A Look Back with Oscar: ‘Space Jam’

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Derrick Coleman

“A Look Back With Oscar” is a film column dedicated to reviewing popular movies from years ago and deciding whether those movies still hold up to today’s standards.

Oscar Torres, Staff Writer

“Space Jam” is a movie that, even with its flaws, is still considered a great film and easily enjoyable for the family and older adults who grew up watching it.

The purpose of this column is to go back to films from the 70’s to the early 2000’s, mainly the most popular films in those eras, and see if they still hold up today.

With the sequel to the 90’s cult classic “Space Jam” coming out in Summer 2021, a great way to get ready for it is by watching the first “Space Jam” to see if it is still as good as many remember it to be.

“Space Jam” is a 1996 live action/animation hybrid sports comedy movie starring Michael Jordan playing as himself along with many of the Looney Tunes cast with Billy West voicing Bugs Bunny and Dee Bradley Baker voicing Daffy Duck.

The concept of “Space Jam” began as a television commercial with Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny facing off in a basketball game as part of a “Hare Jordans” Nike commercial. In fact, the commercial was such a great concept that Michael’s agent decided to make the commercial into a movie.

The plot of the film is pretty self-explanatory as an amusement park owner wants to take the Looney Tunes as prisoners as part of a new attraction. With no hope of beating these aliens who have stolen the talent of five popular NBA players, the Tunes decided to recruit Michael Jordan to play with and train them to be good at basketball and beat the aliens in a basketball game.

The overall plot is pretty self standard and albeit goofy but back in the 1990’s it was passable, though if it was being played in today’s world then people wouldn’t necessarily like the plot and think of it as unoriginal.

However, the animation is another story with it having fluent 2D animation in the Looney Tunes world and 2D CGI animation updating its style that was previously used in Looney Tunes cartoons.

The animations have made an incredible leap in technology that was previously used in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, another movie that uses CGI and 2D animation for its cartoon characters.

It’s refreshing to see 2D animation again for so long after many years of seeing CGI films. Having to sit back and watch 2D is still the peak of animation.

Though the main thing that people today would talk about the film now is the addition of Looney Tunes as many children, teens or adults would always recognize Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, the two “Mascots” of Warner Brothers.

The voice acting is great with some of the old voice actors for Looney Tunes characters coming back to reprise their roles and some new ones taking the helm from previous voice actors like Billy West and Dee Bradley Baker.

However, if many people would watch this film today they would see it just for the Looney Tunes characters and get bored from the live action stuff. It wouldn’t make enough money or be as successful as back then due to a lot of people today unable to see or know Looney Tunes because of streaming services availability.

Even with all that stuff, it is still considered a nice film that anyone can enjoy and a great time for sports, comedy and Looney Tunes fans alike.

This gets a three and a half out of five stars. It was great back then and it is still great today.