Jumper hops around a lot, but goes nowhere.
Despite a strong cast and some big fun special effects, the film is short, choppy and illogical -- and short, choppy and illogical enough to make you wonder what happened.
The filmmaker, Doug Liman, also directed The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, so it's not as if this thing was in the hands of amateurs.
And yet, amateurish is exactly how you'd describe the storytelling.
Jumper is the story of David Rice, a young man with a special talent. (At 15, the character is played by Max Thieriot; as a young adult, he is played by Hayden Christensen.)
In the midst of a life-threatening situation, David suddenly discovers that he has the ability to teleport. He can zoom himself out of one place and into another in the twinkling of an eye. Abandoned by his mother in childhood and raised by his ornery father, David realizes that his talent will allow him to run away. Or teleport away, if you will.
He teleports himself into a bank vault to get the money he needs to live on, and teleports out again to establish a life of his own.
Next thing you know, he's living in New York, he's turned into Hayden Christensen, and he amuses himself by -- poof! -- going to London, England for drinks and then -- poof! -- to Fiji to surf and then -- poof! -- to Egypt to sit on the Sphinx. All in a day's teleporting, people.
Then (gasp!) there's a quick scene with Samuel L. Jackson killing someone with a teleporting talent such as David's.
"You are an abomination. Only God should have the power to be all places at all times," Jackson tells the guy he's stabbing, suggesting trouble in the future for Paris Hilton and hinting that David's fun life of teleporting and robbing casinos will not be without conflict. Sam Jackson wants to get these motherf---ing jumpers off this motherf---ing planet, which means David is not the only person with his unusual talent.
Soon enough, he meets another jumper (Jamie Bell) and discovers that jumpers and individuals called Paladins have been fighting since ancient times.
Just why isn't made too clear, but it leads to some nifty fight scenes between our jumper heroes and Jackson's villains. The fact that most of the action in the film hinges on David's devotion to his girlfriend is a little tedious.
About an hour into this thing we really started to identify with the hero and longed to teleport out of the theatre and into a nice tavern, perhaps, but no such luck. There was more.
Jumper has a story that appears to have been made up as they went along -- suddenly there's a "jump scar" that allows jumpers to be traced? Oh -- now there's a machine they can get you with? Convenient. And then there's Diane Lane as the deus ex machina. What a jumble.
And the acting is fairly wooden. Still, the movie isn't horrible, but it is pedestrian, and bound to disappoint fans of Stephen Gould's novel and of science fiction in general.
Word has it that this film is the first in a trilogy, so let's hope the action picks up in the next installments. We'll keep you posted.
•• The Washington Post, Ann Hornaday: Continuity has always been a bugaboo for Hollywood, the necessity for things to make sense and follow some kind of narrative logic, a demand that presents screenwriters with all manner of headaches, hair-tearing and plot-hole-induced dementia. "Jumper" dispenses with the pesky notion altogether, engaging in geographic non sequiturs with giddy promiscuity, sending its main character from New York to London to Giza to Tokyo in the blink of an eye, and plopping him into twists, turns and sudden developments with equally arbitrary abandon.
So if anything, "Jumper" should be a lot of fun to watch, unchained as it is from the usual rules of the game. But the science-fiction fantasy, in which Hayden Christensen somnambulates through the role of a young man with genetic teleporting powers, is oddly inert. Aside from bouncing viewers through a veritable Fodor's guide of 1,000 places they should see before they die, "Jumper" suffers from long, talky sequences and a shocking lack of visual imagination. The chief special effect, wherein Christensen disappears and reappears to the accompaniment of a whooshing sonic thump, is a big yawn, having already been perfected for the ages by Ray Walston in the 1960s sitcom "My Favorite Martian." It's that rare genre picture targeted to teens and young adults that suffers from underkill.
