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Granted, the movie doesn't make him seem like he's very smart, but we also see the depiction of another apparently more clever jumper, Griffin.

Now, jumping to the International Space Station doesn't do you much good when you just want some cash, but later in the movie they're trying to escape and evade a secret society hellbent on murdering them. And since they can bring (some) mass with them, why not jump to the surface of the moon? Bring a space suit or even a small airtight compartment. The ISS (previously mentioned) could really confuse things. For that matter, what prevents you from jumping to an altitude of 14,000 ft up on the other side of the planet? After you've gained some velocity, jump to the opposite side (same altitude) and you'll initially be propelled upwards and you just jump one more time as you reach the apogee. You're essentially momentum-less and can jump safely back to where ever... surely if villainous non-jumpers are following you through the first wormhole but not the latter this is going to screw them up big-time.

I'm sure others could come up with schemes even more clever than those I've listed here and I'm not asking for others to add to them. I merely give them as examples of things that might have been possible. With that in mind, was there some subtle limit to what he could do implied in the movie that I somehow just managed to miss?

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    How is having lunch on top of the great sphinx's head unimaginative? <g>
    – Force Flow
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 21:10
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    "For that matter, what prevents you from jumping to an altitude of 14,000 ft up on the other side of the planet? After you've gained some velocity, jump to the opposite side (same altitude) and you'll initially be propelled upwards and you just jump one more time as you reach the apogee." Now you're thinking with portals.
    – phantom42
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 15:57

1 Answer 1

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Yes, David's choice of locations was limited.

The movie Jumper was very loosely based on the Steven Gould novel of the same name. Assuming David had the same ability as in the novel, he was limited to jumping to places he had direct memory of. David used a collection of video recordings to help his memory, but he still needed to have visited the jump site before he could revisit it by jumping. He couldn't jump to the International Space Station because he'd never been there. The same for various random points in the atmosphere--- he needed to have been close enough to form a first-person mental image of being at that place before he could jump to it. So David could jump from one end of the couch to the other to snag the remote, but jumping to three miles above New York City would be impossible, unless he'd skydived above the city first.

Also, in the novel momentum was not conserved between jumps. So if David were falling and jumped to a new location he would arrive stationary relative to the Earth at that location. Jumping to the other side of the world or to a different latitude didn't cause problems; the excess kinetic energy just went... somewhere. In the book sequel Reflex, a character opined that David folded space to execute his jumps, but not even David is sure how it works. The followup novels Impulse and Exo play with the consequences of the momentum change to interesting effect.

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    His ability wasn't the same as it was in the book. He could jump to places based on just a picture of it. He never had to go there first. Also in the book he had to be able to lift something off the ground to jump it but not in the movie. Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 21:11
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    I want it noted that even coming up with a half-assed pressure vessel that he could teleport isn't implausible. But Kyle isn't out of order here for using the book for canon. I hadn't realized that it was originally a novel.
    – John O
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 21:26
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    Momentum isn't conserved?! Tsk, Tsk....
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 6:43
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    @MrLemon The issue of momentum is addressed in an interesting way in the last two sequels to the original novel, Impulse and Exo. Still hand-waving, but interesting.
    – Kyle Jones
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 4:13
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    Actually those are problems IF momentum is conserved. If momentum is conserved and you travel from the equator to the pole, you're suddenly moving at 1,667 mph difference in velocity. But if, when you teleport, you instantly alter your momentum so as to be "stable" to your destination, as David does, then you're cool both with respect to the Earth and with respect to the rest of the galaxy. Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 2:07

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