Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 13th, 2008
Come on, admit it, you want to say that Hayden Christensen was the worst part if the latest trilogy of Star Wars films, and yeah, the guy did bring the suck, to be sure, but he wasn’t really that bad, right? Well yeah, he was, but he’s not the only thing wrong when it comes to Jumper, the latest film from writers David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight) and Jim Uhls (Fight Club), who adapted the Steven C. Gould novel. Directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), Jumper features Christensen as David Rice, a man who grows up with a genetic gift, the ability to ”jump” from place to place, Christensen’s performance was his first major role since transforming Darth Vader from an ominous, silently rueful and dominating presence, to a dude who thought his girl was cheating on him, so he started hanging out with a creepy old guy as a result.
David is unsure about his ability when he first discovers it but then starts to use it to his advantage, going to places ‘round the world, walking in and out of banks unnoticed, pretty much getting a chance to do whatever he wants. He leaves his Dad (Michael Rooker, Mallrats) early on in his life, and his mother (Diane Lane, Untraceable) had long since abandoned him, so the world is pretty much his oyster, right? Wrong. There’s a guy out there who captures and kills “jumpers,” a guy named Roland, played by Samuel L. Jackson with a grey wig, which, if I may, pretty much tells you it’s going to be a bad movie. Honestly, outside of a Quentin Tarantino movie, have you seen a really good movie that he’s in where he’s wearing some stupid hair prosthesis? Thank you. Soon, David finds someone else that can jump, a British guy named Griffin (Jamie Bell, King Kong), who, aside from telling David he’s not completely unique, also tells him that Roland is part of a group who hordes and kills jumpers named “Talismans,” so he’s generally got to watch his butt around them.
Oh yeah, did I forget to talk about the girl? Well, how could I? David’s childhood crush (Rachel Bilson, The O.C.) finally finds out about his gift and wants no part of it. Liman throws all of this together, combined with David’s urge to find out who and where his mother is, into an 88-minute film with an intriguing concept, but boring execution, in large part because Christensen is so fricken wooden on any given scene. The other members of the cast are just as bad, and Jackson seems to look angry from the moment that wig is put on him, partially because he has the wig on, but partly because this is such a godawful piece of crap that his scowl is palpable.
Hey, there’s a DTS 5.1 surround track! And every time Hayden or someone else jumps, you get a certain level of subwoofer engagement to go with the fidelity of the sound effects and other Liman-enhanced fun.
2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. However, Upcomingdiscs received a review copy that appears to be of unfinished quality with a bunch of pixelation and artifact issues through the feature, along with an occasional studio watermark. Scores (and comments) will be updated pending receipt of final product.
Liman and producers Simon Kinsberg and Lucas Foster join forces for a commentary. The trio is pretty friendly and jokes around frequently. They discuss the story and how they were going to pull it off in some decent detail, and the requisite thoughts about what occurs on screen and what figures come into the shot are talked on for some time as well. It’s an interesting track for a pretty uninteresting film, if you want the nickel summation. There’s an animated graphic novel that’s next and flushes out the whole David and his mother dynamic for eight minutes, followed by a 36- minute production diary titled “Jumper: Uncensored.” The cast shares their thoughts on Liman and Liman shares his thoughts on the production, but there’s a lot of moments for mugging and goofing around, and Bell seems to be around most of them, including a funny dance sequence from Bell’s Billy Elliot character. Sometimes they show a particular sequence, but most of this piece focuses on the in-between stuff. If this movie were any good, I’d say a piece like this would complement it, but this might be better than the film itself. “Jumping Around the World” is an 11-minute piece that focuses on the locations around the world where photography occurred, and Liman’s thoughts on them. The cast and crew discuss where they went, and Liman handles recalling the logistics of the shoot. “Making an Actor Jump” covers the visual effects behind the “jumping” and includes animatics and previsualization footage. “Jumping From Novel to Film” includes Gould’s thoughts on the adaptation. It was here that I found out that the producers are trying to set up hopes that Jumper will have sequels, plural. Each of those sections are eight minutes apiece. Six deleted scenes that total 11 minutes are next, the most notable footage includes more backstory surrounding Roland and his quest, footage that should have been included in the final cut, to be perfectly honest. Four minutes of previsualization footage is next, while trailers for The Happening, Behind Enemy Lines II and Fox’s digital copy program tout the studio round the disc out. The last one is ironic, since Upcomingdiscs received the single-disc, non-digital copy version of the title.
There’s a reason why films like Jumper get dumped in February when no one will see them and that’s because creatively, there’s nothing really worth jumping up and down about. The problem is when there’s nothing else going on in theaters, films like Jumper can make more than they probably should, and producers get thoughts in their head that aren’t too realistic. At least Liman is a DVD-friendly director, so the extras are kind of OK, but the film isn’t really worth the time.