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JUMPER – John Powell

February 15, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Jumper is an enjoyably dumb action adventure movie about people who can teleport anywhere they wish, and the people who wish to stop them. Star Wars’s Hayden Christensen stars as David Rice, a young man who discovers that, through a genetic anomaly, he can teleport himself anywhere, at any time. After severl years of enjoying the carefree existence, he comes in contact with a fellow jumper named Griffin (Jamie Bell), who tells him that there have been jumpers through time, and that a war has been raging between these people, and a group of people dedicated to exterminating them – one of whom is the ruthless Roland (Samuel L. Jackson). The film was directed by Doug Liman, the director of the original Bourne Identity, and as such brought his regular composer, John Powell, on board with him.

By Powell’s high standards, Jumper is fairly nondescript score, but Powell’s nondescript action-thriller scores tend to be better than most other people’s, so there is still a fair bit to enjoy. The main theme, as heard in the opening cue “My Day So Far”, is actually pretty cool, with a syncopated piano line and a jazzy brass melody augmented by all manner of creative synth programming; unfortunately, Powell doesn’t revisit the theme until the final cue, “Jump Off”, which is real wasted opportunity – the theme is constructed well enough that it could form the basis of the action music, and I really don’t know why Powell chose not to do this.

Instead, the rest of the score is made up of suspense and action music; much of it actually sounds like a slightly more exotic version of his Bourne scores; the cleverly-layered electronic loops and high energy forward-momentum rhythms, augmented by orchestral touches here and there, plus the occasional flurry of a guitar or a wailing voice. What helps Jumper is the inclusion of a fair bit of ethnicity, and some interesting touches in orchestration, whether it’s the use of a cimbalom in “Bridges, Rules, Banking”, a rock edge in “Surf’s Up”, or flittering pizzicato strings in “David Comes Clean”. The action music is generally tight, and edgy, but exciting, especially the excellent “Coliseum Fight”, “Roland at the Lair”, “Jumper vs. Jumper” and the buoyant, undulating “The Sacrifice”. The lighter, softer moments such as “Coliseum Tour” nicely counterbalance the score nicely. Jumper is certainly not one of Powell’s best scores – it’s not even his best score of 2008 – but it still is worth checking out, especially for Bourne fans.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • My Day So Far (1:03)
  • Splash (1:31)
  • First Jumps (1:37)
  • Bridges, Rules, Banking (3:25)
  • Surf’s Up (1:12)
  • 1000 Volts (3:48)
  • Roland Snoops (1:43)
  • You Hear Me Laughing (1:01)
  • Coliseum Tour (1:47)
  • Coliseum Fight (2:25)
  • Echo of Mom (0:50)
  • Airport Departure (1:58)
  • In Hospital (0:56)
  • It’s Sayonara (0:57)
  • Race to Millie (1:25)
  • David Comes Clean (3:24)
  • Roland at the Lair (4:55)
  • Jumper vs Jumper (2:18)
  • The Sacrifice (4:45)
  • A Head Start (1:43)
  • Jump Off (1:36)

Running Time: 44 minutes 19 seconds

Lakeshore Records LKS-33987 (2008)

Music composed by John Powell. Conducted by Brett Weymark. Orchestrations by James K. Lee and Jessica Wells. Recorded and mixed by Shawn Murphy. Edited by Thomas Carlson. Album produced by John Powell.

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