HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Space Jam 20th Anniversary Steelbook
HTS Overall Score:68
Ahh, “Space Jam”. That brings back memories. I was a teenager when it came out 20 years ago, but I still remember watching it on VHS back when it hit home video at a friend’s birthday party. I was bored, I didn’t want to be there since it wasn’t a friend I hung out with very often, and this was playing in the background so what not. It was a bizarre film back in 1996, and it still is a bizarre film today. That still doesn’t make it less fun, but it is a very nostalgic fun to say the least. As a teenager it was an oddity, but I gained an affinity for the goofy little half animated, half live action film in my early 20s. I even bought the special edition 2 disc DVD when it came out. As time goes on I have become less forgiving of “Space Jam” and its oddities, especially considering the fact that it plays out as a giant fanfare to Michael Jordon more than actually being a quality film.
Right around 96 Michael Jordan has dropped out of basketball and picked up pro baseball as his next career movie and it was kind of a big thing. He was all over sports news and people were watching his mediocre baseball career with much criticism. “Space Jam” capitalized on that big hullabaloo and decided to make a movie about Michael Jordan and blend it in with the Looney Toons. Can’t go wrong, right? Popular cartoons and one of the biggest sports stars of all time? Well, things most certainly did go wrong, and go wrong quickly. That’s not to say there isn’t some fun aspects to the film. In fact there are quite a few moments where I was chuckling along quite pleasantly (although most of those moments are AT the people who created them in an “I can’t believe you guys did this” type of hilarity).
The Looney Toons are under attack from a race of intergalactic aliens. These aliens, headed by the evil Swackhammer (Danny DeVito) are here because they want to steal the looney toons for use in Swackhammers giant theme park, Moron Mountain. Things are getting a little dull at Moron Mountain and Swackhammer dreams up the idea to bring in fresh blood. Well, the Looney Toons aren’t going down without a fight so they whip up a “duel”, so to speak. Play a basketball game against the toons and the winner gets what they want. If the aliens win, the Toons have to come and perform at Moron Mountain, but if the Toons win, the aliens have to skedaddle right back to where they came from. Easy enough since the alien race are a bunch of pipsqueaks.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=84426[/img]Well, this easy basketball game may not be as easy as it seems at first glance. Stealing the basketball power of 5 of the greatest NBA players alive, the aliens stack the deck, leaving the poor Looney Toons characters with a sick feeling in the pit of their stomach. Well, that means the Toons have to fight back by bringing in one of the greatest players to have ever played the sport. Michael Jordan. Jordan isn’t exactly enthused (or shocked) to be transported from the human world into a Looney Toons basketball game, and agrees to help them save their home turf in a winner take all game.
“Space Jam” is a bizarre movie from beginning to end. I’m not sure who OK’d this one, but films where animated characters and live action world blend together have usually not fared well. There have been a few films that got away with the concept, but by in large these ventures are usually doomed to failure. What could have been at least a decently entertaining flick turns out to be a bit more lackluster thanks to the brilliant decision to basically make this a Michael Jordan commercial. Every aspect and facet of the film revolves around cheering Michael on and pumping him up. After a while you realize that the film itself is a cheerleader in a Bulls game! This might have been palatable if Jordan could actually act. Something which he is devoid of in all forms, and really just hampers the movie even further.
Rated PG for some mild cartoon language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=84434[/img]The 1.78:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray is satisfactory as an older catalog title can get without a new master. Colors are warm and fairly vibrant, especially when Michael gets into the Toon world and we get to see the garish colors of the aliens and the animated world. Fine detail is acceptable, although the image does look slightly soft except in close ups. Usually something done to blue the CGI used to incorporate the real world into the animated kingdom. Skin tones are pleasant to look at and appear to be well balanced with the solid contrast levels. Black levels aren’t stretched too much as most of the picture is in well-lit areas. There’s a flicker of banding in some of those darker spots, but other than that the picture is pretty much artifact free.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=84442[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix is a very active mix, with a nice bassy feel to it. The roar of the crowd during the basketball game is deafening, with a nice complement of surround activity to boot. Dialog is always strong and clear in the center channel, with the heavy weight of powerful LFE on the low end creating a nice ambiance. The stomping feet of the Mon-Stars carry immense power, as does the musical score which has a goodly amount of bass to keep things pounding. Surround activity is a bit lighter than I would have liked, but it is used in great amounts during the actual game itself. It’s a solid mix that feels like it’s been cooked a bit hot on purpose. Something which surprised me for an old 90s release, but still a pleasant surprise being the bass head that I am.
• Audio Commentary from director Joe Pytka, Bugs Bunny (voiced by Billy West) and Daffy Duck (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker)
• Jammin with Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan
• Music videos including Seal's "Fly Like an Eagle" and Monstars' anthem "Hit 'Em High
• Theatrical Trailer
“Space Jam” is an odd film. It’s in no way a good film, but there’s some goofy, nostalgic charm to the flick that still gives me a chuckle even today. Maybe it’s the shameless plugging of Michael Jordona, or the inclusion of Wayne Knight and Bill Murray. But whatever it is the film somehow still gets a repeat viewing every now and again from yours truly. “Space Jam” was originally released on Blu-ray back in October of 2011, and skips about 5 more years for this special edition steelbook. If you already HAVE the film on Blu-ray I would hesitate to pick it up unless you are a steelbook packaging fan, as the disc is the exact same one as the disc released 5 years ago. This time it’s housed in a fancy steelbook packaging and the DVD is included with a digital code. However, if you haven’t gotten around to picking the movie up by now, then this is definitely the definitive edition. Recommended for a nostalgic rental.
Starring: Michael Jordan, Wayne Knight, Theresa Randall
Directed by: Joe Pytka
Written by: Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish DD 2.0
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 93 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: November 15th 2016
Buy Space Jam 20th Anniversary Steelbook On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Nostalgic Rental
More about Mike