by DeAnn Welker June 16, 2008 2:35 pm
Jumper Jumper as a film has some flaws (how the Jamie Bell character was handled being the biggest one), but it's a fun little sci-fi romp that's short enough that you sort of forgive it most of its problems. Okay, maybe critics didn't forgive it, but I do. There's something to be said for a movie that's not too long.

Anyway, the film could've been executed a hell of a lot better, but the concept was cool and there are worse ways you could spend a half-hour than looking at Hayden Christensen, Bell, and Rachel Bilson.

Now the movie's on DVD and Blu-ray. There's a bare-bones single-disc DVD out there, but if you have any interest in special features stick to the double-disc set or the Blu-ray. There are a number of cool features, some quite a bit better than the movie:

Audio commentary: Director Doug Liman, writer/producer Simon Kinberg and producer Lucas Foster spend the duration of the movie having a lively conversation that mostly lets fans in on their decision-making process and the technical details of making the film. It's interesting, but these are usually more fun for fans if there's at least one actor involved, so it was a little disappointing. The biggest surprise was how much thought was put into the details in this movie, which on its own seemed like such a shallow little action flick.

Jumpstart: David's Story animated graphic novel: This eight-minute backstory for David, the main character, is enlightening and fun. It doesn't have Christensen's overwrought narration, but some of the ridiculously old-school, cartoonish narration might be worse. It's a terrific addition to the tale of David as a jumper, although it does beg the question: If the movie wasn't compelling enough to make us care about this guy, we probably don't care that much about his backstory. To be honest, the backstory that Bell's character Griffin could've provided probably would have been more interesting.

Short featurettes: Three short featurettes (each about 10 minutes long) go into the making of the film. Jumping Around the World details the many locations this movie was shot (and for an hour-and-a-half hour film, there were many). If you watch this one on Blu-ray, like I did, you can use either an interactive map to jump from location to location, or opt for an HD DVD-style picture-in-picture experience that you get as you watch the movie, commentary style. It's very cool that way, but I'm not sure how it's presented on the standard DVD.

Another featurette, Making an Actor Jump, explains what kind of effects they used to make the jumping look real. Director Liman explains that he didn't want to make an effects movie, so his goal was to make it look like they'd hired an actor who could teleport. The way they achieved this is sort of surprising and cool. I'm not smart enough to explain it to you, but I promise the folks on this featurette will make it at least a little clearer. It involves use of live actors, stunt doubles, a dash of CGI, and some crazy editing to make it look seamless in the movie (which, I should mention, is one thing I can't fault the film with; the jumps look awesome).

Jumping from Novel to Film: The Past, Present and Future of Jumper is about the novel the movie was adapted from. I honestly didn't know it was based on anything until watching this doc, so this was kind of fascinating. It didn't make me want to read the novels, and it repeats a lot of stuff from the commentary (that this is a new kind of superhero movie, etc. etc.). But hearing from Steven Gould, who wrote the novel on which the movie's based, makes this featurette worth viewing. He even explains how the story's somewhat autobiographical. I hope I'm not spoiling anything by adding that, no, Gould isn't a jumper. But his dad is a (recovering) alcoholic just like David's.

Doug Liman's Jumper Uncensored: This longer documentary, with a written intro, explores the long, contentious making of this movie. It's really more of a Project Greenlight-typed look at the way the movie was made; it seems to be much more about the director's process than about anything else. It's also a more insider-y look than DVDs usually offer, so the "Uncensored" part of the title sort of makes sense. I'll admit, I was skeptical, but seriously, there are parts of this where you'll feel like you really shouldn't be allowed to watch what you're watching. Liman has a unique directing style, as Samuel L. Jackson explains. I gather that "unique" is code for "bat-shit crazy," judging by this doc. Jamie Bell calls it '"annoying," but he looks like he's having fun even while he's saying that (plus, he's the only guy from the original cast who stuck around, so he must not have hated it too much). You can be the judge of Liman, and whether seeing the depths of his craziness makes you like him more or less as a director.

Previz: Future Concepts: Unless you're an action flick or video game junkie, take a pass on this. It seems to be animated versions of some of the movie's action scenes, but even as I type that I'm not entirely positive that's what it was. This might have worked better with narration instead of techno music. At least then those of us who didn't memorize the action sequences in the film could still follow along.

Buy It Now




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