I saw the movie Jumper last weekend with a few family members. I enjoyed the movie immensely, but for entirely wrong reasons. I am not recommending it for you unless these reasons have meaning to you as well.
Jumper‘s plot is simplistic by even high-concept standards, so I will provide it for you in a few simple sentences: An abused boy whose mother left him at 4 discovers in high school he can teleport short and long distances. He leaves his town and runs roughshod on the world for seven years, until he finds out there are people who can stop him from doing so and possibly kill him. He goes home and picks up an old girlfriend, gets into a fight with another jumper, and ultimately finds out his mom works for the people who are trying to kill him, which is why she left. He is victorious until the sequel.
Most of the movie is, therefore, exotic shots of locales he teleports to, fights he engages with another jumper or the people trying to kill him, and short conversations he has with people before doing one of the other two activities. It is truly and utterly soulless.
It is entertaining, though, in that way that watching a basic acrobatic act is entertaining; people come out, they do the trick, they move on. Eventually, someone changes up a trick so you go “woo” and then you’re back on the track for the next trick. But sometimes you get surprised and you’re basically more entertained than if you stared at a brick wall for an hour.
This review probably sounds cynical. I don’t entirely mean it to be. But why do I enjoy this film?
Simply put, it is just the kind of film I designed in my head when I was a teenager.
You have a lot of spare time as a teenager, or, more accurately, you are often put in a position of powerlessness as a teenager meaning you have to wait around a lot or you’re unable to make the most of your time. People tell you where to go or not go and what you’re allowed to think about and while it’s not entirely successful, it can be rather oppressive sometimes.
I loved movies so I would often make movies in my head. However, they were not very good movies. I’d have some basic ideas or a neat little trick, and then I’d construct this film in my head (which I thought was fantastic) and when I walked around the various towns I lived in, I could imagine them as locations or what I’d want to capture in the film and so on. It’s one of those time-passing things you do.
Looking back, of course, these movies are often quite shallow. A kid who is suspiciously like me gets some crazy power and he shows everybody up. Over and over. Until the movie ends. This is basically the plot of Jumper. Even the name, Jumper. You might as well call it Teenage Power Trip Movie with Samuel Jackson. Did I mention Samuel Jackson is in it? He is. He has white hair and he’s the “bad guy”, sort of, although you have to admit, watching it, his character kind of has a point.
Actually, looking at the movie from almost any angle but the central character’s self-centered point of view is a somewhat unhappy exercise, because then you realize nearly every other character is betrayed, mistreated or punished, often for no good reason. Alcoholic dad has his son run away one day, is really sad about this, cleans himself up a bit, thinks he hears his son nearby seven years later, comes in and finds he isn’t there, then is killed. Pretty sad, really. Dad was a bit messed up and he then gets killed. He doesn’t even find out why his wife left him, which was basically to avoid killing her own son.
But I am overthinking that aspect of things. Thinking of how Jumper came about, it’s as if I was given a nice office on the movie lot, and asked to make a film, and then some nice people worked out the logistics, and I was so happy someone was finally paying attention to me, that I let them make a few changes to make it easier to film. I wonder if, somewhere down the line in the production, there really was a twelve year old calling the shots. I know it’s based on a book, so I guess I’ll pick that up and see how it reads.
Either way, it was kind of fun to see this movie from this perspective. I can’t imagine it being a lot of fun from others, though.
I can’t wait for the sequel, in which people teleport a lot and fight.
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