Starring: Hayden Christensen, Rachel Bilson, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Doug Liman
Running Time: 88 mins
Jumper is an American film about a teenager with the ability to teleport who suddenly becomes the central focus of a conflict between those like him and those trying to wipe his kind out.
A bizarre exercise in the young adult (YA) genre, Jumper delivers a frankly preposterous story in the most energetic fashion. As a result, it proves a strangely enjoyable watch, and while a number of its biggest twists and entirely laughable, there’s something irresistibly entertaining about it.
First things first, there’s not much about Jumper that’s genuinely good. Its performances are lukewarm, its visual effects uninteresting, and its story plainly ridiculous. Compared with stronger entries in the YA genre like the Harry Potter and The Hunger Games series, Jumper does very little to foster genuine excitement, emotion or intrigue.
And yet, its premise is wonderfully imaginative, and is told with surprising gusto throughout. The story is full of moronic and often unintelligible sci-fi jargon, but the screenplay is so passionate and convinced of its own genius, that it somehow manages to grab you with its preposterous antics.
As a result, while the film’s space-hopping exploits are at times laughably ridiculous, there’s such energy and vigour behind it all the way through. And that makes it a film that’s difficult to genuinely dislike, proving a perfectly entertaining piece of turn-your-brain-off blockbuster fun.
That of course means the film is far from successful in telling a genuinely thrilling or even moderately engaging story. Its brief attempts at emotional depth and intrigue are underwhelming and inconsequential, and the generally middling performances from leads Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell and Rachel Bilson do little to create much interest in the characters.
However, as a silly, easy-going sci-fi adventure, Jumper is a surprising delight. Doug Liman’s energetic direction goes together with a passionate and imaginative screenplay, jointly making the film an oddly brilliant watch at times.
Jumper is far from a masterpiece, missing the mark with its deeper themes, emotional intrigue and narrative intensity. Its performances are underwhelming and its visuals uninteresting, yet with such vigour and energy behind the camera – in the form of Liman’s direction and the screenplay – it overcomes often laughably bad genre tropes to provide an oddly enjoyable watch throughout. And that’s why I’m giving it a 7.0 overall.