While I Was Out: Or, the Unbearable Lightness of Watching Jumper on a Plane

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I’m back from vacation, and apparently the Nerd World didn’t stop spinning while I was gone. They went ahead and released the 2nd and 3rd acts of Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog without me. (You can’t fault Nathan Fillion’s delivery of the line, “The hammer is my penis.” Though is there a bad way to deliver that line?) And Comic-Con happened. And they also didn’t wait to put out the Watchmen trailer. It’s a good thing Matt was here to blog about it, since I went all fanboyish when I watched it and wouldn’t have had enough critical distance to say something funny.

Thus I am left with no choice but to blog about watching Jumper on the plane home.

It’s totally bizarre that this movie isn’t better. For one it’s directed by Doug Liman, who directed Bourne, Go, and Swingers, not to mention the not-bad Mr. & Mrs. Smith. For another the premise is cool: there’s a secret subspecies (or whatever) of human beings who have the power to teleport, and a secret organization of people who want to kill them. Highlander meets Nightcrawler.

The thing that sucks about this movie isn’t hard to spot: there aren’t any characters in it, except for Griffin, the hero’s jumper-buddy who’s bitter and angry that people are trying to kill him, and the hero’s mom, played by Diane Lane, who looks like she’s been unexpectedly teleported in from another movie. Also, there aren’t any guns in it. People hit each other with tasers, flame-throwers, sharks and double-decker buses, but no bullets. If I was trying to kill Samuel L. Jackson, a bus would not be my weapon of choice.

The best treatment of teleportation I can think of is probably the transfer booths in Larry Niven’s Known Space series. He was pleasantly meticulous about keeping track of time zones, and he got all physics-y about energy and such, so that people were always overheating because they teleported from one altitude to another. If Jumpers is any guide, he should have been concerned about ‘jump scars,’ too, but what can you do, the man is only human.

In conclusion, the movie is perfectly watchable, which I can’t quite say for I Am Legend, the other movie I watched on the plane. Jumpers may not have been visually innovative, but at least it didn’t have a whole lot of crying in it. In the future, when we can all teleport and won’t have to use planes, nobody will have to watch either of these movies.

(Afterword: I was just trying to figure out why this post is completely incoherent, despite the fact that it took me an hour to write it, when I realized that I’m severely jet-lagged. So blame it on the Earth’s rotation, or whatever.)