Part of the problem is Christensen, whose breakout role was playing the young Anakin Skywalker in the recent execrable "Star Wars" installments, and who has never managed to project anything but a sullen air of lazy entitlement. That persona actually fits his character, David Rice, who in "Jumper" uses his teleporting powers for everything from robbing banks to scooting down the couch to grab the remote. He's a spoiled, petulant creep, so when he's visited by a mysterious stranger named Roland, who proceeds to beat the stuffing out of him, it's difficult to know whom to root for.
Roland, by the way, is played by Samuel L. Jackson in a performance that, considered in tandem with "Snakes on a Plane," seems designed to dissuade audiences from ever taking him seriously again. Stalking through "Jumper" with his hair dyed an unearthly shade of white, he snarls and shouts, variously claiming to work for the NSA, the CIA and the IRS (presumably saving the most terrifying cover story for last). Roland is actually a soldier in a centuries-long war between Jumpers and Paladins, the latter of whom insist that omnipotence should be the purview of the Big Teleporter Upstairs.
"Jumper," which was directed by Doug Liman and is based on the novel by Steven Gould, is essentially a global chase movie. Along the way David picks up two allies in his schemes to outsmart Roland. First, he meets a fellow Jumper, a cheeky Brit named Griffin (Jamie Bell). And then he returns to his childhood home in Ann Arbor, Mich., to track down his old sweetheart Millie, played by Rachel Bilson in a performance as vapid as Christensen's is tepid. Wispy-voiced, devoid of humor or libidinal zing, physically un-commanding, these two bring to mind Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard" when she laments, "We had faces then." Now faces are all we have left, as a generation of attractive blank slates engage in a numbing game of the bland leading the bland.
The big set piece of "Jumper" is a climactic chase scene that takes David from Giza to Times Square to Chechnya and beyond. It should be a way-cool kick in the pants, but Liman -- who made his name directing such hyper-caffeinated films as "Go" and "The Bourne Identity" -- dispenses with even the most visceral pleasures of pulp, rendering "Jumper" oddly lifeless. Strange as it sounds, this is a movie that fails not for lack of substance, but for lack of style.
•• Journal Sentinel, Stanley A. Miller II: Going clubbing in London, surfing in Fiji and then eating lunch atop the Sphinx - all in 24 hours - would be a travel nightmare for us "chumps."
But it's just another day of leisure for David Rice (Hayden Christensen) and his teleporting kin in "Jumper," a sci-fi flick opening today about a rare breed of travelers who can will themselves through time and space to any place they've ever been or seen.
It's a fantastic power wielded by those who apparently would rather use it for the pursuit of pleasure than more noble purposes - a believable choice considering the modern-day world in which the story is set.
Any bank vault becomes an ATM ripe for an unwilling withdrawal. Grab a travel atlas from a bookstore and go sightseeing.
But such a gift comes with a terrible price, in the form of Jumper-hunters called Paladins - murderous religious fanatics and members of a secret society who believe that only God should have such power.
These zealots seem to possess some advanced technology, limitless resources and an unwavering determination, best represented in Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), who pursues David to the ends of the earth.
"Jumper" has all the pieces of an exciting, engaging supernatural slugfest: exotic locations, cool high-tech toys and sweet special effects.
Unfortunately, there are several huge plot holes, some disappointing storytelling shortcuts and a few logic flaws that downgrade "Jumper" to just an above-average popcorn flick.
There also is a plodding romantic subplot that, while important to the story, is just too slow.
It's too bad the audience can't jump through parts of it.
The scenes with Christensen and his love interest, played by Rachel Bilson, drag on, and she gets progressively more annoying as the story unfolds.
More frustrating, however, is how Jumpers deal with the people trying to kill them.
Any Jumper with an aggressive sense of preservation would simply grab hold of any attacking Paladin, teleport a few thousand feet in the air and then leave the Paladin to fall to a screaming, splattering death. But, more often than not, Jumpers find themselves tethered by the Paladins' advanced electrical stun batons - a little reminiscent of light sabers, actually - jittering helplessly while Jackson's character goes in for the death blow.
