It gives me great pleasure to introduce a new contributor to the blog. He's a man with impeccable taste, and even better dress-sense. Hopefully this will be the first in a long line of reviews, so enjoy. Jumper, destined to be a classic will be the first of Fran Johnston's reviews. Fran, take it away-
Those crazy cork indie rockers The Sultans of Ping FC once asked the question where"s me jumper? well if their jumper was anybody like Hayden Christensen's character David Rice in the new Doug Liman film Jumper, He was off teleporting himself to far off places like Rome, Egypt, Paris, London or Fiji because that's what good Jumpers do! This might sound like a sweet deal. Being able to pop to anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye. Unfortunatly some people think its a feat that only God should be able to perform. Not least of whom, the righteous leader of a group know as the Paladins, Roland ( samuel L Jackson ), who wants to wipe the Jumpers from the face of the earth. And so begins, with the help of another Jumper named Griffin ( Jamie Bell ), David's fight against the Paladins for his life and the lives of the people he cares about especially his love interest Millie ( Rachel Bilson )
You might think this sounds like a great recipie for a movie. Especially coming from the man who brought us The Bourne Identity. But, even before I sat down in my seat the first bad omen appeared to me in the form of the panpipes version of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On blasting out of the cinema speakers. Ok. Fair enough that was nothing to do with the movie but the second bad omen came as the film stared. A monolouge from Hayden Christensen's character David. I thought this was added to save us time by letting the character give us the history of the Jumpers as we drifted in to the begining of his story but it wasnt. It was just a few choice sentences about how great it is being a Jumper. The monolouge then ended never to be heard from again. awww!
The story of David Rice is actually put together pretty well. His relationship with Millie and the discovery of his powers cemented down very early on. His home life living with his deadbeat father and the absense of his mother established solidly and also giving him the perfect platform to run away and enjoy his new found powers.
It is when the grander scheme of the tale enters in the form of Roland though that things start going pear shaped. The basic plot of the movie is Paladins vs Jumpers but we are never given a reason why the Paladins are out to exterminate them. They mention that some Jumpers have gone bad but never say why and their hatred of the Jumpers just seems to stem from nothing. Roland himself coming accross as a near hitleresque character and claiming a divine right to murder these people who, for the record, are mostly just kids.
This massive hole in the history of the players in this movie just leaves you caring less and less about the characters and the story as the movie goes on which is a pity because you do get the feeling that the people behind the film were aiming to be original and not trying to make a no plot no problem movie.
Fifteen minutes before the end two lads behind me started to natter at overly audible levels. Normally I'd care but this time I didn't because you see we had something in common. The film wasn't holding our attention anymore. And as I sat there listening to people rummaging for the jackets they had stuffed under their seats I realised that we wern't the only ones.
Jumper seemed to promise so much but just couldn't deliver and in the end I just came out disapointed. It was like asking for a Transformer for your 10th birthday and getting a Gobot instead. The worst thing about it though was that normally I know if I have really enjoyed this type of film when I jump out the cinema doors wanting to be the main character. For example walking down the street flapping my coat about after seeing V for Vendetta or trying to memorise licence plates while looking like a moody bastard after seeing The Bourne Ultimatum. In this case though I didn't want to imagine I was teleporting out the doors or down the street while making my own sound effects and looking like a mental asylum escapee, I just felt like walking to the train station looking like a man who had just seen a very mediocre movie.
In saying that though as I climbed onto a rush hour train and had my head squashed against the armpit of a tall, overweight man, I did start to wish I could jump to a deck chair on top of the sphinx's head.