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This review appears direct to the web courtesy of THE CINEMA LASER.

SPACE JAM

SPACE JAM

I’m positive that SPACE JAM ($35) has commercial appeal. What I’m not quite positive about, is whether SPACE JAM is intended as an 88 minute commercial. Let’s face it, Michael Jordan is one of the biggest commercial pitchmen on television. Additionally, the screenplay to SPACE JAM seemed to name drop commercial products ad nauseam. Whether this is intended as a parody of commercialism, or just another example of Hollywood plugging products for a fat payday- I leave it to the viewer to draw their own conclusions.

There are no doubts about this film’s intended audience. SPACE JAM was made for the glued to the tube early-teen and pre-teen generations. Adults will garner some amusement from the Looney Tunes characters, but the beloved characters seem to have lost much of the sophistication that one would find in a classic Bob Clampett or Chuck Jones cartoon. The plot of SPACE JAM focuses on Michael Jordan’s time away from basketball- his short lived baseball career. Intergalactic aliens come to Earth to enslave the Looney Tunes characters. They want to turn them into an attraction at an outer-space theme park (do the folks at Six Flags know about this). Slick talking Bugs Bunny convinces the diminutive aliens to let a game of basketball decide their fate. If the aliens lose, the Looney Tune characters retain their freedom. Otherwise, it’s bye-bye Earth and perpetual servitude. The Looney Tunes think they’ve got it made until the aliens steal the basketball abilities (and stature) from some of the NBA’s best. With no other options the desperate Looney Tunes enlist Michael Jordan to help get them out of this mess. All I can say, is thank goodness Michael Jordan went back to the NBA. Jordan’s acting abilities are best taken in thirty-second intervals, perfect for commercials, but they won’t win any Academy Awards. Luckily, comic buffoon Wayne Knight is on board to distract the audience. Even more distracting (or should I say entertaining) is Bill Murray’s extended cameo. Murray can milk laughs from a dead cow. To the film’s credit, I have to admit that the special effects are great. The mixing of live action with animated characters is very well done, thanks to the latest in digital and computer imaging techniques. Special effects fans will get more out of the disc, than will the average adult viewer. In addition to Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny and the ever-popular Daffy Duck, the cast of SPACE JAM includes Theresa Randle, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and the vocal talents of Danny DeVito.

Warner Home Video has given SPACE JAM a great looking Letterboxed transfer, which restores the film to its proper theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Sorry DVD lovers, but SPACE JAM has been released on DVD pan and scan only. If you want the Letterbox version, buy the Laserdisc or contact Warner. The image on the Laserdisc is well defined and the colors are nicely saturated. The digitally encoded Dolby Surround soundtrack packs a punch. Your subwoofer is certain to thump to the hip-hop music in the mix. A Dolby Digital soundtrack is also available. The Pioneer pressing had only a couple of speckles.

 
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Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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