Tuesday, 8 April 2008
Star Wars returning to the big-screen after virtually creating the sci-fi genre was always going to be difficult. The most notable obstacle in producing prequels to the most successful movie trilogy ever made was replacing Anakin Skywalker, the boy who would grow up to become Darth Vadar.
Australian actor Hayden Christensen was entrusted with the Jedi powers to bring Star Wars to a new generation, and was thrust into the world of stardom with a bump. The widespread disappointment that the new films were met with made an immediate return to Hollywood difficult for Christensen, who has waited until now to take his next starring role.
Jumper also has its roots set in science fiction, but is based in planet earth in the present day. David Rice (Christensen) is a shy teenager struggling to deal with a difficult home life after his mother leaves abruptly in his early years. He is unaware of the power that he possesses, until he is forced to use the power of his will to save his own life.
As the name of the film suggests David develops quite a leap. In fact he can ‘jump’ through time, allowing him to escape his unhappy life and create every teenagers dream a reality. He surfs in Hawaii, eats breakfast on a pyramid and admires the view from Big Ben all in one morning.
The premise is fairly weak but still exciting, even if it’s just an opportunity to flaunt some fancy special effects and see some landmarks. David makes a friend in Griffin (Jamie Bell), who is also a fellow Jumper, and an enemy in Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), whose sole purpose in life is to eliminate Jumpers.
With Roland in hot pursuit David still tries to woo the girl of his dreams, Millie (Rachel Bilson), who he’s had a crush on since high school. With all of the vital elements in place it seemed that an ‘adrenaline-fuelled-thrill-ride’ was just waiting to happen.
Unfortunately Hayden Christensen was still displaying some of the characteristics he produced in Star Wars. He appears to be bereft of charisma, sucking the life out of the screen with little signs of a personality worth putting in a major film. His acting ability isn’t bad; it just doesn’t appear to be worthy of the roles he has inherited in his short career so far.
Young Brit Jamie Bell does his best to force some intensity into their scenes whilst star of The OC, Rachel Bilson, asks questions Christensen has no answers to. Samuel L. Jackson, who was also present in the Star Wars prequels, is menacing and convincingly deluded as Paladin and bad guy, Roland.
The plot is straight forward, allowing the characters to take their place in David’s escape from Roland. As the story concludes it becomes apparent that it won’t be as satisfying as it could’ve been, instead it alludes to a sequel or even a movie franchise. Whether Hayden Christensen will continue to land leading roles in blockbuster movies is highly doubtful, after what appears to be yet another failed attempt.