Jumper (2008)

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The first time I saw Jumper it was truly amazing.  It’s a kid’s wet dream.  You have a power and you use it to go wherever you want and become rich.  It’s perfect.  It’s like when I saw Rookie of the Year (1993).  I probably shouldn’t compare my experience watching movies to my experience watching other movies, but they’re both great.

Jumper is still great in the sense that it appeals to those same sensibilities.  I’d love to be rich and powerful.  Watching it again, though, it’s just so silly.

Samuel L. Jackson is in it because of course he is.  He’s the villain, and he hates kids who “jump.”  This means they can go wherever they want with no noticeable consequences.

Hayden Christensen plays David, a 15 year old kid.  He first “jumps” after having fallen through a hole in a frozen pond.  He “jumps” to the library, and he realizes he’s powerful and confident.  From this point on I will refer to “jump” as jump, because I’m tired of “quotation” marks.

Everyone thinks David died, including Millie aka young Rachel Bilson.  David loves Millie, but he’s a shy kid on the fringes of high school social relevancy, so he lacks any self-esteem.  Thus, when he seems to have died, he takes this opportunity to run away and never look back.  He moves to New York, robs a bank by jumping into the vault in the middle of the night, and everything is awesome.  His bank robbery, however, attracts the attention of Sam Jackson’s villainous Roland, a guy who just hates jumpers and kills them. I someday wish to have a job in an organization with as much leeway as Roland gets.  I just hope I don’t– well, you know, I just hope I do good things and don’t kill people who are different.  Roland is Jump-ist.

So Roland hears about a mysterious bank robbery with no signs of break in and he’s like “it was a jumper!” But he’s more hush hush about it.  He just knows it was a jumper.

Then we cut to 8 years later where David is now Hayden Christensen.  When we next see Roland, someone comes up to him and says “we have a lead on the bank robbery case.”  And this is where you as the viewer say “it’s been eight years!”  You’d think he’d have moved on to something else.  Or at least, he’s put that case in the unsolved files and forgotten about it.  In that case, when someone says they have a break in the case, he’d fall to his knees and sob, yelling “YES!”  But he doesn’t, he just says “good” like it’s normal for cases to remain unsolved for 8 years.

David’s hella dope, though.  He’s handsome, he’s got a huge apartment, money, and he jumps wherever he wants.  He even hooks up with a girl he just met!

So he’s having a grand ‘ol time.  Then Roland visits him, because Roland knows David is a jumper and robbed the bank.  He almost gets David, and it’s no longer safe for David to stay there, so he goes back to his childhood home for the first time since he last left.

He visits Millie who is now Rachel Bilson and works as a bartender.  They reconnect, and they hit it off right away because when someone presumed dead turns up in your life eight years later, you make smalltalk.

Then they go off to Rome because we’ve established that Millie has always wanted to go to Rome from when she told David “I’ve always wanted to go to Rome.”  But in a cruel twist, they don’t jump there, rather, they fly like peasants in first class.  I’m sorry, you know, the movie is called Jumper, not Passenger.

That’s when Jamie Bell, playing a dude named Griffin, reveals himself to David as a fellow Jumper.  He informs David that the bad people are about to get him, and there are more Jumpers out there.  David has had no idea.  He thought he was the only powerful person.

The funny thing is, there aren’t many Jumpers.  There’s only David, Griffin and one guy we see get murdered by Roland to establish that Roland does in fact kill Jumpers.  That’s also why it seems strange that Roland is so obsessed with David.  It’s not like David’s the most powerful one.  He clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing, and that’s why he hitches along with Griffin, because he needs to learn a lot about jumping.  But Roland wants to get David, and Griffin to a lesser extent.

So David and Millie fight, he sends her away for her own safety, and the story happens.  David and Griffin fight Roland and win, then lose, then Millie returns because she’s in danger and David goes to get her.  Then Roland gets Millie.  Then David does the thing Griffin told him he couldn’t do.  Then they win and Roland is left stranded in a cave in the grand canyon, high above the ground.  It’s a big win for the young white men in the world.

In the most revealing scene of the movie, we discover that Kristen Stewart is David’s half-sister.

Jumper was released on February 14, 2008, nine months before Twighlight hit theaters, so this movie was on the Stewart hype train long before the rest of America came to its senses.

I imagine there was a sequel planned for Jumper, called something like Jumpan Jumpman Them Boys Up To Something or something, but the film didn’t make back it’s budget, and that’s what we call a flop.

Looking at Hayden Christensen’s and Rachel Bilson’s IMDB pages, it seems as though this movie really hurt their Hollywood credibility, and I understand why.  The acting is mostly flat, but at the same time they do all they need to: act as surrogates for the audience of teenage boys to imagine themselves, like I did, as Hayden and their teenage crush as Rachel Bilson.  It’s all about subjectivity and how you see the world – what a philosophical goldmine.

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This film was directed by Doug Liman, who also directed Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) as well as Edge of Tomorrow (2014).

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