Space Jam Blu-ray review

When Michael Jordan joined forces with Bugs Bunny, Space Jam happened. And it's now 20 years old...

Reviewers be damned, right? I missed Space Jam first time around, a little put off by the dismissive write-ups the film was getting. It stuck on my always-meant-to-get-round-to-that list instead, as my cinema-going shekels went off in the direction of other films. As it’s turned out, it’s taken me 20 years – and more specifically, the 20 year anniversary Blu-ray – for me to get to it. As such, it’s worth noting I can’t share that this is a film special to my children. I know many people who cite Space Jam as one such movie, but as with something like Hook, I don’t have an emotional attachment to the film. Instead, I stuck it on for the first time, and showed my kids the movie at the same time I watched it. My eldest – 12, and clearly after my job – soon enquired if this came out of the same time as Toy Story, noting perhaps that the animation – whilst impressive – was being challenged heavily by Pixar. But still: I found more to enjoy in Space Jam than I’d been led to believe. The basic premise is that Michael Jordan, and a bunch of American basketball players that I’d not heard of then and haven’t heard of now, end up playing a game against a bunch of Looney Tunes characters. The reason for this isn’t important, nor is the methodology by which Bill Murray is shoehorned in for what amounts to an extended cameo. Instead, there’s a joy and a half in watching Looney Tunes characters in a feature film, wreaking their particular brand of mayhem. In this instance, they’re very polished-looking Looney Tunes characters, but fundamentally, director Joe Pytka and his team knbow what we’re after and set about delivering it. Explosions, people whacking each other in the mush, Daffy Duck in full-on snide moment, and universal comedy that simply doesn’t date. I also warmed to the hybrid of animation and live action. I liked that it wasn’t quite as slick and gleaming as it would be today, but that it was clearly pushing against walls at the time. And whilst it’s the pure animated stuff where the film’s finest moments lie, I simply enjoyed watching this one. It also gets bonus points for being done and dusted within 80 minutes, a testament to its very slight plot, and its very long finale basketball game. Bumpy? Sure. But fun? Yep. A sofa full of my offspring would tell you the same thing. Exploring the disc, the highlight is Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and director Pytka on commentary track duties. There’s a fluff featurette too, and – if your eyes haven’t been assaulted enough – you can put yourself through the video to Seal’s Fly like An Eagle. It’s hardly an essential package, but a better mix than we tend to get for non-Disney animated movies at the moment. Good fun, this one. A decent disc, a fun film, and a 20th birthday worth saluting. If we could get some more big screen Looney Tunes outings as well, that’d be very welcome.


4 out of 5