Space Jam is a 1996 American live-action/animated film starring Michael Jordan opposite Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes characters. It was produced by Ivan Reitman, and directed by Joe Pytka and Tony Cervone and Bruce W. Smith. The film also marked the debut appearance of Lola Bunny. This film was released to movie theatres by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment in November 15, 1996.
Other voices included Bob Bergen as Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Hubie and Bertie and Marvin the Martian, Bill Farmer as Sylvester, Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn and Dee Bradley Baker as Daffy Duck and Taz. The Looney Tunes crew did not return to movie status afterwards until 2003 in Looney Tunes: Back in Action.
Space Jam was also converted in a pinball and a video game by Acclaim Entertainment for PC-DOS, Sega Saturn and PlayStation.
Plot[edit | edit source]
|Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
In this film, aliens called the Nerdlucks arrive on earth to capture the Looney Tunes characters and take them back to Moron Mountain, an outer space theme park belonging to their boss, Mr. Swackhammer, voiced by Danny DeVito. Bugs Bunny convinces the aliens that the Looney Tunes must be allowed to defend themselves. Since the aliens are very short the Looney Tunes challenge them to a basketball game.
The aliens steal the talents of five NBA stars (Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Muggsy Bogues, Larry Johnson and Shawn Bradley) and use it to transform themselves into the tall and muscular Monstars. However, the Monstars didn't steal the talent of Michael Jordan because he retired from basketball to pursue a career in baseball and play golf (based on Jordan's real-life initial retirement from the NBA).
Bugs Bunny finds Jordan and gets him to help them in their basketball game. Playing as the Tune Squad, the Looney Tunes manage to win the game and their freedom. Swackhammer berates the Monstars for losing, but then they realize that since they're no longer smaller than him, they don't have to put up with his bullying anymore. They launch Swackhammer into space, and give back the stolen skills, becoming Nerdlucks again, they ultimately decide to stay on earth. Michael Jordan decides to return to basketball, mirroring his real-life return.
Many major and minor characters from Looney Tunes shorts make appearances in the film, and are even joined by Lola Bunny, a female rabbit that acts as Bugs' love interest.
Notable cameos include Wayne Knight (as Michael's new manager, Stan), Bill Murray (as himself, but mistaken by Swackhammer in the film for Dan Aykroyd), Jim Rome, Larry Bird and Scottie Pippen.
Critical response[edit | edit source]
Reviews of the movie were generally negative. Many critics compared it unfavorably to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a popular film in which cartoon characters and live-action humans coexisted in the same film as well. Basketball fans thought the movie to be demeaning to the sport, and to Michael Jordan himself.
Those who liked the film praised the visual effects, which were groundbreaking at the time. Roger Ebert was among the few major critics to give Space Jam an enthusiastic "thumbs up." Some of his readers theorized that Ebert did so because he works in Chicago, and therefore would be supportive of any of Michael Jordan's endeavours. Leonard Maltin also gave the film a positive review.
Despite the negative press, the film served as a high point for musical artist R. Kelly, whose song "I Believe I Can Fly" became a hit after it was featured on the film's soundtrack. Other notable musical numbers appearing in the film include a cover of Fly Like an Eagle (by Seal), Hit 'em High (Monstar's Anthem) (by B-Real, Coolio, Method Man, LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes), and For You I Will (by Monica). Template:See
Cast of Looney Tunes characters[edit | edit source]
- Bugs Bunny
- Daffy Duck
- Lola Bunny
- Porky Pig
- Elmer Fudd
- Yosemite Sam
- Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner
- Sylvester Junior
- Witch Hazel
- Rocky and Mugsy
- Foghorn Leghorn
- Barnyard Dawg
- Sam Sheepdog
- Pepé Le Pew
- Penelope Pussycat
- Beaky Buzzard
- Marc Antony and Pussyfoot
- Claude Cat
- Pete Puma
- Speedy Gonzales
- Slowpoke Rodriguez
- Hubie and Bertie
- Miss Prissy
- The Three Bears (Looney Tunes)
- The Crusher
- Playboy Penguin
- Egghead Junior
- Hippety Hopper
- Michigan J. Frog
- Mac and Tosh, the Goofy Gophers
- Marvin the Martian
- Henery Hawk
- Spike the Bulldog and Chester the Terrier
- Charlie Dog
- Giovanni Jones from Long-Haired Hare
- The Bull from Bully for Bugs
- Cecil Turtle
- The Gambling Bug
- Mr. and Mrs. Gruesome Gorilla
- The Three Little Bops
- The Dover Boys
- Inki, the mynah bird and the lion
- Little Red Riding Hood (a.k.a. Red) from Little Red Riding Rabbit
- Leprechauns from Wearing Of The Grin
- The Weasel from Weasel Stop and Plop goes the weasel
- The Scotsman from My Bunny Lies Over The Sea
- The Hillbillies from Hillbilly Hare
Selected quotes[edit | edit source]
Videos[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Daffy asks about a team called "the Ducks". Bugs replies with "What kind of Mickey Mouse organization would call a team 'The Ducks'?"- a reference to Disney's The Mighty Ducks (who are also a real team), as well as Wayne Gretzky's comments concerning the New Jersey Devils in the 1980s.
