Saturday, March 01, 2008

Jumper (2008)

The newspaper ads I saw for Jumper promoted it as a cross between The Matrix and the Bourne movies. You probably already know that I adore The Matrix. I saw the first Bourne movie and it was good. So, Jumper caught my attention, but I didn't really know any more about it except that it starred Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker, Star Wars Episodes 2 & 3).

Fast forward to today when my good friend and I planned to see a movie. Unlike our usual movie plans, we didn't have a specific movie to see; we just wanted to see a Good Movie. She suggested Juno or Vantage Point, or perhaps Definitely Maybe. None of those really felt like "the" movie for today, however, and the showtimes were less than convenient. If Fool's Gold had gotten better reviews, we would have seen that, I am sure. But it didn't. So we didn't.

So, we ended up seeing Jumper mainly because of the tagline I had read and the appropriate time it was being shown. We invited our teenage sons (ages 13 and 15) to join us as it was rated PG-13 and we thought it would appeal to them. None of the four of us had any idea of the plot beyond the vague idea that it was about time travel.

Turns out that David Rice is a 'jumper' - someone who can teleport himself to any location. It's not time travel really - since the traveling is all done in the present, but instantly. David realizes he has this gift at age 15 when he is drowning in an ice-covered river and teleports himself to safety. He spends a few years learning how to use his ability to see the world and to rob banks. Eventually he finds out he isn't the only jumper in the world, and also he learns that there are those who make it their sole concern to track down jumpers and eliminate them.

Lots of action, amazing special effects, and a creative story are the things this movie has to offer. Unexplained plot elements and moral relativism detract from the overall effect, though. Quite a few parts of the story were unexplained or led nowhere. This was mildly frustrating, especially in the storyline relating to David's mother. One scene led me to believe that David would learn to use his 'gift' for good - you know, "with great power, comes great responsibility." But, no. Nothing along those lines.

The acting is nothing special really, with a few notable exceptions. David is first played as a teen by Max Thieriot, who we all recognized from The Pacifier, and he was wonderful. His friend Millie is played as a teen by Annasophia Robb, who has many movie credits, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Bridge to Terabithia. Robb is a exceptional actress, but under-utilized in this film. Also enjoyable was Michael Rooker as David's father; although his role was small, he portrayed a wide range of emotions from anger to misery.

Hayden Christensen is a handsome lead actor and Rachel Bilson is lovely as his leading lady, Millie Harris. Christensen is adept in the action scenes and adequate in every way. Merely adequate. Lots of closeups of both actors leave the viewer in no doubt of their good looks and beautiful eyes. However, neither seems quite comfortable in the leading roles and sparks don't fly between them as adults. (The teenage characters are much more believable and I wish we had seen more of them.)

The movie is rated PG-13 for "sequences of intense action violence, some language and brief sexuality." An overwhelming amount of violence is present in the movie. The main jumper hunter, played by Samuel L. Jackson, frequently and threateningly brandishes a very large knife. More violence includes lots of crashing vehicles, repeated electrical shocks, fires, demolished buildings and at least three murders, as well as several fist fights. A short love scene does include a passionate kiss, a woman in her lingerie, and the characters lying briefly together in bed. (David closed his eyes for that short scene.)

The hour and a half we spent watching this movie did fly by and I was interested in the story and what happened to the characters. I didn't have high expectations and it was an enjoyable outing. If your goal is similar, you may enjoy this film. I wouldn't take young children and I plan to discuss the film with David at length.

However, it definitely wasn't The Matrix. Review


February Reads

Nine books in February. Not too shabby!

I am not going to read fiction in March, other than finishing the book I am currently reading. (I have a couple other library books I borrowed before I decided to declare a March Moratorium on fiction. If I get weak, I may read one or two. lol ) I am going to focus on writing again this month.

The exception to the fiction ban will be Pride & Prejudice. I am going to listen to the audiobook in the car to/from work, as well as read the annotated edition.

I also have plenty of non-fiction to read if there is time. :-)

So what have YOU read lately?

by Lisa Gardner - 02/02/08
Good - Suspense
Annabelle's father moved her family around randomly and often during her childhood. Now he's dead and she wants to know the reason for the moves. Cop Bobby Dodge helps her get to the bottom of it.
My mom recommended this. It was a twist-y turn-y suspenseful book. I liked it enough to go find the previous book in the series right away. (See below.)

Brothers by Angela Elwell Hunt - 02/04/08
Good - Inspirational
Joseph's brothers come to Egypt to buy grain.
I had read the first book in this series last year and finally obtained number 2. I liked it, but the first one was better. Haven't gotten #3 yet.

The Well-fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less by Peter Bowerman - 02/08/08
Good - Non-fiction
Step-by-step blueprint for building a profitable freelance commercial writing business
Motivational and practical. When reading it, I believed I could become a freelance commercial writer. I am going to find his second book and read that too, and then try it.

Austenland by Shannon Hale - 02/10/08
Excellent - Chick Lit
Jane is obsessed with Mr. Darcy as portrayed by Colin Firth in the BBC Pride & Prejudice to the extent that it interferes with her real life. Then she gets the chance to vacation in Austenland.
Recommended by my sister Christy. I LOVED this book. Probably has nothing at all to do with the fact that I also could be considered just slightly obsessed with P&P and Mr. Darcy (as portrayed by the aforementioned actor). Nothing at all. lol

Alone by Lisa Gardner - 02/12/08
Good - Suspense
State trooper Bobby Dodge kills a man on duty and then fears he was set up.
The book that comes before Hide. It was interesting to read it from the perspective of already knowing what happens in the second book.

Beauty: A retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley - 02/23/08
Good - Young Adult
Beauty comes to live in an enchanted castle and befriends a horrible Beast.
Until about halfway through this book, I was bored. Once the romance between Beauty and the Beast was underway, I got more interested. Emily is going to read this, as it's a young adult novel.

Let's Meet on Platform 8 by Carole Matthews - 02/23/08
Good - Chick Lit
Jamie Duncan crashes into Teri Carter on the railway platform and they begin a friendship that could be more, except she finds out he is married.
Picked this up at a rummage sale as I had read another book by Carole Matthews a while back. This is of the risque Chick Lit genre, but ended up with a good moral. I enjoyed the characters.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: a novel in cartoons by Jeff Kinney - 02/24/08
Good - Young Adult
Greg is a middle school student who chronicles his 'wimpy kid' days at school and at home in a journal with both writings and cartoons
I saw a review of this book in the newspaper. Sounded interesting. Then I saw it at the library and pointed it out to David. "Hey look, David. A novel in cartoons!" He condescended to glance at it and then place it back on the shelf whereupon I grabbed it up and stuck it on my stack of books to borrow. On returning home, I began reading it aloud. (It's a regular novel written in a diary format interspersed with cartoons supposedly drawn by the kid narrating the book.) After I read two pages aloud, David snatched the book from me and read the whole thing that afternoon. He read it again on a subsequent day. After he read it twice, I decided I probably ought to see what it was about. Not great literature, that's for sure, but it has an engaging storyline and realistic middle school kids, as well as some funny drawings. Enough for David!

Love's Haven by Catherine Palmer - 02/27/08
Fair - Inspirational
Pregnant young widow Mara marries the best friend of her deceased husband in order to provide for her baby.
I wanted to read a Harlequin Steeple Hill Love Inspired Christian romance novel since that's what I am aiming to write next. This was what the library had. Not too impressed. I think I can write better. I guess we'll see! lol

So go READ something already!