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Jumper DVD Review

Jumper movie poster Jumper

Theatrical Release: February 14, 2008 / Running Time: 88 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Doug Liman / Writers: David S. Goyer, Jim Uhls, Simon Kinberg (screenplay); Steven Gould (novel)

Cast: Hayden Christensen (David Rice), Jamie Bell (Griffin), Rachel Bilson (Millie Harris), Diane Lane (Mary Rice), Samuel L. Jackson (Roland), Michael Rooker (William Rice), AnnaSophia Robb (Young Millie), Max Thieriot (Young David), Jesse James (Young Mark), Tom Hulce (Mr. Bowker), Kristen Stewart (Sophie), Teddy Dunn (Mark Kobold), Barbara Garrick (Ellen)

Buy Jumper from Amazon.com: 1-Disc DVD 2-Disc Digital Copy Special Edition DVD Blu-ray Disc

By Aaron Wallace

There's only so much I can say about a movie that opens with a line like
"I got digits from this Polish chick in Rio" while the main character stands triumphantly atop the Egyptian Sphinx. If you keep watching past that, you know what you're in for, and with Jumper, that's exactly what you'll get.

The film stars Hayden Christensen, better known as Anakin Skywalker in the two most recent episodes of George Lucas' Star Wars saga. Christensen plays David Rice, a young man with the mysterious ability to instantly teleport to almost any place in the world. He discovers his power in high school when he saves himself from drowning and winds up in the local library. The next day, David walks (er, jumps) out of his unpleasant family life and does what any other 15-year-old with "jumping" powers would do: robs a bank. That unfortunate decision raises a red flag for Roland Cox (Samuel L. Jackson), a crusader for an age-old group of Jumper-hunters called Paladins.

The teleportationally-inclined David Rice (Hayden Christensen) looks over the world from an unstable balcony seat. Don't fall. David gets an unannounced, unfriendly visitor in Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), who throws him up against the wall and gives him a close look at his silver hair.

A few years later, David is all grown up and in the mood for a high school reunion. He looks up his old flame, Millie (Rachel Bilson, "The O.C."), and despite eight years apart, he whisks her off to Rome after only a quick chat and an out-of-nowhere bar brawl. Things go well for the couple until Paladins show up and David has to learn the possibilities and limitations of his power from a fellow Jumper, Griffin (Jamie Bell, Billy Elliot). Together, they fight against the Paladins' death grip while trying to explain eerie changes in scenery to a clueless Millie.

The biggest problem with Jumper is not, as you might expect, Hayden Christensen. The David Rice character is interesting and relatable, and despite the lukewarm reception his Skywalker stint received, Christensen turns out a decent performance (as does Max Thieriot, who plays teenaged David). It's not Samuel L. Jackson, either, even though he's far beneath his potential in this silly villain role. And it isn't Jamie Bell, whose acting is the most solid among the primary cast.

Instead, it's Rachel Bilson who brings the film down. Unless your name is Peter Gallagher, a starring credit on "The O.C." should be tantamount to inclusion on a Hollywood blacklist, so the producers got what they paid for (or, as is more likely the case, what they overpaid for). Sadly, Millie is as flat and unmotivated a character as one can find in the forefront of a narrative and it's beyond an actress of Bilson's limited ability to save her from shallow scripting.

Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell) is all grown up and he's a jumper too! David and Millie (Rachel Bilson) look content on an Italian walk.

So much of the attempted dramatic tension in the film relies on the relationship between David and Millie, which the audience is given no reason to value. We see them together for all of a few minutes before they randomly fly off to Europe
and are then supposed to care if Millie tearfully begins to distrust him? Apparently so, but it doesn't work, and this two-dimensional bit of eye candy renders a good half of the movie boring.

Jumper isn't all bad, however. There are some excellent visual effects and a number of exciting action scenes, some of which generate suspense. Moreover, despite the silliness surrounding him, David is a character the audience cares about and roots for. Unfortunately, those strengths aren't enough to overcome the more pointed defects. The underlying premise of a hunted Jumper race is an interesting idea, but not unlike that of Marvel's X-Men films, where an interrogation into the mutants' psyche drives the drama -- something Jumper only barely attempts with its titular breed. Weak dialogue -- fitting for alumni of Star Wars prequels and "The O.C." -- doesn't help. Neither does a convoluted storyline involving David's mother (Diane Lane) that is never satisfactorily explained but is nevertheless the supposed springboard for two sequels.

Opening with considerable promotion but poor reviews, Jumper took in less than $80 million domestically, failing to pay for its reported $85 million budget. Overseas markets turned that around, though, bringing the worldwide gross to $221 million and change. This week, 20th Century Fox looks to make even more with the release of Jumper on both a single-disc and a two-disc Special Edition DVDs, as well as a double-disc Special Edition Blu-ray. Fox supplied only a single-disc screener DVD-R for review, which contains all of the bonus features from the Special Edition DVD and a compressed presentation of the film.

Buy Jumper on DVD from Amazon.com DVD Details

2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
DTS 5.1 (English),
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English),
Dolby Surround (French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English, Spanish;
Closed Captioned
Release Date: June 10, 2008
Suggested Retail Price: $14.98 (Reduced from $29.99)
Also available in 2-Disc Digital Copy Special Edition DVD
and on Blu-ray Disc


Because Fox opted to supply only a single-disc screener with two discs worth of content compressed onto one layer, I can't give a fair critique of the A/V quality here. This much I can say: the film is presented in its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio. Even in its compressed form, the video doesn't look that bad -- I assume (but can't guarantee) that the occasional artifacts and softness that I detected won't be an issue on the final product.

Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and DTS 5.1 Surround Sound tracks are both available for English-speaking viewers, as are Dolby 2.0 tracks for Spanish and French viewers. Both of the English tracks get the job done, with the DTS track offering the bolder, more dynamic experience on the whole.

The animated graphic novel "Jumpstart: David's Story" is like a comic book that moves. Oh yeah! Maybe we'd all be better off if Jamie Bell, Hayden Christensen, and Doug Liman got familiar with the script before coming to the greenscreen set. Four stunt Griffins line up in "Making an Actor Jump." Though they vary in race and gender, all have two things in common: they're not Jamie Bell and they're not getting paid as much as him either.


The bonus features begin with a feature-length audio commentary
by director Doug Liman, writer/producer Simon Kinberg, and producer Lucas Foster. The conversation is primarily focused on what the filmmakers tried to communicate through various sequences and the debates that went on behind the scenes. Despite the number of people participating, the commentary is dull and dry. Unless Jumper is your favorite movie, you'll probably want to listen to at most twenty minutes of this.

Next is "Jumpstart: David's Story - Animated Graphic Novel" (8:01), a Special Edition exclusive. Unfolding like a short comic book, this brief storyline is presented through art stills that piece together the basic premise of Jumper.

Also exclusive to the Special Edition is "Doug Liman's Jumper: Uncensored" (35:30). This behind-the-scenes featurette begins with an anecdote about Liman's typically drawn-out production process and winds up at a profanity-laced rant by Jamie Bell. The latter is really the only thing worth seeing.

"Jumping Around the World" (10:54) is another bonus feature found only on the Special Edition. Subtitled "The Jumper Travel Diary", this short piece looks at the many famous sites and cities that the film traveled to for on-location shooting. From Toronto to Tokyo to Prague, the featurette really lives up to its name and is interesting by virtue of its varied locales alone.

"Making an Actor Jump" (7:34) is found on both DVD versions. As suggested by the title, it focuses on the use of greenscreen and computer imagery in achieving the film's many special effects. Short though it is, it's probably the best of the bonus features.

Also appearing on both DVD editions is "Jumping from Novel to Film: The Past, Present, and Future of Jumper" (8:07). In addition to comparing the movie to its textual source, this featurette also compares Jumper to The Bourne Identity (also directed by Doug Liman). Steven Gould, who wrote the original novel, is on hand for an interview where he gives candid approval to the changes made in his story for the big screen adaptation. Also interesting here is the revelation that the filmmakers and studio foresee a trilogy in Jumper's future.

In this deleted scene, Hayden Christensen takes a moment to diss his Star Wars movies. Couldn't he have spoken up about stifled creativity years ago and spared us watching him act? More cartoons... "Previs: Future Concepts" stages fight and action scenes with primitive computer animation. Oh look, the menu is like a Paladin computer and instead of "Play Movie", it says "Initiate Jumper." Brilliant!

There are six deleted scenes on the Special Edition DVD (none on the single-disc). These are definitely worth watching if you already have them. Aside from one scene showing Roland with his daughter, though,

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they don't add much to the final cut and therefore aren't worth going out of your way to acquire. In total, the scenes run 11:12.

Finally, "Previs: Future Concepts" (4:29) also appears on both DVDs. This is a neat look at what I assume were previsualization graphics for action shots that were at one time planned for the film (and which made it to the final cut in some altered form). Set to exciting music, this is pretty cool and doesn't take up much time -- check it out.

While the screener disc doesn't contain it, Fox's Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray will supposedly also include a Digital Copy of Jumper. With Digital Copy, consumers can copy the movie onto their computer desktop as a digital file and then transfer it to an iPod or other such device if they wish.

The 16x9 main menu is designed so as to look like a Paladin control center mainframe. As a radar moves around the globe, bits of footage from the film are seen as if part of a surveillance reel. Menu options include "Initiate Jumper" and "Special Features Database". The submenus continue the theme but are silent, still screens.

The DVD opens with a Jumper-themed preview for Hewlett-Packard starring Serena Williams and Hayden Christensen, followed by the trailer for The Happening, a preview for the Behind Enemy Lines III: Columbia DVD, and a promo for Digital Copy technology. From the Special Features Database menu, one can also see an FX promo entitled "There Is No Box" and a spot for the upcoming seventh season of "24" on Fox.

Maybe having our jumpers go around a big city with bright lights in a cool car will distract the audience from the all-around lameness. No, that's not Fox's compressed screener creating video problems. That's Roland going wild with a spray can. Can't wait for the figure with aerosol action.


Jumper is, at best, an afternoon-time diversion. The central idea lends the movie enough juice to keep it churning to the end but weak dialogue, spotty acting, and plot details that get muddled along the way eclipse the visual effects and interesting premise. The Special Edition DVD and Blu-Ray offer a handful of bonus features that satisfy but don't dazzle; the smaller sampling that accompanies the single-disc should suffice for those looking to save a few bucks.

Buy Jumper from Amazon.com: 1-Disc DVD 2-Disc DVD Blu-ray The Book by Steven Gould

Buy from Amazon.com

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The Cast of Jumper:
Hayden Christensen & Rachel Bilson: New York, I Love You | Samuel L. Jackson: The Spirit Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Incredibles
AnnaSophia Robb: Race to Witch Mountain Bridge to Terabithia | Max Thieriot: Nancy Drew | Diane Lane: Jack

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Reviewed June 9, 2008.

Text copyright 2008 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2008 20th Century Fox, New Regency Pictures, and Fox Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.