I’ve been seeing previews for the movie Jumper and I decided I wanted to see it. With Samuel L. Jackson and Rachel Bilson in it, how bad could it be? Then, at the grocery store (where I seem to live lately), I saw the book the movie is based on and I bought it. Usually, if I read a book, I won’t see the movie and vice versa. Don’t ask me why I broke the rule this time. Well, I didn’t actually break the rule because I haven’t seen the movie. And after reading Dawg’s review, I don’t plan on it.
The book is good. It’s a very good story. It’s compelling; it’s interesting; it’s heartbreaking. It was published in 1992, so I guess it was rereleased because of the movie. Great for me, because this was one I missed 15 years ago.
The main character, David Rice, discovers that he can “jump” from one place to another place. It happened accidentally (under duress) the first two times. He discovers he can only jump to a place he has been previously, so his choices are somewhat limited. He runs away from an abusive father and goes to New York City. Since he can’t find his birth certificate (and doesn’t think to request a copy of it) he can’t get a social security number and he can’t get a job. So he robs a bank by jumping into the vault and jumping back to his room in NY. How cool is that?
According to Dawg‘s scathing review, it just goes downhill from there. The producers invented Paladins who hunt jumpers (in the book, David is unique in his ability) and he meets other jumpers (see that unique thing) and he sleeps around with women in different time zones. In the book, he’s a lonely, smart kid who was in a bad situation. He meets a girl (I guess this would be Rachel Bilson’s character, but in the movie she’s his ex. See how dumb this is? Who would dump Rachel Bilson??) and falls in love. All he wants is to be with her.
His mother left his abusive father when he was twelve (five in the movie) and he wants to find her. And he eventually does find her – but in the movie it turns out she’s a Paladin. What the fuck? In the book, she wants to reunite with David and she does … but is killed shortly thereafter. That’s when David goes after her killers … is discovered by a federal agent (which I thought would be the Jackson character, but I guess this is another part that cut completely) … does a LOT of good for the world with his ability … wants to be left alone … rescues his love from the feds, who kidnap her to make him turn himself in … and finally makes a deal with the feds. If they stop fucking with him, he’ll help them out occasionally. And he lives happily ever after with his girlfriend.
Now that’s a good story and would be a great movie. Hollywood screwed it up once again. John Grisham once said something to the effect that he wrote his books, the stories were his and no one could take that away from him. So if Hollywood bought his story, it was theirs and they could screw with it however they wanted and he didn’t care. That’s a good way to look at it.
But I can’t help but think that somewhere out there, novelist Steven Gould winced as a little piece of his soul was murdered by Twentieth Century Fox.