Archive: Space Jam (1996) A Review

Mixing of animation and Real World actors rarely work well, and while film isn’t exactly the greatest, Michael Jordan is no actor, it does have a lot of childhood nostalgia.

Certificate:  U

Director: Joe Pytka

Screenwriter: Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick

Starring: Michael Jordan, Wayne Knight, Theresa Randle

Genre: Animation, Comedy

Runtime: 88 Minutes

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

No one can say with a straight face that this film is a technical marvel or that it is well acted or well scripted.  OK, so it has a lot going against it.  But what you can say is that it has a whole army of nineties ids behind it that loved it with a passion when it came out.  I think this is the first film I can ever remember seeing in the cinema.  And I enjoyed it just as much now that I am 30, as I did when I was 7.

In order to avoid a lifetime of slavery at the hands of an alien race, the Looney Toons challenge them to a basketball game.  But seeing as none of them have ever played Basketball before, they coax nineties basketball superstar Michael Jordan into helping them win the game.

There were far too many Basketball players in this film that thought they would try their hands at acting as opposed to actual actors.  And those actors that were there were seriously under played.  Like C’mon BILL MURRAY! He could have been given a far better role, he would have been a massive draw for the film.  Instead he has maybe ten minutes of screen time, but those are ten golden minutes, so I guess it could have been worse.  But it is the casts general lack of acting talent that makes the film a challenge, but at the time, maybe the big basketball faces were a draw?  Being neither a basketball fan, or American, where the sport is widely adored, I can’t comment on this.

The way the Looney Toons are incorporated into the story is clever, and they manage to do it while not losing anything from their characters.  I am a big fan of the looney toons and enjoyed immensely ‘star spotting’ a lot of my favourite characters not only on the team, but also in the stands, and it was brilliantly done, not only with the biggest and most famous of the toons, but with smaller, more niche characters.

Kids of this generation may not find a lot to love in this film, unless they are finely attuned to the awesomeness of nineties kids films, but for people who grew up around that time, this will be a great nostalgia kick for you, and at it’s really short run time of just under an hour and a half, you really have nothing to lose.

Space Jam is available to stream on Netflix now.


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