Space Jam


Space Jam Information

Space Jam is a 1996 family live-action/animated sports comedy film starring Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes characters. The film was produced by Ivan Reitman, and directed by Joe Pytka, with Tony Cervone and Bruce W. Smith directing the animation.

A fictional account of Jordan's first retirement from the NBA, the film was released theatrically by Warner Bros. under the Family Entertainment label on November 15, 1996. It plays out as an alternate story of Jordan's initial return to basketball, this time with him being inspired by Bugs Bunny and others. Space Jam was a box office success, opening at #1 in the US, and grossing over $230 million worldwide.

Plot

In 1995, after professional basketball player Michael Jordan announces his retirement from the game, he follows in his father's footsteps and turns to a career in baseball. Meanwhile, a group of criminal aliens called 'The Nerdlucks', led by their boss Mister Swackhammer (voiced by Danny DeVito), plot to capture the Looney Tunes characters, who really exist in a secret animated world called Tune Land (hidden under planet Earth), and make them their newest attractions at Moron Mountain, a failing amusement park. Swackhammer believes enslaving the Tunes in this way will bring in more customers and save Moron Mountain from foreclosure. They arrive in Tune Land, and, seeing how short the aliens are, the Tunes, aided by a new arrival named Lola Bunny, bargain for their freedom by challenging the Nerdlucks to a basketball game. Preparing to cheat in the game, the Nerdlucks return to Earth and steal the Talent of Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Charles Barkley, Muggsy Bogues, and Shawn Bradley, who are rendered incapable of playing basketball as a result. The Nerdlucks use the stolen Talent to transform into gigantic creatures that the Looney Tunes are unable to defeat, re-naming themselves the Monstars in the process. To help them win, the Tunes choose and recruit Michael, and he reluctantly agrees after the Monstars squash him into the shape of a basketball and bounce him around like one. Daffy and Bugs go to his house to collect Michael's lucky stuff, barely dodging his family dog Charles.

Throughout the game between the TuneSquad and the Monstars, the Looney Tunes are injured, one by one, until only Michael, Bugs, Lola and Daffy are left in the game, leaving them short one player. Marvin The Martian, who is the referee, tells them that if there is no fifth player, the team will forfeit the game. At the last second, Bill Murray (who Swackhammer incorrectly identifies as Dan Aykroyd, his Ghostbusters co-star) appears in the stadium and joins the team, narrowly averting forfeiture. Michael reluctantly makes a deal with Mister Swackhammer to spare the Looney Tunes in exchange for his own freedom as Swackhammer's newest amusement park attraction if the TuneSquad loses. He readily accepts it and Bugs tries to talk him out of it, all the while being aware of what it means if Michael is subjected to humiliation on Moron Mountain for all time.

At the game's climax, The TuneSquad are down by one, and it is up to Michael to score the winning point. Extending his arm to superhuman lengths with the power of toon physics, Michael makes the basket and wins the game. He helps the Monstars realize that they're bigger than Mister Swackhammer, who confronts them for losing. Fed up with their abusive boss, the Monstars tie him up and send him to the moon. At Michael's request, they return the stolen Talent to the other players by transferring them to a basketball. This reverts the Monstars back to the tiny Nerdlucks. Refusing to return to Moron Mountain to endure humiliation from their former boss, the Nerdlucks decide to stay with the Looney Tunes, who only agree if the Nerdlucks can prove themselves to be 'Looney', which they arguably complete on the spot. Afterwards, Michael returns to Earth in the Nerdlucks' spaceship, where he makes a dramatic appearance at a baseball game to the cheers of the audience, despite being late. The next day, Michael gives the stolen Talent back to the NBA players, who immediately regain their lost skills. Michael is later prompted by his rivals to return to the NBA, mirroring his real-life comeback.

Cast

Live-action actors

  • Michael Jordan as himself, a professional basketball player who retires from the NBA to pursue a career in baseball, which is what his father wanted him to do.
    • Brandon Hammond as Michael Jordan as a child.
  • Bill Murray as himself, one of Michael Jordan's friends and an aspiring basketball player, though Jordan doubts his abilities. Following his play with the Tune Squad, Murray impresses Jordan but decides to retire.
  • Wayne Knight as Stan Podolak, a publicist who makes sure nobody bothers Michael Jordan.
  • Larry Bird as himself, one of Michael Jordan's friends and golfing partners. He crushes Bill Murray's dream of playing in the NBA.
  • Thom Barry as James R. Jordan, Sr., Michael Jordan's father.
  • Theresa Randle as Juanita Jordan, Michael Jordan's supportive wife. The character is based on Jordan's real life ex-wife.
  • Manner Washington as Jeffrey Jordan, Michael Jordan's oldest son.
  • Eric Gordon (not the current NBA player) as Marcus Jordan, Michael Jordan's youngest son.
  • Penny Bae Bridges as Jasmine Jordan, Michael Jordan's daughter.
  • Del Harris (at the time the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers) as Himself
  • Charles Barkley as himself, of the Phoenix Suns who gets his talent stolen by Pound.
  • Patrick Ewing as himself, of the New York Knicks who gets his talent stolen by Bang.
  • Shawn Bradley as himself, of the Philadelphia 76ers who gets his talent stolen by Blanko.
  • Larry Johnson as himself, of the Charlotte Hornets who gets his talent stolen by Bupkus.
  • Muggsy Bogues as himself, of the Charlotte Hornets who gets his talent stolen by Nawt.