- Dan Castellaneta and Patricia Heaton make a cameo as a Wife and Husband Fans at the New York game.
- One scene references Pulp Fiction, with Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam dressed as killers and "Misirlou" in the background. This is also presumably a reference to Men In Black.
- The movie was inspired by Nike commercials featuring Michael and Bugs against Marvin and an alien. Another Nike commercial is referenced when Larry Johnson says that his grandmother can play better than him (he played his grandmother in an ad).
- When sending Bugs and Daffy to pick up his basketball gear, Michael Jordan tells them that he wore his UNC basketball shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform in every game he played. Jordan really did do this, as a good luck charm.
- Bugs and the other Looney Tunes are shown to reside in Looney Tune Land, a realm located beneath earth's surface. *Only two known portals to Looney Tune Land exist, one lying beneath a Piggly Wiggly parking lot in suburban Birmingham, Alabama (also the home of Michael Jordan's minor-league baseball team the Birmingham Barons), the other accessible from a tunnel beneath an unspecified hole on a golf course in the Birmingham metropolitan area. Each portal consists of a membranous elastomer imprinted with the Warner Bros. studio shield (anywhere from 20-50 feet in diameter). The portal can be stretched and punctured by a projectile, admitting persons or vehicles into the skies of Looney Tune Land. Basically the Looney Tune Land to the average intelligent viewer was obviously underground.
- The song that Foghorn Leghorn was singing on the basketball court (Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton...) was "Dixie" .
- Mr. Swackhammer, the antagonist of the movie, mistakes Bill Murray for Dan Aykroyd during the basketball game.
- This was the first live-action/animated film ever to be based on various classic Warner Bros. animated cartoons.
- Bugs Bunny talks to the camera only in the first half of the film, the rest with Michael Jordan.
Sequel[edit | edit source]
A sequel to Space Jam was planned as early as 1997. As development began, Space Jam 2 was going to involve a new basketball competition between the Looney Tunes and a new villain named Berserk-O!. Artist Bob Camp was tasked with designing Berserk-O! and his henchmen. Joe Pytka would have returned to direct and Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone signed on as the animation supervisors. However, Michael Jordan did not agree to star in a sequel. According to Camp, a producer lied to design artists by claiming that Jordan had signed on in order to keep development going. Warner Bros. eventually canceled plans for Space Jam 2. The film then reentered development as Spy Jam and was to star Jackie Chan in a different script. The studio was also planning a film titled Race Jam which would have starred Jeff Gordon. Additionally, Space Jam director Joe Pytka revealed that following the first film's success, he had been pitched a story for a sequel that would have starred professional golfer Tiger Woods, with Jordan in a smaller role. Pytka explained how the idea came from an out of studio script conference, with people who worked on the original film allegedly involved. Producer Ivan Reitman was reportedly in favor of a film which would again star Jordan. The follow-up films were ultimately cancelled in favor of Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003). A film titled Skate Jam was in early development with Tony Hawk in the starring role. Plans were underway for production to begin immediately following the release of Looney Tunes: Back in Action, but was cancelled given the poor financial reception to said film despite improved critical reception.
In February 2014, Warner Bros. officially announced development of a sequel that will star LeBron James. Charlie Ebersol was set to produce, while Willie Ebersol wrote the script. By May of the same year, James was quoted as saying, "I've always loved Space Jam. It was one of my favorite movies growing up. If I have the opportunity, it will be great." In July 2015, James and his film studio, SpringHill Entertainment, signed a deal with Warner Bros. for television, film and digital content after receiving positive reviews for his role in Trainwreck. By 2016, Justin Lin signed onto the project as director, and co-screenwriter with Andrew Dodge and Alfredo Botello. In November 2016, a teaser trailer in the form of a Nike advertisement, was released on Twitter under #MonstarsBack. Later in December, Bugs Bunny and the Monstars appeared in a Foot Locker commercial starring Blake Griffin and Jimmy Butler. By August 2018, Lin left the project, and Terence Nance was hired to direct the film. In September 2018, Ryan Coogler was announced as a producer for the film. SpringHill Entertainment released a promotional teaser image officially announcing the film, with production set to begin on June 17, 2019 during the NBA off-season. Filming will take place in California and will shoot within a 30 mile radius of Los Angeles. Prior to production, the film received $21.8 million in tax credits as a result of a new tax incentive program from the state. By February 2019, after releasing the official logo with a promotional poster, the film studios involved have Space Jam 2 scheduled for release on July 16, 2021.
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