Jumper (2008)

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence, some language and brief sexuality.
Length: 90 minutes
Grade: BCCC=C+
Budget: $85 million
Box Office: $222 million ($80 US, $142 Intl)

Written by: David Groyer, who wrote the Blade Series, Batman Begins and Dark Knitht, and Dark City and Jim Uhls, who wrote fight Club.
Directed by: Doug Liman, who directed Mr. and Mrs. Smith and all three Bourne movies.
Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Lane, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, and Michael Rooker.

A moderate social outcast teenager discovers that he can teleport himself anywhere in the world, and he leaves his unpleasant life behind for a life of adventure. He later returns to his home to woo the girl he’s always had a crush on. Unfortunately for him, there is also a group of people who don’t believe anyone but God should have such power, are they’re out to kill all the “jumpers.”

Entertainment Value: B
You know, I’ve never seen a Hayden Christensen movie that I thought was made better by him being in it, although Shattered Glass wasn’t so bad. But people apparently think he’s a good actor. This movie is really fun and it comes from a really, really good idea. Unfortunately, what could have been outstanding was only pretty good. They didn’t answer a million questions you naturally ask, and they didn’t do enough to explain who the characters were and why they were behaving as they did. It was a good 90 minute movie that could have been an outstanding 120 minute movie.

Superficial Content: C
Drugs/Alcohol B, Sexuality B, Violence C, Language C, Illegality CPeople drink beer a few times, the language is precisely PG-13, there is one sex scene with no nudity, plenty of action sequences involving fighting and destruction of property, a stabbing, and bank robbing is a central plot element.

Significant Content: C
There’s not a lot of significant content here, frankly. The closest you get is that the agency hunting the jumpers is called a group of religious zealots dating back to the middle ages’ fight against witches. Otherwise, honesty is sort of endorsed.

Artistic/Thought Value: C
Which really pains me because this movie had so much potential, given the concept, the writers, the director, and Samuel L. Jackson. In the end, I though many of the effects were fascinating, but too many questions arise to keep it fully enjoyable, such as why jumping sometimes damages surroundings and sometimes not, where the Paladins get their information from, and whether jumps can or cannot be made to places never seen before. Nonetheless, I seem to have liked it better than most people, frankly.

Discussion Questions:
~If you had this power, how would you use it? Do you think that if most people had this power, they would use it to break the law? Can you think of any way to use this power to make money without stealing and without revealing the power to anyone else?
~Would people with this sort of power be a menace to society? Should they be killed for merely having it or only for misusing it? Can you think of some ways in which society would have to be different if a lot of people had this ability?
~What do you think of the idea that people shouldn’t have the powers of God? Does God ever give people the ability to do special things in the Bible? What about the notion that modern science is constantly doing precisely this? Why are the Paladins willing to use God-like technology to stop people from using God-like powers?
~Is this movie trying to make any sort of political statement by calling jumping an abomination and making the Paladins a religious group?

Overall Grade: C+
Sadly, because it could have been so much more.

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