Space Jam (1996) – Exploring the Past

TL;DR – A blast from the past that has unfortunately lost a bit of its sheen. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is an End Credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this film.

Space Jam. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Space Jam Review

When Space Jam first came out in cinemas, I was in primary school, and I can remember that it was a film that teachers would put on when they needed a break from us but not that much more. It has been over a decade since I have seen the film, and besides the occasional look at the old website, I hadn’t thought about it much. However, then they went and made a sequel. I felt I had to give it another watch for due diligence to see just what it was that captured people all those years ago.

So to set the scene, in 1973, a young Michal Jordan (Brandon Hammond) is practising at his home well after midnight. When talking to his dad, the one thing he wants to be is a champion and play on a championship team. One montage of Jordan’s career later, and a now champion Michael Jordan (Michael Jordan) is retiring from basketball to join baseball. But on a planet in deep space, a theme park boss is Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), is trying to find a new attraction, and he decides to steal all the Looney Tunes. But instead of being captured, Bugs Bunny (Billy West) cons them into playing a basketball game for their freedom.   

Space Jam. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.
Michael Jordan is an odd presence throughout the film. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

When Space Jam first came out in cinemas, I was in primary school, and I can remember that it was a film that teachers would put on when they needed a break from us but not that much more. It has been over a decade since I have seen the film, and besides the occasional look at the old website, I hadn’t thought about it much. However, then they went and made a sequel. I felt I had to give it another watch for due diligence to see just what it was that captured people all those years ago.

So to set the scene, in 1973, a young Michal Jordan (Brandon Hammond) is practising at his home well after midnight. When talking to his dad, the one thing he wants to be is a champion and play on a championship team. One montage of Jordan’s career later, and a now champion Michael Jordan (Michael Jordan) is retiring from basketball to join baseball. But on a planet in deep space, a theme park boss is Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), is trying to find a new attraction, and he decides to steal all the Looney Tunes. But instead of being captured, Bugs Bunny (Billy West) cons them into playing a basketball game for their freedom.   

Space Jam. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.
A lot of the jokes still do land. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

If there is a weakness, it is in the acting because the film commits to having many of its cast be professional basketball players. They are fine, but the confidence is clearly not there. Which the film unfortunately highlights by putting them next to voice actors that have years of experience in the roles. You see that in how, where possible, the film has Michal do what he does best, but this leads to many cut-out shots of just him doing basketball things than engaging with the cast. It also led to the film adding Wayne Knight to the film whose character is just frustrating to the extreme. But then it added to the Bill Murray cameo, so swings and roundabouts.   

In the end, do we recommend Space Jam? As a time capsule, it is worth a look for an example both in the filmmaking and, more specifically, animation of the 1990s. However, beyond that nostalgia factor, I am not sure it offers that much these days. However, maybe being a pleasant walk down memory lane is just what we need today. If you liked Space Jam, you might also like our look at our favourite Animated Films.        

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched Space Jam?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us
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Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Space Jam
Directed by
– Joe Pytka
Written by – Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick, Timothy Harris & Herschel Weingrod
Based onLooney Tunes by Warner Bros.
Music by – James Newton Howard
Cinematography by – Michael Chapman
Edited by – Sheldon Kahn
Production/Distribution Companies – Warner Bros.
Starring
– Michael Jordan, Wayne Knight, Theresa Randle, Bill Murray, Billy West, Kath Soucie, Dee Bradley Baker, Danny DeVito, Bob Bergen, Bill Farmer, June Foray, Maurice LaMarche, Jocelyn Blue, Charity James, June Melby, Catherine Reitman, Colleen Wainwright, Dorian Harewood, Joey Camen, T. K. Carter, Darnell Suttles, Steve Kehela, Frank Welker, Brandon Hammond, Manner Washington, Eric Gordon, Penny Bae Bridges, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, Thom Barry & Anne Lockhart with Danny Ainge, Steve Kerr, Alonzo Mourning, Horace Grant, A. C. Green, Charles Oakley, Luc Longley, Cedric Ceballos, Derek Harper, Vlade Divac, Brian Shaw, Jeff Malone, Bill Wennington, Anthony Miller, Sharone Wright, Dan Castellaneta, Patricia Heaton Del Harris and Paul Westphal.
Rating – Australia: G; Canada: G; Germany: 0; New Zealand: G; United Kingdom: U; United States: PG

1 thought on “Space Jam (1996) – Exploring the Past

  1. Pingback: Space Jam: A New Legacy – Movie Review | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

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