Saturday, February 23, 2008

Movie: Jumper

I finally got to the theater this week to see Jumper. I had high hopes, given its interesting premise. Unfortunately, it really wasn't good. I read a review that said the movie was outshone by its own trailer, and this might be true -- the trailer was for a movie much more interesting than the one I saw. The acting wasn't great, the script wasn't great. But they did some phenomenal location work, and I liked the special effects (even when they were used in plot-inconsistent ways). It managed to be reasonably entertaining, despite the badness; if you're planning on seeing it, I would advise that the less you think about what's happening, the happier you'll be.

The movie commits the cardinal sin of fantasy/sci fi: they break their own rules. One of the advantages of sci-fi is that you can define your own universe. Anti-gravity fields? Fine. Faster-than-light travel? Fine. Alien creatures? Fine. Kids who teleport? Fine. We the audience will buy into whatever world you create. But there's a trade-off for the freedom sci-fi gives you: once you define the rules of your universe, you have to follow them. You build a world, then treat it as real. Changing the way your world works to suit the plot is cheating, and audiences notice. The rules in Jumper change a few times; they change the world around the needs of the plot, rather than making the plot fit the world. And there's really no excuse for this; they could've defined the world differently to start with....

I'm curious to read the book, to see what the movie could've been if done well. I just put it on hold at the library; it should be here in a month or so, enough time for the movie to have faded in my memory a bit. If it rocks, I'll let you know.

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