Movies are escapes, things to become lost inside of, relate to, or fantasize within. Jumper fulfills those criteria, a genuine “what if” spectacle detailing the discovery of teleportation super powers. It is something otherworldly and fantastic, yet absorbing. Even fetishistic.
Jumper is not locked to any criteria, an original work from Steven Gould’s novel, unbound from the legions of Marvel or DC heroes. David is merely a kid, a bit of a recluse with an eye for Millie (Rachel Bilson) who stumbles upon his gift as he nears tragedy. David is loosened from morals and sleeps on piles of stolen money – all of that green is a dream. He travels Earth, sits on monuments like an uncrowned king while others merely stare confused. That’s spectacle, and who wouldn’t want to go there?
But, Jumper reigns in these trappings of teenage rebellion against a father who never connected with his son. Jumpers are the hunted, and David (Hayden Christensen) is not alone in his surreal dimension hopping. There is another, Griffin (Jamie Bell), who exists as the experienced and cautious one against a rogue group of Paladins.
Paladins hate Jumpers, although their reasons are thinly delivered. Paladin’s seem to hold deep rooted, generational hatred for the god-like complex and abilities of these enigmas, tracking them down to vanquish all through electrical charges. Jumper’s roots are ingrained in comic mythology, good versus evil and society’s outcast underdogs rallying to victory. In the mythology is where Jumper is clumsily teleported to screens.
Jumper is missing reasons, things which define its fictional play space. Admirably, the David S. Goyer script searches for character, bonding David and Millie as a reasonable pair or rather more than an excuse for drama. It is there where Jumper ceases to be, glimpsing into Griffin’s past and flinching anytime Paladin leader Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) marches onto the screen. Jackson creates Roland as spiteful, even fit with jealously, but never grounds anger in any narrative element. Roland is angry because the script needs him to be, and Jackson is imposing enough to pull it off.
There are embedded societal metaphors, and Jumper is disinterested with harnessing their richness. Fox’s feature is a get in, get out film, something to throw money toward without answering its deepest questions. Those were left for a sequel. David’s parental relationship (or lack thereof) is begging to explore rejection based on uncontrolled human traits and the belief systems which persecute them. Jumper becomes so empty and superficially light, it’s a wonder if its key elements were considered outside of their curious marketable appeal.
Jumper remains fun, yet narrowed enough to challenge a wafer’s thinness. Sprinting (teleporting?) to a scribble of 80-minutes condenses and packs limited exposure time into a sight seeing thrill fest. Dizzying – and at times confusingly edited – action scenes utilize the frenzied super powers for something sharply in the moment and ultimately forgettable.
Jumper’s release on home media was in 2009 and since, technology has progressed. Converted into 3D in 2013, it is rather remarkable how little work was done to satisfy even basic elements of current video before undergoing the process. A few short years ago, Jumper’s often noisy appearance would have passed scrutiny. Layers of processing, ringing, and other mild anomalies would have been part of the show. Detrimental? Of course, although not to such a degree, and it is inexcusable for such a meandering double dip.
Fox’s AVC encode in the 2D version (sharing a single disc with the 3D edition) carries what appears to be identical parameters to the 2009 version. Qualms show up in the same time stamps. Given the length, Jumper hits the market with enough space to handle the sparse run time via a BD-50. How then chroma noise and artifacts are a bother become unanswered questions, unless of course the encode is dated technically.
Disappointing black levels keep punishing the dulled imagery, losing their density during critical story junctures inside Griffin’s hideout. Depth is unremarkable, even poor, and any big budget luster is lost. Color palettes shift to digital blue and orange with limited space in between. Shove in some natural focal softness and Jumper has aged poorly with the exception of hardened close-ups.
But, for all of these grievances, most would pass blind tests. Casual viewers would wonder what the crying was about, until aspect ratio comes into play. Originally a 2:35:1 feature, Fox has cropped the film to 1.77:1 for both 2D and 3D versions alike. Not only is the crop handled poorly, turning fight scenes into visually botched splashes of images sans composition, it further makes Jumper into a relic of time. If you thought we were past the era of cropping and left it behind with DVD full screen editions, join DoBlu in mourning the return.
Almost as if on cue, the 3D errors begin filtering in, as if the disc was not weary enough. At 1:38 during a long shot of the school, a tree is incorrectly assigned depth which bows out the overhead walkway in the rear of the frame. When visiting the Roman coliseum at 37:54, portions of the landmark are untouched between fence grates. The fence becomes a solid object while depth adds to the scenery above its created horizon line.
Jumper otherwise manages inconsistently spaced 3D, at times rendered deep such as those shots on school campus or offering almost nothing at all when viewing exteriors of Millie’s apartment. Cinematography steers away from typical design, with zero flash or composition meant for 3D. Jumper’s scope is intentionally darkened, so those murky moments inside Griffin’s space barely qualify for the format. This was an outside choice for conversion in the first place, and it would seem to have been done on the quick with minimal consideration for the source.
Audio punctuates teleports, a subtle jarring of the LFE varying in intensity depending on the needs of the scene. Jumper is reserved in terms of low-end impact, never crunching down to rumble a home theater. Consider it more of an addition to accentuate events. Scale fails to match visual and sonic materials.
Dizzying positioning will be the disc’s savior, Jumpers popping from one channel to the next. Splitting stereos and surrounds alike, application is superior and matches visual cues. A sequence of reckless driving is wonderfully tense, cars zipping by with near misses. Late, the Jumper/Paladin fight stretches into a warzone with gunfire in each channel, and tank rounds searching for targets. Despite subdued elements, this DTS-HD mix properly aligns itself to aid in storytelling.
Nothing for extras. Not a single thing. Despite space left on the disc (around 12GB), things such as a commentary, pop-up feature, and making of are removed entirely from the first Blu-ray. Fox fails to offer a single trailer as well.
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