Space Jam came out twenty years ago today on 15th November 1996, so it is only fitting to revisit one of the most famous sport themed animated children film of the nineties.
Combining two of the biggest icons of the decade, Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes ensemble, Warner Bros. created a film that was great fun, if a little rough in places.
Having retired from basketball to pursue a baseball career, Jordan finds it hard to come to terms with the idea that he has actually retired from the sport he truly loved. Meanwhile, on an alien planet, the despot amusement park owner Mr Swackhammer (Danny Divito), decides to send out grotesque monsters who must capture the Looney Tunes, so that they can serve as his failing theme park’s new attraction. Since the Looney Tunes’ future is on the line, they decided to challenge the monsters to a basketball game and if they win, they get to escape from being captured. Of course what they do next is ask for help from the best basketball player they know: Michael Jordan. Together, the ragtag band of Jordan, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Tweety et. al have to come together to save not only the planet, but also the fates of the beloved animated heroes.
At the time of it’s release, this film had a very successful box office, and was a winner in the eyes of the 90’s kids. It also grossed over $230m internationally, making it the highest grossing basketball film of all time and also the third highest grossing sport film of all time, only behind Rocky IV and The Blind Side. It might not be critically pleasing- it’s average score on Rotten Tomatoes in just over 5/10, but Space Jam is light-hearted film that joins the themes of friendship, fun, sport, courage and various others into one jam-packed adventure.
Although the Bugs Bunny and co. haven’t been on our radar lately, and considering this film came out twenty years ago, it shows us how kids entertainment has evolved in the last two decades- for better or worse. All I know is that there will never be a film like Space Jam again because it sits on the pedestal of being a really wacky yet entertaining film. What more do we expected from the Looney Tunes anyway?
On a last note, if it wasn’t for Space Jam, no one would know the song ‘I Believe I can Fly’ by R.Kelly because it serves as the official theme song for the film. It also won a Grammy award as a result!
Watch the trailer for this classic below: