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Movie Review: Jumper
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox
The term B-movie has to many persons the connotation of a movie of substandard quality. Traditionally, it meant a low-budget movie with lesser stars meant primarily to entertain. Now an appropriate definition would probably be a genre film that has little to no serious artistic intent: entertainment, not enlightenment.* Doug Liman's Jumperis a B-movie.** I certainly wasn't enlightened by the time it was over.
What would you do if you were a fifteen year-old boy who feels out of place at school and unwanted at home and you discover you can teleport anywhere you want? If you were like David Rice (and me), you would immediately rob a bank and set yourself up in a life of luxury and extensive travel. And you would teleport across the couch when you couldn't quite reach the remote. But what do you do when you discover that you aren't the only one with this ability and there's a group dedicated to wiping your kind out? And consequently you've endangered the life of the girl you've loved since you were five?
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox
You've probably already decided if you're going to see this. I've read many persons comment about how the trailer looked stupid and there was no way they'd go see this at a theater. A much smaller group of commenters thought the trailer looked pretty cool and it might be a fun flick. I was in the latter group, and if you've seen the trailer you've probably already picked one of those sides.
And whatever side you picked you're probably right. I wasn't expecting much and I enjoyed it well enough, but I can't find anything in the film that would allow me to persuade anyone who thinks it's stupid that they're wrong. The direction is competent and mildly inspired with some of the teleportation scenes. In a story that doesn't call for much emoting the acting is overall rather flat but acceptable. Hayden Christensen acquits himself well enough***, Sam Jackson is kinda tame, Rachel Bilson is pretty and Jamie Bell is probably the most interesting. The story shows its book origins by its Cliff Notes-like development and its tempting us with bits of information that aren't followed up on, perhaps in anticipation of a sequel (or maybe just to keep the movie short in order to have as many showings as possible the first week).
If for whatever reason you're just jonesing to see a major motion picture that came out in the last couple of weeks, you could surely do worse than Jumper. But if Definitely, Maybe gets good reviews, go see that instead.
* By whatever chart you go by, the top 20 movies of all time are almost all really B-movies, no matter how big their stars and directors or how much they cost to make.
** Not just because of its science fiction (more accurately, science fantasy) premise, but because it features Samuel L. Jackson. Since Jurassic Park, Jackson has built a solid claim to the title of King of the B-movies. Despite his turns in recent movies like Black Snake Moan and Resurrecting the Champ, he really seems attracted to genre roles like no other star of his stature.
*** Hayden gets an unfairly harsh rap for his role in the Star Wars pics (ed. note - uh-uh!). He seems to be an actor that really needs a director behind him to get a good performance and he certainly didn't get that with notorious actor-hater Lucas. He was very good in Shattered Glass and got good notices for Life as a House.
Review by Danny Trogdon