Movie Review: Jumper: Franchir le temps
By Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune Movie Critic
A subspecies of humans known as "jumpers" can teleport themselves nearly anywhere just by closing their eyes and thinking the right thoughts and zzzzzzzzzt, there they are - somewhere else. "Paladins," also hep to the teleportation game, don't like the jumpers, and they try to kill them once they get to adulthood.
Is there something innately vexing about a story whose premise opens the door so wide, to so many geographical possibilities? "Jumper," the film, goes everywhere and nowhere. Based on Steven Gould's young-adult novels, director Doug Liman's frantic 89-minute blur of speculative fiction has nothing on the first "Matrix" film, leap-of-faith-wise. But it never transports us cinematically. When it's over we've been dropped like a farmer in a twister somewhere in the qualitative region of the "Highlander" franchise.
Having played Anakin Skywalker, Hayden Christensen here plays another skywalker of sorts, David Rice, whose mother (Diane Lane) split when he was 5 and whose abusive drunk of a father (Michael Rooker) is making his high school years in Ann Arbor difficult. A fall through the ice one winter day sends David into his first wormhole. (He goes into the river but comes out, very wet, in the local library.) Freedom! He's 15 and off to New York, where he lives increasingly well, in between mind-zapping his way into bank vaults for spending money.
But we all get home eventually. David zoops back to Ann Arbor to check in on the girl who got away (Rachel Bilson), and soon they're winging their way, by old-fashioned jet plane, to Rome. Director Liman shoots the various international locations in a style akin to the first "Bourne" picture, which he also directed. But the determinedly unglamorous atmosphere, augmented by the chilly lighting of cinematographer Barry Peterson, adds little to the sci-fi party.
With some pictures, such as "Transformers," all you need is a teenage kid you don't hate in the middle of special effects you like, and the enterprise becomes a global phenom. Christensen can be a very interesting young actor - see "Shattered Glass" if you haven't - but the "Jumper" script makes precious little of David's love/hate relationship with a fellow jumper, played by Jamie Bell. None of the relationships transcend the routine. David and company are too busy being electrocuted by Samuel L. Jackson (Christensen's old Jedi adversary), who plays the Paladin most likely to be mistaken for a "Matrix" refugee.
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for sequences of intense action violence, some language and brief sexuality) Running time: 1:29
Starring: Hayden Christensen (David); Jamie Bell (Griffin); Rachel Bilson (Millie); Diane Lane (Mary); Samuel L. Jackson (Roland)
Directed by: Doug Liman; written by David S. Goyer, Jim Uhls and Simon Kinberg, based on the novel by Steven Gould; photographed by Barry Peterson; edited by Don Zimmerman, Dean Zimmerman and Saar Klein; music by John Powell; production design by Oliver Scholl; visual effects supervised by Joel Hynek; produced by Kinberg, Arnon Milchan, Lucas Foster and Jay Sanders. A 20th Century Fox release.