Three cheers for Jamie Bell, whose Jumper character, Griffin, is the only one who comes off capable and competent.
"Jumper" comes up with some fun and interesting ways to use teleporting in combat, and there is a street speeding scene with Griffin in the driver's seat that should make you smile.
The ending, however, resolves little and obviously sets the scene for a sequel.
•• CanMag, Doug Liman: Jumper is Doug Liman's worst film but it's still fun. It's weaker in the story but still hardly a blemish in a career that spans indie and blockbuster favorites and even satisfying moderate movies.
Opening the film with narration is pointless and disrespectful, especially since all he says is exactly what's happening on screen. It's okay, we can get that he's teleporting. We just saw him go from the lake to the library. Are kids today so far gone that they don't even get visual storytelling? But since we never hear a narration ever again, that's no longer an issue.
I truly believe the teleporting is a new and inventive visual effect. Yes, we've seen an X-man go through the walls, but that was just once and not as a whole device for a movie. And they did it within The Matrix but this is happening in the real world. They give us some simple teleports for fun and the big ones for spectacle.
At least it really provides some nuanced action sequences. We've seen fight scenes, but shifting the fights all over the screen, using the environment is cool. It also makes it more special than just, "Look, we're in the Coliseum" or "Look, we're at the pyramids." They're actually doing something nuanced in the Coliseum and at the pyramids.
Liman shoots a lot handheld, perhaps trying to get revenge on Paul Greengrass, but it's not as choppy. Here it actually makes the effect cooler because it's got to be harder to do teleporting on shaky shots than computer controlled motions. It ups the ante on the visuals.
The most frustrating part of Jumper is the love story. The hero spends the entire adventure setting stuff up to impress his dream girl, but always looking totally sketchy. He seems like a scheming criminal and we know exactly what he's hiding. In a romantic comedy, we'd say dump him. The only redeeming quality of the relationship is that he puts her in danger and has to save her, so at least he's held accountable for something, but if they wanted us to swoon, he should have just included her in the fun.
The mommy issues are not exactly heartfelt and it's pretty outrageous that they never even hinted at exploring teleportation into the girls' locker room. It's too bad they never show anyone use the power for noble purposes, but hey, it's not Spider-Man. It seemed like it was going there, but they're clearly holding out for a sequel too.
Samuel L. Jackson should play more villains. He guts kids in this movie, so he really means business. If they won't let him complain about the motherf***in' kids teleporting around the motherf***in' world, at least he can be violent.
•• Tony Medley: Rating 7/10
David Rice (Hayden Christensen) can transport his body anywhere he’s been in an instant. He’s a Jumper, and he’s not the only one. Roland (Samuel Jackson) is a Paladin. Paladins have been trying to kill jumpers since time began. So Roland wants to kill David. Alas, David is a novice at this game and involves his innocent girlfriend, Millie Harris (Rachel Bilson), thereby putting her in all sorts of jeopardy. Along the way David meets Griffin (Jamie Bell), another Jumper, who sort of takes David under his wing and explains the facts of life to David. So, in essence, this is a chase film. Roland is chasing David and Griffin, and they, in turn, would like to put an end to Roland.
Don’t be put off by the fact that it is directed by Doug Liman. Liman was responsible for the only “Bourne” movie I didn’t like, the first one. Then he followed that up with the deplorable “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” To call that disappointing would be an understatement, but it was the vehicle that got Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie together. I'm not sure if that's a plus or a minus, since it led to the breakup of Pitt's marriage; not that that's any big deal in Hollywood whose values are, basically, what's good for me is all that matters.
