Space Jam

When aliens invade earth, the Looney Tunes must beat them at basketball or face enslavement. They kidnap baseball player Michael Jordan to help them out.

It’s a testament to this 1997 film’s relentless marketing that it’s permanently branded onto my cerebral cortex in spite of my never having seen it. So it’s perhaps not surprising that it feels back-engineered from its poster, Junior style. Get the world’s biggest sports star and combine him with some of the world’s most insistently present cartoon characters and you have a guaranteed recipe for success, right?

Well what you actually get is a slow and inevitable set up with limited pay off, failing to capitalise on either the expected sports movie tropes or wacky cartoon antics. Very little time is spent working out how to turn the ragtag band of misfits into a functioning team – missing opportunities for character-based laughs along the way. 

Most of the Looney Tunes feature in little more than walk-on appearances as the likes of Freddo, Sylvester the Tweety, the Obnoxious Pig, Looney the Dog and Donald Duck are given nothing remotely funny or memorable to do. The one good joke in the whole thing is a sly dig at Disney which only the parents will get.

As Dan mentioned we recently watched some vintage Tom and Jerry and in comparison to that beautiful work of hand-drawn art, the empty 90s computer animation is just hideous. Admittedly it’s not helped by the generally low quality of Looney Tunes, whose creators seem to have confused speech impediments with personality. They are two dimensional in every sense. It also has a pointless appearance from a bored-looking Bill Murray and the dated sexual politics of a sexy lady bunny for Bugs to leer at.

Acting with a load of invisible co-stars is challenging for the most accomplished actor, which Jordan clearly isn’t. It’s ironic that one of the most talented actors currently working has to have a B in his name because of this guy. And since it hardly makes the most of his basketball playing skill either we’re left wondering whether he’s going to start dribbling from his mouth. The resulting mess is now the preserve of 90s nostalgia, a dull traffic jam of a movie which has taken up far too much space in my brain.


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