Opening with a bland, dull narration from Hayden Christensen, Jumper is initially confusing… and it never really gets any clearer. It’s energetic, unique action sequences are filled with imaginative shots and globe-trotting adventure. The visual effects also remain strong throughout, but this is a film that barely starts before it’s over.
The concept, one that certain people have the ability to “jump” anywhere in the world in a split second, is a novel one. As depicted on screen, it’s a visual trick that leads to some battles that are unlike any seen before it. Jumper is at the very least an original film, even though the idea comes from a series of novels.
There is a benefit for the book, and that’s space to build. Jumper immediately expects its audience to buy into the concept of jumping without ever explaining the why or the how. They briefly divulge the what and the when, yet move on before offering any other explanation. A romance between Christensen and Rachael Bilson takes up an extended amount of screen time, and at 86 minutes, it doesn’t have that to spare.
Diane Lane is wasted in a staggeringly small role as Christensen’s mother, and the reveal of who she is creates a plot hole. Samuel L. Jackson is ruthless as a Paladin, a group that tracks down and kills Jumpers due to their limitless power to evade capture. Sadly, the film doesn’t have a line between good and evil. Both the Jumpers and Paladins are rather despicable types, though the script attempts to use the upbringing of the two featured Jumpers as an excuse.
There’s enough to the fight scenes to recommend a viewing, especially since you’ll lose so little time doing it. With a few more scenes, maybe even just 10 minutes to slow down and offer some explanation, Jumper could have offered far more. Maybe a sequel could fill in the gaps, but as a stand alone, Jumper misses its opportunity.
Jumper looks fantastic as should be expected given that it’s a modern film. Depth and black levels are stunning. The transfer is sharp, boasting extraordinary detail in many close-ups. Color saturation is spot on without bleeding. While clear of imperfections for most of the film, certain shots come off especially noisy, enough to be a distraction.
While bass tends to lack a full punch, there’s no shortage of enveloping surround use. The Jumpers move through the sound field with each jump. Fights have characters moving into every speaker, and electrical whips moving front to back. This is an all around accurate DTS-HD master.
A commentary from director Doug Limman, writer Simon Kinberg, and producer Lucas Foster is engaging. Jumpstart is an animated novel that tells a little of the backstory of the character David with some miserable voice acting. Doug Liman’s Jumper is a half hour documentary that delves into production trouble and financial issues. It’s the best feature on the disc.
Jumping Around the World can be viewed as a picture-in-picture piece or as separate featurettes from the main menu. These are fun little behind-the-scenes featurettes worth watching. Making an Actor Jump is the final extra, an eight minute piece on how the team finally settled on how to show the jumps.
Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson were not part of the original cast. Tom Sturridge and Teresa Palmer were originally the leads for two months of shooting. Increasing costs and lack of results forced a recast.