Thursday, January 10, 2019

Space Jam

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I personally like Space Jelly...I'm sorry for that.

Space Jam – 4 out of 5

Space Jam is a pop culture icon that 90s kids LOVE to talk about.  In the 20 years plus since it came out (and especially in the last decade), the internet has been buzzing with rumors of a sequel to this film—and apparently it is finally happening.  However, I have a confession to make about this Looney Tunes/Michael Jordan crossover spectacular…I never actually seen it.  I was a high school student and despite the fact I grew up watching Bugs Bunny and the rest of the crew cause mayhem and hilarity, I just wasn’t interested in seeing this film.  Why?  Well, I’m not a sports guy.  I don’t understand sports, I don’t enjoy watching sports and I’m just plain not interested in sports.  So, even though it promised Michael Jordan in cartoon-based sports action, I just wasn’t compelled to see the film and, despite all the “Only 90s Kids Remember” and “Kids Today Will Never Know…” memes, I never felt a drive to take the action to witness the film in the ensuing years.  I’m not sure what drove me to finally check it out but I did and it wasn’t too shabby.

The extra weird 90s kids really liked Lola Bunny...the kind of 90s kids who
probably have very sexist opinions about female gamers.

In the deep depths of space at an intergalactic amusement part called Moron Mountain, businessman (businessalien?) Mr. Swackhammer (Danny DeVito) is looking to increase attendance and decides to capture the Looney Tunes in order to do so.  He sends his diminutive team of bug-like aliens called the Nerdlucks down to get them but Bugs Bunny (Billy West) and his friends think the aliens are no match for them and they challenge the Nerdlucks to a basketball game.  The aliens end up stealing the talents from various NBA all-stars and turn themselves into monstrous creatures called the Monstars.  Now Bugs must enlist help from one of the greatest players of all time; Michael Jordan, or risk losing and facing a life-time of servitude as a piece of entertainment for Mr. Swackhammer.

Wait, that can't be right.  All their numbers are zero.  Is this because they all lose?
Come on!  Spoiler Alert on your movie, Space Jam.

There is an undeniable charm I found in Space Jam that was, thankfully, not created out of a sense of toxic nostalgia since I didn’t see this when it originally came out in 1996.  The film has some amusing moments, does a great job of integrating the real-life and cartoon characters and proves to be a decent “comfort food” style feature that may lack greatly in substance but provides great entertainment value.  That may sound a little harsh and 90s kids who stumble upon my blog might be ready to see me burn for not pronouncing profound love for this feature but I honestly did enjoy this movie but I can’t deny that it is not a well-made movie either.  It is fun but this one has some issues.

Watching the film in 2019 while the documentary series about R. Kelly's criminal
behavior exists at the same time was an unfortunate coincidence.

One problem I saw in the film was its integration of 2D and 3D art.  The Looney Tunes characters look fantastic but when the feature inserted more integrate 3D animation, like the spaceships, things looked wonky.  A part of this is due to the time period because we weren’t at the animation level we are at now and another part is these two styles are not easy to mesh together.  So far, Futurama is one of the only products who’ve, in my opinion, done it successfully and seamlessly.  Finally, the most noticeable drawback to Space Jam is that it is not a well-crafted story.  

To quote his well-known catchphrase, "What is currently in an upward direction, Physician?"

Now, keep in mind I did find this film enjoyable but the story and plot feel very, very sloppy.   Too much time is spent on establishing the conflict and it makes the final act feel rushed.  For example, we barely spend any time on Michael Jordan training the Tunes and it makes that sequence kinda/sorta feel like a deleted scene.  Aside from the Nerdlucks stealing the NBA players talent, much of the tale is told in a very sloppy and rushed fashion so, from a story perspective, Space Jam is not a good movie.

This wasn't an influence from the Tunes but the result of a horrible on court injury.

If you are still reading and not filled with righteous 90s kid rage after I said Space Jam doesn’t have a finely tuned story, please remember that I did say it is entertaining.  I’m not the type that needs perfection to enjoy a film.  Sure, sometimes the flaws are enough to kill the entertainment value but that isn’t the case with this one.  It’s fun seeing the Looney Tunes in some wild basketball action with Michael Jordan, Bill Murray’s cameo is fun, I really enjoyed Wayne Knight in his role and there is some amusing, old-style Looney Tunes comedy and references that are amusing and enjoyable.  Do I regret waiting 22 years to see this one?  Not at all.  Am I glad I finally checked it out?  Absolutely.

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