24 June 2008

Jumper Review

Jumper is something of an enigmatic movie - it sweeps into your living room, jumbles the furniture about a bit, and then vanishes, leaving you thinking 'is that it?'. But then when you look about and see what it's actually done, you suddenly realise that it's started off something wonderful, because now you can organise your furniture in a new and exciting way.

To explain my rather odd metaphor, Jumper is a movie full of possibilities that somehow manages to merely set up further ones instead of captilise on its own. There are plenty of good ideas, but it's clear from the short running time that this is only a set up - a precursor to bigger, better things, like the first Bourne movie, or indeed the first X-men film. The only problem is that it is simply not as likeable as either of those, and so it somewhat falls flat.

Story-wise, it's a fairly prototypical superhero film, only it lacks a central aspect of those things - a hero. David - played competently by Hayden Christensen - is just an ordinary bloke who discovers these extraordinary powers, and is subsequently persecuted by a mysterious group called the Paladins, led my the absurd blonde barnet of Samuel L Jackson with the equally absurd monicker Roland. Along the way he meets another jumper called Griffin, and...well, that's about it.

It simply feels like the whole thing has been hamstrung by someone - that there was more of it before the numerous, sequel-minded rewrites happened. What's here is solid - not great, but solid - but it simply leaves you feeling short-changed.

There are good things - the special effects, in particular, are really rather good. The 'jump scars' that jumpers leave when they jaunt from place to place are particularly well done, and some of the fight scenes have the breathlessness that the Bourne Identity had, with the added fun of having a bleached Nightcrawler thrown into the mix.

Jamie Bell is particularly good as Griffin - his confidence in the role completely outshining Hayden Christensen's underserved star power; and Sam Jackson can't help but exude cool despite the ridiculous haircut. But it's hampered somewhat by the ever-wooden Christensen, and a performance from Rachel Blison that might as well have been faxed over on toilet paper.

In the end, Jumper is an entertaining movie; but there simply isn't enough of it to raise it above anything other than a distinctly average one. Worth a look, certainly, but nothing more - unless, of course, a big-budget sequel is made, and then maybe I'll add a couple of points...

Ross' Rating: 5/10

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