If this film is any indication, however, Liman has improved. Sure, there are plot holes. You can’t make a sci-fi film without plot holes. But there are fewer than there could have been and the special effects (Joel Hynek) are pretty good. Here’s how Hynek explains what he did, “There’s always a blur factor involved, which is basically a time exposed motion blur generated by the Jumper’s evaporation into space. There’s what we’re calling a vacuum condensation flow, which is the vacuum and the rapid suction of air the Jumper leaves behind when he suddenly departs. And then there are the “jump Scars,” or which is the swindow, or more accurately the discontinuity in space, the Jumper creates to travel from one place to another.” Well, OK. Anyway, combined with Liman’s beloved hand-held camera technique, it works extremely well.
Liman takes advantage of David’s ability to put himself anywhere in the world by having David jump from one exotic location to another, like Toronto, Rome, Tokyo, New York, Mexico, London, Paris, Rome and Egypt. Not unlike a travelogue and the photography is good enough that this is a real plus for the film.
This film isn’t one of the all-time greats, but it’s not bad. Be warned, however, if you’re a fan of Diane Lane, don’t blink or you’ll miss her. Her total time onscreen is probably less than a minute.
•• Dustin Putman: Rating 1,5/4
If Doug Liman's name wasn't credited for being the director of "Jumper," one would never be able to guess that the stylish filmmaker responsible for 1999's "Go," 2002's "The Bourne Identity" and 2005's "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" had anything to do with it. This is junky, rote sci-fi hooey that just so happens to have a good-sized budget, the majority of its money shots, it should be added, already seen in the spoiler-filled theatrical trailers and television ads. Liman, with the assistance of screenwriters David S. Goyer (2007's "The Invisible"), Jim Uhls (1999's "Fight Club") and Simon Kinberg (2006's "X-Men: The Last Stand"), shamelessly wastes the film's promising cornerstone conceit involving teleportation by never adequately exploring it. Instead, he concocts a lame-brained, flat-footed story that drags his paperweight characters from one exotic location to the next.
David Rice (Max Thieriot) is fifteen years old when he discovers an otherworldly power he never knew he had—the ability to travel from place to place, anywhere in the world, in the span of a nanosecond. With a mother (Diane Lane) who abandoned him ten years earlier and a confrontational father (Michael Rooker) who treats him like dirt, David leaves behind would-be sweetheart Millie (AnnaSophia Robb) and travels to New York City. Having racked up more dough than he knows what to do with by teleporting himself into bank vaults and stealing the cash, a now-23-year-old David (Hayden Christensen) is a wealthy man who returns to his hometown of Ann Arbor to reconnect with a matured Millie (Rachel Bilson). No sooner have they begun to reconnect and start a relationship does David suddenly find himself—and fellow "Jumper" Griffin (Jamie Bell)—hunted down by an organization of Paladins. Led by the white-haired Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), their mission is to wipe out all of the world's teleporters, whom they believe are in defiance of God.
Where does the ability to "jump" come from? What is its purpose to those who can do it? What are the rules and the restraints that come with it? How come some teleportations cause crumbling blasts in the ground, while other times they cause but a fleeting gust of wind? Where do the Paladins originate from? And what, pray tell, is Samuel L. Jackson (2007's "1408") doing here other than sleepwalking through one of the thinnest and most thankless lead roles in recent memory? Anyone expecting answers to these questions will not find them in "Jumper." At a scant 88 minutes (including credits), the movie comes and goes without a moment's thought into delving into any of its pressing mysteries.
Instead, viewers can expect to receive a pleasant-looking travelogue that takes the characters to the Colisseum in Rome (the best scene, by the way), the pyramids of Egypt, downtown Tokyo, and a handful of other international settings. Their guide on this trip is David, a protagonist with few redeeming qualities who becomes a thief as a teenager, makes a boatload of money, and not once grows a conscience about his misuse of power and the criminal acts he commits. David may not deserve death, as the Paladins believe, but he does warrant an arrest and hefty prison time. He certainly doesn't deserve the winsome Millie, nor does he redeem himself enough for the viewer to care about his welfare as Roland and his henchmen close in.