Voice cast

Because the movie was made after the death of Mel Blanc, the character voices he originated were performed by other actors:

  • Billy West provides the voices of:
    • Bugs Bunny
    • Elmer Fudd
  • Dee Bradley Baker provides the voices of:
    • Daffy Duck
    • The Tasmanian Devil
    • Toro, a bull that attacks the Monstar Pound during the game after Daffy painted his shorts red.
  • Danny DeVito provides the voice of Mister Swackhammer, the proprietor of the theme park "Moron Mountain", for which he seeks new attractions to save his failing business.
  • Bob Bergen provides the voices of:
    • Porky Pig
    • Tweety
    • Marvin the Martian
    • Hubie and Bertie, a pair of mice who act as the commentators of the game.
  • Bill Farmer provides the voices of:
    • Yosemite Sam
    • Foghorn Leghorn
    • Sylvester
  • June Foray (the only original Looney Tunes voice actor in the movie) provides the voice of:
    • Granny
    • Witch Hazel
  • Maurice LaMarche provides the voice of Pepé Le Pew.
  • Kath Soucie provides the voice of Lola Bunny, a female rabbit who plays for the Looney Tunes' team. Lola is a new character introduced in this film.
  • Frank Welker provides the voice for Charles, Michael's pet bulldog who menaces both Bugs and Daffy when they were in Michael's house.
The voices of the Nerdlucks are provided by Jocelyn Blue (Pound), Charity James (Blanko), June Melby (Bang), Catherine Reitman (Bupkus) and Colleen Wainwright (Nawt); the voices of the Monstars are provided by Darnell Suttles (Pound), Steve Kehela (Blanko), Joey Camen (Bang), Dorian Harewood (Bupkus) and T. K. Carter (Nawt).

Music

Main article: Space Jam (soundtrack)
The soundtrack sold enough albums to be certified as 6x Platinum. It also 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 tracks included a cover of "Fly Like an Eagle" (by Seal), "Hit 'Em High (The Monstars' Anthem)" (by B-Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J, and Method Man), "Basketball Jones" (by Chris Rock & Barry White), and "For You I Will" (by Monica). The movie's theme song was performed by the Quad City DJ's. "My Girl" by the Temptations.

Distribution

Video games

There was also a licensed pinball game by Sega based on the film and a video game for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn and Windows PC by Acclaim.

Home media

The film was released as a 2-disc special edition DVD on October 28, 2003, and as a feature in a 4-film Favorites: Family Comedies 4-movie collection in November 6, 2007, and was released as a single disc DVD on February 8, 2011, and for the first time in widescreen HD on Blu-ray on October 4, 2011.

Reception

Critical response

Space Jam received mixed reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 35% based on 49 reviews.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave Space Jam a "thumbs up," which Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune also gave the film, although his zeal was more subdued. Todd McCarthy of Variety praised the film for its humor. He also praised the Looney Tunes' antics and Jordan's acting. Although Janet Maslin of The New York Times criticized the film's animation, she later went on to say that the film is a "fond tribute to [the Looney Tunes characters'] past."

Box office

Space Jam was a box office success. At the end of its run, it grossed $90,418,342 in the United States and over $140,000,000 internationally.

Accolades

  • 1997 and 1998 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards
    • Won: Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures (Diane Warren for the song "For You I Will")
    • Won: Top Box Office Films (James Newton Howard)
  • 1997 Annie Awards
    • Won: Best Individual Achievement: Technical Achievement
    • Nomination: Best Animated Feature
    • Nomination: Best Individual Achievement: Directing in a Feature Production (Bruce W. Smith and Tony Cervone)
    • Nomination: Best Individual Achievement: Producing in a Feature Production (Ron Tippe)
  • 1998 Grammy Awards
    • Won: Best Song Written Specifically for Motion Picture or for Television (R. Kelly for the song "I Believe I Can Fly")
  • 1997 MTV Movie Awards
    • Nomination: Best Movie Song (R. Kelly for the song "I Believe I Can Fly")
  • 1997 Satellite Awards
    • Nomination: Best Motion Picture- Animated or Mixed Media (Daniel Goldberg, Joe Medjuck, Ivan Reitman)
  • 1998 World Animation Celebration
    • Won: Best Use of Animation in a Motion Picture Trailer
  • 1997 Young Artist Awards
    • Nomination: Best Family Feature- Animation or Special Effects

In other media

The Monstars make a cameo in the Pinky and the Brain / Animaniacs episode "Star Warners" (a parody of Star Wars).




This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Space_Jam" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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