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Jumper is a 2008 American science fiction film, loosely based on the 1992 science fiction novel of the same name by Steven Gould. The film is directed by Doug Liman and stars Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Samuel L. Jackson, Rachel Bilson, Max Thieriot, AnnaSophia Robb, and Diane Lane. The film follows a young man capable of teleporting as he is chased by a secret society intent on killing him. The script went through a rewrite prior to filming and the roles for the main characters were changed during production. Jumper was filmed in 20 cities in 14 countries between 2006 and 2007. The film was released on February 14, 2008 and a soundtrack was released on February 19. The film held the first position in its opening weekend with $27.3 million, but despite this success, reviews from critics were generally negative. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, teenager David Rice (Max Thieriot) gives his crush, Millie (Annasophia Robb), a snow globe containing the Eiffel Tower, knowing her dreams of traveling someday. A bully, Mark, throws the globe onto the ice near a river. While trying to retrieve it, David falls through the ice and is pulled away by the current.
Hayden Christensen steps into the David Rice role as Jumper progresses and delivers a performance that's as bland and flavorless as his moniker suggests. Years after leaving home, David has mastered the art of jumping and uses it to have lunch atop the Great Sphinx, surf tubular waves off the coast of Fiji, flirt with chicks in a London pub, and take his high-school sweetheart, Millie (Rachel Bilson), around Rome's top tourist traps.
It's during that Italian jaunt when David encounters Griffin (Jamie Bell), a fellow teleporter who informs our hero of his new function in the age-old battle raging between special beings with 'transportational' abilities. The jumpers are hunted by paladins, who appear to be led by Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), an ambiguous agent working for an unknown task force who believes only God deserves the ability to be anywhere at once. While Roland can't 'jump,' he does cover a lot of ground -- he discovers David in Manhattan, follows Millie to Italy, and then intercepts the couple in Detroit (which is where you jump when you run out of money to shoot in Chicago). He also piggybacks on Griffin's traveling wormhole for a climactic battle in the middle of an Egyptian desert.
A jumper's natural ability might be necessary to leapfrog the gaping plot holes in the Jumper script. Roland informs David that it's hard to teleport when electricity is being pumped through a jumper's brain, but doesn't elaborate why. And to where could a jumper actually jump? Can they merely look at a picture of a location and leap there (as suggested), or do they have to physically visit a spot before teleporting to it? David mentions something about 'jumping spots' he has created around Tokyo, but the science behind the teleportation is never made clear.
Instead of delving into the clashing histories of jumpers and paladins, Jumper director Doug Liman develops the inane romance between David and Millie -- two empty vessels who make the Cloverfield kids look like Rhodes scholars. Christensen's stiff portrayal of Anakin Skywalker in George Lucas' Star Wars prequels earned him the fitting nickname 'Mannequin' Skywalker. He shows no improvement as an actor, delivering lines in a monosyllabic pattern that's backed by a vacant stare. Bell and Bilson adequately overlook the overall nonsense of the story, while Jackson mails in his villainous part.
Liman musters plausible effects but directs without urgency. The action moves along to John Powell's jaunty, jazzy score, which counteracts Christensen's lifeless narration. At least Liman avoids easy green-screen technology to actually film his globetrotting scenes in world cities such as Paris, Rome, New York City, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. It lends a sliver of credibility to the production and tallies frequent flier miles for the director and his crew. At each stop, however, I wanted to send postcards to our old friend Mr. Logic that simply stated, 'Wish you were here!'
Big wires make ya wanna... jump, jump.