Hayden Christensen (2007's "Awake") is led adrift by a script that fails to give his character of David a discernible arc. He isn't charming or charismatic, but he does accurately imitate the emotional range of firewood. As the more rebellious, freewheeling Griffin, Jamie Bell (2005's "King Kong") has little to do and holds even less of a purpose. As Millie, Rachel Bilson (2006's "The Last Kiss") is unable to grow into anything more than a standard-issue love interest. As David's estranged parents, Michael Rooker (2006's "Slither") shows glimmers of regret in the knowledge that he has driven his son away from him—a subplot that is dropped with zero closure—and Diane Lane (2008's "Untraceable") bizarrely pops up for a few brief scenes and just looks out of place. The best performances, it turns out, are given by Max Thieriot (2007's "The Astronaut Farmer") and AnnaSophia Robb (2007's "Bridge to Terabithia"), whose scenes as the young versions of David and Millie are disappointingly over and done with by the ten-minute mark.
With no one to root for, no adequate story development, and action scenes that are the epitome of underwhelming, "Jumper" is a lost cause. Had director Doug Liman opened his mind and let a little imagination into the mix, perhaps he would have had the building blocks for something special. By not treating the mystical act of teleportation with seriousness or depth, the film is a clothesline narrative with only one goal in sight—get in and out in under ninety minutes, quality of characters and writing be damned. "Jumper" is just plain sloppy.
•• Ross Anthony: I jumped into the theatre seat just as this picture began to roll. My heart was pumping from the jog from my car. The pace of the picture steadily increased to reach my heartbeat. Origin stories are almost always fun. Jumper is no exception to that. However, once the origin is over, there isn't much larger than a comic book villain and his faceless thugs to push the story along. That is to say, Jumper creates a superhero of sorts that doesn't waste any of his time on do-gooding. He's sort of a super-slacker. Nothing wrong with that. Actually, it was kind of interesting. But, his super-slacking keeps getting interrupted by a super-villain. And that's about it. Well, there is a girl, and we are certainly won over by the emotions of Haden to root for that relationship. But, after the 3rd time Haden dismisses an opportunity to engage in any meaningful dialogue with her – well, I started to care less about the two of them. A curious…
…character piloted by Jamie Bell (from Billy Elliot fame – a great flick), again jumps away from any kind of in-depth dialogue and headlong into the same type of action. Not surprisingly, the climax opts for action only, and disappointingly not any real boost in the type of action, just the quantity.
Overall, this is a real cool concept, some strong acting, respectable cinematography and special effects and I even like the direction and editing (aside from two or three stalls); but the depth is sadly missing. That said, two or three hints are dropped implying that a sequel might have far more to offer in the redemption department. I'll review that film when I see it.
•• Movie Crypt, Grim D. Reaper: Rating 3/4
Ignore the previews. Unless there was a drastic change of storyline in the editing room at the last minute, the final cut is a lot more interesting than originally advertised.
After being picked on by bullies in middle school, a life-or-death situation reveals to David Rice (Hayden Christensen) that he has a unique skill: teleporting. Even in and out of a sealed vault, David can go there, and even take a reasonable amount of cargo in and out with him (money, motorcycles, or whatever). Years later after David reaches adulthood, a man named Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) is waiting for David in his apartment. Not only does Roland know what David can do, he also knows how to stop him… permanently.
Jumper is not the movie advertised in the trailers bearing its name; it’s better than the ads. From its opening scenes, this film begins to lay out the concept of a world where teleportation is not only possible but real. It also sets boundaries and explains the rules as Hayden Christensen’s character discovers them. By carefully weaving the plot around the rules and following them, Jumper starts to suggest possibilities that thinking viewers can follow along and predict, drawing them deeper into the story. Future sci-fi filmmakers, take note: this level of attention to detail is what your audiences are looking for.
