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Jumper (Blu-ray Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000225599
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 9/6/2024 19:35
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    Review for Jumper

    5 / 10


    The decline of physical media seems to continue apace, as the studios and corporations head closer to their conspiracy theory dream of selling everything through online streaming, and switching off the servers your purchases live on whenever they feel like it. But there are little highlights of collector joy in this spiral of depression. A few years ago, Music Magpie had an arrangement with Poundland to put clearance and second hand films, music, and physical video games (remember those) on shelves for just a few shekels each. It didn’t matter if a film was rubbish, I could take a chance on a random title, just judging the contents by the cover. I got a couple hundred Blu-rays that way over the space of just a few years, including at least half of the James Bond Collection, and while I did get my fair share of stinkers, I did also find plenty of unexpected gems.

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    It’s not the same doing it through online shopping. It doesn’t match the experience of standing in front of a shop shelf, picking up cases and reading the blurb. Sorting by price, and scanning a virtual bargain bucket online quickly becomes tiresome, as there’s just too much to sift through, and my eyes quickly glaze over. And it usually winds up costing more than Poundland’s simple £2 a disc. But I missed that experience, and earlier this year, I went over to Rarewaves, sorted by price, and put the effort in to grab those bargains. It cost me twice as much as Poundland, averaging £4 a disc, but I wound up with 8 movies, 6 of them I’d missed out at the cinema and always wanted to catch, one that looked promising by the blurb, and one lucky dip title. Now I finally get around to watching them beginning with this, Jumper. And yes, I actually did want to watch this originally.

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    After all, it is what Hayden Christensen did after Star Wars. Not every Star Wars alumnus gets to be a movie star of Harrison Ford stature. Most stars are household names before they go into the franchise, and come out the other side, pretty much unscathed, while those actors who become household names through the franchise, are more likely to be typecast, and see their fame decline afterwards, but they usually get at least one shot at a hit movie. It all depends on how that movie goes. Unfortunately, not every such movie is an Indiana Jones. Mark Hamill’s first big post-Star Wars opportunity was Slipstream, a veritable cult classic, but not the box office smash it needed to be. It’s also criminally slipped into the public domain and out of sight and mind. No will give it the restoration and release it deserves when it can be watched for free on Youtube. Hayden Christensen’s first big blockbuster attempt was Jumper, which on the paper looks a lot more promising; an adaptation of a young adult sci-fi novel that could be a franchise that would slot in beside Twilight and Hunger Games if they got it right. And it had the right director in The Bourne Identity’s Doug Liman.

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    David Rice didn’t have the best upbringing, abandoned by his mother at age five, and raised by an abusive alcoholic father. By the time he was a teenager, he had a weedy nerd vibe going on that got him picked on, but he did manage to connect with a girl, Milly. But it was when he almost died that he realised he had a fantastic ability; teleportation. And when you can jump into a bank vault and clear it out, you don’t have to live with an abusive father. With everyone thinking he was dead, years later he’s living a playboy lifestyle, literally globe-trotting and having a good time. David manages to stay off the radar all that time, but the consequences of his actions catch up with him when he is noticed by the wrong people. There are those who think that teleporters like him are an abomination to be exterminated, and indeed, he’s not the only one with this ability. David has just jumped into the middle of a war that has been raging for centuries; and this is when he decides to go home and try and reconnect with Milly.

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    The Disc

    Jumper gets a 2.35:1 widescreen 1080p transfer on this disc, with the choice between DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround English, DTS 5.1 Surround Italian and Spanish, and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround English Audio Descriptive, with subtitles in these languages and Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish. A contemporary big budget movie on Blu-ray; you’ll be hard pressed to find nits to pick with the transfer. The image is clear and sharp, colours are consistent, and detail levels are good; contrast is excellent. The audio is nice and immersive, the sound design is impressive given the teleporting premise of the film. The effects are accomplished well, with the teleportation sequences presented as matter of fact and disposable; no flashy effects required. Think X-Men’s Nightcrawler but with less smoke.

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    You get one disc in a BD Amaray case with a shiny holographic looking sleeve. The disc boots to an animated menu and you’ll find the following extras.

    Audio commentary with director Doug Liman, writer/producer Simon Kinberg, and producer Lucas Foster

    Jumpstart: David’s Story: Animated Graphic Novel (8:07)

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    Jumping Around the World (Picture in Picture version)
    Jumping Around the World (non PiP Version)

    These offer little sound-bite featurettes from the various locations, a couple of minutes apiece, with around 20 featurettes.

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    Doug Liman’s Jumper Uncensored (35:34)
    Making an Actor Jump (7:36)
    Jumping From Novel to Film: The Past, Present and Future of Jumper (8:08)
    Deleted Scenes x6 (11:17)
    Previz: Future Concepts (4:34)
    Websites and D-Box Motion Code

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    Hayden Christensen didn’t turn into another Harrison Ford on the back of this film. For Mark Hamill, Slipstream turned out to be just a little too avant garde for the mainstream audience, but for Christensen, Jumper is just too bland a blockbuster movie. The creators had an admirable goal of making an effects movie with as much realism as possible, which in this case must have meant a significant fraction of the budget going on the international locations. This film puts most Bond movies to shame given the various countries and landmarks put on screen here. But budgets are limited and it must have meant sacrifices, and here, it’s the story that gets sacrificed, it’s the character development that gets sacrificed, the thought gets sacrificed, and most obviously the runtime gets sacrificed. 88 minutes just isn’t enough time to tell the story that Jumper wants to tell.

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    The thing is that Jumper was obviously meant to be the start of a franchise, and this film introduces the premise, the characters, and sets things up, with a big twist at the end, although with no follow-up, the twist is really quite meaningless except in explaining why Kristen Stewart was so highly billed, yet got only one line in the film. Jumper is an alternative superhero movie, a different look at people with fantastic abilities that has nothing to do with origin stories, or fighting evil. David Rice realises that he can teleport, and uses this power for selfish reasons, although he’s not malicious. His chickens come home to roost when he learns that there is a group out there, the Paladins who kill these Jumpers for being abnormal and dangerous. He runs into another Jumper, Griffin who is a lot more savvy about these things, and could potentially be persuaded to help once the Paladins target those people that David cares about. And thereby should hang a tale.

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    It doesn’t however. There’s no room for a back story here, which is what we really needed to explain this ‘war’ between the Paladins and the Jumpers, and given that Griffin is the only other Jumper that we meet, it’s not much of a war. The scale of this underground conflict is uncertain. The story itself is very thin, and it lacks focus; again due to lack of time. There’s really just space here to focus on one thing, the conflict, or David’s relationship with Milly, and trying to do both leaves the film unsatisfying. Also, Samuel L Jackson’s character, the Paladin Roland is a very underwritten, generic bad guy with even badder hair dye. The most annoying thing for me however is the lack of consistency behind the rules of Jumping. When the film begins, it seems that David can only jump to places he’s been before. Halfway through the film, it seems he can jump to places he can see, even if it’s just in photos. By the end of the film, it seems there are no rules left. And don’t get me started on how the Paladins can even chase these Jumpers to begin with.

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    Jumper is really just half a movie, and it never meets its promise. But there is something there that holds the attention for its brief runtime. It’s a fun, fast-paced action movie, which is entertaining enough if you switch your brain off. But it is a thin experience. Thankfully it’s easier to not think for an 88 minute movie, than anything longer.

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