Imagine if you could instantly teleport to any location in the world. What would you do? Where would you go? Director Doug Liman explores that concept in the fast-paced action movie Jumper.
Jumper stars Hayden Christensen as David, a young man who discovers in a time of crisis that he has the amazing ability to teleport or 'jump' to any place he knows. David quickly realizes that he can use his wondrous powers to have anything he wishes and proceeds to live a live most can only dream of.
All good things must come to an end, though, and before long David is discovered by the Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), who is a member of a group called the Paladins. Paladins can be compared to the Spanish Inquisitors or Templars in the fact that they believe Jumpers are abominations who can do things only God should be able to do. Roland is a canny foe and has many tactics and weapons to combat a Jumper's ability.
Once the chase is on, David is on the run and meets another Jumper named Griffin (Jamie Bell) who is much more experienced with using his powers and dealing with Paladins. David also revisits his hometown and rekindles his relationship with his childhood sweetheart, Millie (Rachel Bilson). David, Millie, and Griffin soon get embroiled in a fight to the finish with the Paladins that will test all of them.
Jumper is a fast-paced movie that often has you in multiple locales within minutes, especially during the better fight scenes. Doug Liman is able to represent this imagery of rapid and explosive teleportation very well and the movie benefits from his smooth direction.
Hayden Christensen (David) is capable as the lead actor; his performance is understated but believable. The standout performances are from Samuel L. Jackson (Roland) and Jamie Bell (Griffin). Both actors put in over the top performances that pull you into the worlds of Paladins and Jumpers. Rounding out the cast is Rachel Bilson (Millie) who gives a fairly weak performance as David's old sweetheart. Her dialogue is delivered in the same tones almost all the time and often pulled me out of the scene. Finally Diane Lane appears in an extended cameo obviously in an attempt to set up potential sequels.
Jumper has some great ideas and is visually appealing but ultimately falls a little flat because of the breakneck pacing. No one is given any time to show any range or develop their characters. I also was surprised at how quickly everyone accepts everything. Millie is not very shocked at David’s abilities and Griffin puts up a fairly meager fight to keep his privacy. It is obvious that the director wanted this movie to be fast-paced and at 88 minutes he got his wish but at the expense of adding any real substance to the film.
Visually Jumper is a stunning movie and the HD transfer on this Blu-ray disc will blow you away. Because of the constantly changing locales, the lighting, background, and even time of day is constantly changing and the film represents it all stunningly. Even though the movie itself is relatively shallow, the cinematography and visuals are anything but. Landmark scenes like the sphinx and downtown Tokyo are represented beautifully. As usual, 20th Century Fox has made a stellar transfer of a striking film that maintains all the crisp whites and dark blacks we hope to see from a diverse movie like this.
While the soundtrack is nothing to write home about, this movie's sound effects are the true audio star in this film. The DTS HD 5.1 Master lossless audio delivers a great sound mix that has booms, cracks, and other effects echoing across your sound field. In particular the teleportation effects are amazingly well done and you can actually hear them jumping across the room. The mixing is not always consistent, but by and large the movie sounds great and will draw you into the scenes with the noticeable effects. The disc also has Dolby Digital 5.1 in English, French, and Spanish for those whose setup cannot process the HD Master version.
Plastered all over the front sleeve, front of the case, and the back of the case is the fact that Fox has added a digital copy of the movie for portable viewing as an extra. The feature currently supports iPod Video/iPhone, Windows Media devices, and PlayForSure devices. It is a pretty cool feature and I tried it on my PDA and laptop and it worked great (although a little bloated in size at 1.1GB). The video and audio quality was top notch and it is a nice feature that I hope Fox adopts for more movies.
The Blu-ray version of Jumper features many extras:
- Audio commentary with director Doug Liman, writer/producer Simon Kinberg, and producer Lucas Foster – The audio commentary is enjoyable, but pretty standard fare. It does focus on fleshing out the back story, which is appreciated considering how that was fluffed over in the film.
- "Jumping Around the World" (standard or picture-in-picture) – Using the capabilities of the 1.2 Blu-ray format the picture-in-picture mode is really well done. As pivotal scenes are shown an overlay is used to show details about the locale as well as the filming of the scene and other details about the shots in question. A nice feature and makes the movie worth re-watching.
- "Doug Liman's Jumper: Uncensored Documentary" – A fairly honest, 30-minute behind the scenes look at the filmmaker and his techniques in dealing with shots, the actors, and the concepts. A pretty good featurette and worth watching.
- "Making an Actor Jump" – This is a great short feature looking at all the logistics of making the jumps work and be believable. It is always interesting to see how much time and effort goes into those small in length scenes.
- "Jumping from Novel to Film" – A look at what is involved in translating from book to screenplay/movie.
- "Jumpstart: David's Story – An Animated Graphic Novel" – A slightly animated graphic novel with voiceovers detailing David’s continuing story. The art isn’t the best but the content is interesting and worth watching.
- Deleted Scenes/Pre-Viz Concepts – Six deleted scenes are on display, generally when watching you understand why they were not added to the film, but a commentary would have been appreciated. Pre-Viz concepts are a very interesting low res render fight between Jumpers. An interesting look at what potential sequels could offer.
While the extras are not groundbreaking, they are all interesting and very watchable. This is a much appreciated list and is appreciated in this age when many times we see fluff marketing pieces labeled as extras.
Jumper is an average film that is on a great Blu-ray disc. The visuals, audio, and extras all help to make this a Blu-ray worth recommending. If you can turn your mind down a bit the movie is a fun ride and the presentation will impress you.