The story not only takes a twist when Sam Jackson’s character shows up (revealed in the trailer) but also when another jumper, Griffin, is discovered (Jamie Bell). This character fills in a few blanks but has also been playing “the game” longer, providing warnings about who he’s up against but not much for what to do about it. What is being suggested is perfectly teased, creating many possibilities and, of course, eventual sequel potential. The price of having the power to do anything and go anywhere you want is making yourself a target, and that doesn’t go well with keeping close friends and family (as illustrated by both Rachel Bilson and Diane Lane’s characters).
Jumper lays a lot of groundwork for a potential series. We’re shown what life would be like simply living day to day doing whatever, whenever you want. What is not shown is how a jumper might apply oneself rather than cater only to their own concerns. It’s even harder to draw the lines between good guys and bad guys here, especially since the “heroes” seem to all be thieves and the “villians” seem awfully well funded. Here’s hoping that this isn’t the last installment and that the cast is affordable enough to go around a second or third time. There’s a good thing going on here, so don’t screw it up.
•• The Guardian, Andrew Pulver: Rating 3/5
An elegantly idiotic sci-fi thriller that initially feels as though it might have derived from Philip K Dick - but lacks the master's lysergic idiosyncracy. It's the story of svelte and sulky Hayden Christensen who discovers in himself a disconcerting ability to teleport out of trouble. At first, he uses his power to empty bank vaults, pick up women, and picnic in high-security tourist sites, but then he realises he is being hunted by malevolent killers led by a silver-coiffured Samuel L Jackson.
About half way through, Jamie Bell pops up as a Geordie-accented guardian angel of a fellow jumper, and together they must battle Jackson and his "paladins", who try to disable their prey with massive jolts of electricity. Director Doug Liman, who made his name with Swingers before inaugurating the Bourne franchise, plays everything with a commendably straight face, creating extravagant action sequences and inserting tortured love scenes for Hayden to glower through. But it all amounts to very little in the long run.
•• JoBlo, Berge Garabedian: Rating 7/10
I really liked this movie but unfortunately much like its lead character, played effectively by Hayden Christensen, it moved a little too fast, and much like its lead female character, played unremarkably by Rachel Bilson, it had very little meat on its bones. The setup of this film was about as great as you can get. Despite a super-illogical premise, the movie really sold me on how everything worked within the first 15 minutes, and it didn’t take long for me to enjoy the good times on top of the Sphinx alongside Christensen and his yummy-looking ‘wich. In fact, I enjoyed a lot about the film including the cutesy romance between the two leads (girl needs to eat more burgers though, any thinner and she would have disappeared from the screen herself), the many “jumps” and globetrotting situations, the action sequences, many of which moved about as fast as the film, but still managed to entertain by their sheer originality alone, and yeah…even Jamie Bell and his grating accent. Heck, I didn’t even mind when he basically started “explaining the whole plot to the audience”, as he explained Christensen’s situation to him in the film. I did feel like some scenes were edited together a little too quickly though, to the point that I had to rev my brain up a few times, so that I wouldn’t fall behind (not that the plot is too complicated, mind you).
Also, as much as I enjoyed the film’s basic premise regarding these “paladins” chasing these “jumpers” over time and doing all in their power to extinguish them….uhhhhm, how about a little background on them fellas? I realize we were given a little bit of information on the baddies, but not nearly enough for me to truly invest myself in their passionate pursuit of the world-hoppers. And speaking of baddies, good for Samuel L. Jackson for continuing his quest to play the weirdest looking character in a motion picture (he got close with UNBREAKABLE and BLACK SNAKE MOAN, but does a real number here), and moreso for the odd affectation that he carried in his voice throughout the entire movie. He sounded a little weird at first, but after a while…I got into it!! Kinda like when your girlfriend dresses up like a young Asian prostitute and hops into bed. At first, you’re taken aback by the odd nature of her actions, but after a while you’re like, “Fuck it, I might as well enjoy this shit.” But I digress. The film ended on a fun note too, with the baddies fighting the goodies for…well, I’m not really sure what they were fighting for, but the point is that I had a good time with it.
I’m not sure the whole “mother” angle was all that interesting though, but I read somewhere (probably on joblo.com!!) that this was only the first of a few “Jumper” flicks, so that was likely just a setup for something in the next movie. Which would also help explain the overall compact nature of the film. Still though, I wish it had been a little longer…kinda like my penis. Sigh. But all in all, it packed a pretty sweet sci-fi wallop, entertained and intrigued, kept everything moving at a clip (an 85-minute clip) and left me wanting more. Not the deepest film of the year, nor the one that will stay with you for days on end, but certainly one that generates a lot of cooler possibilities for any future follows-up. JUMPER and JUMPER 2 together might make for an amazing combo flick!
•• Empire, Olly Richards: Rating 3/5
Since he became a ‘name’, all Doug Liman movies have arrived under a cloud: one thick with scuttlebutt of over-running shoots, studio arguments and disgruntled (preferably injured) cast and crew. But so far those clouds have always wafted by as the movie turns out to be rather a blast. It happened with The Bourne Identity and again with Mr and Mrs Smith. Liman doesn’t release his creations until he’s good and ready, taking his time and throwing everything at the wall until something good sticks, hence the rumours of trouble. Jumper, though great fun in spurts, is the first of his films not to have benefited from the technique. It is instead a little dizzy.
That it doesn’t fully deliver on its promise is not down to the lack of a good central idea. The premise is bulging with possibility, boiling down to the fact that in our world exist ‘Jumpers’, people who can teleport anywhere, as long as they know what it looks like. They are (apparently) all young, male and handsome, blessed with very low body fat despite never lifting a finger to reach for a remote control. Chasing them are ‘Paladins’, an international band of religious fanatics determined to exterminate all jumpers because only God should have the power to be in all places at once. It’s a simple reason and a believable one. Wars have been fought for less.
Sadly, that’s everything there is to the story. The Paladins catch up with our hero, David (Hayden Christensen) after he’s spent eight years robbing banks, and try to kill him, while he keeps hopping across continents to avoid them. We don’t see much deeper on either side, and Liman and his screenwriters, who have proven themselves able on other projects, can’t conjure a meaty subplot. Samuel L. Jackson’s Paladin chief Roland is a bad guy who struggles to fill out a second dimension, and his employees are nameless goons. David is given some sketchy abandonment issues, which lead to a tacked-on coda, but otherwise he’s a bit of a blank canvas. Rachel Bilson as his spunky love interest and Jamie Bell as Griffin, a more charismatic, anarchic jumper who fills David in on the history of the Jumper/Paladin war, add a much-needed and welcome shot of charm and zest, if not depth.
So, it’s a thin film, but one not without its share of delights. Liman has always been most creative when pointing his camera at two people attacking each other. The jumping effect, meanwhile, is faultlessly executed – a sort of hazy implosion that leaves a sphere of destruction around it – and when Liman finds good use for it, generally involving both David and Griffin, it’s fantastic. In the film’s best sequence, the pair fight for possession of a detonator, a breathless scrap that takes them from pyramids, to a busy freeway, to the Empire State Building. When delighting in its premise in such a way, the movie becomes an absolute joy.
The overall impression Jumper leaves is much the same as the first X-Men movie: there are plenty of good ideas, and enough going on for a satisfying experience, yet nothing catches or coheres in quite the way you wish. In short, this feels like a good prologue to a bigger event. Here’s hoping that, as X-Men did, this leads to a sequel that can lace its precursor’s loose strands into something spectacular.
Verdict - It’s Liman’s least charismatic action movie and the least developed, but it still packs some cracking action into its brief running time and lays foundations on which a great franchise could be built.