The Monstars, the Tune Squad, Michael Jordan and Bill Murray. How could Space Jam not be great? It’s got that sweet R Kelly song “I believe I can fly” plus Danny Devito lends his voice to the roll of of the villianous manager of the Monstars, Swackhammer. 1996 could only be so lucky. This was obvious pandering but it worked out so well. So let’s take another look at a perfect hybrid of NBA action and Saturday morning cartoons that was Space Jam. Hands down, Jordan’s best movie. Maybe the best thing he has ever done.
During a relaxing game of golf, hall of fame basketball player, Michael Jordan gets sucked into the cartoon world where he is recruited by Bugs Bunny to play a basketball game against the Monstars. A super charged group of aliens who mean trouble for the tunes. Jordan agrees to help Bugs and the others. Now, MJ must whip the Tune Squad into shape before the big game. But that is easier said than done.
Besides Jordan, the Tune Squad is made up of Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, Taz and Daffy Duck. These are your starters with Michael as player/coach. On the bench is Elmer Fudd, Tweety, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote, Yosemite Sam and some other animated scrubs. Bill Murray Joins later.
The Monstars come from a place called Moron Mountain and are led by coach/evil space tycoon Swackhammer who will stop at nothing to trap the Looney Tunes and force them to be entertainment back on Moron Mountain. Swackhammer stole the athletic ability of known NBA stars Charles Barkley, Larry Johnson, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing and Muggsy Bogues and transferred that power into his own team. Making a pretty lethal squad. Luckily for the tunes, they have Jordan.
The big game
At halftime, the Tune Squad is getting destroyed. MJ gives this great speech and all the tunes drink this secret potion they think is going to make them play great. It’s really just plain old water but the stupid tunes don’t know any better. I’m kind of surprised they went with a performance enhancing drug angle. But hey, it was the 90’s.
Let’s talk real basketball real quick. The Monstars literally have no bench. You think that fatigue would catch up to them in the second half. Also, if the ref (Marvin the Martian) called even a faction of the fouls that the Monstars routinely commit then they would all foul out of the game by the second quarter.
Also there is this insane Pulp Fiction reference where Elmer and Yosemite pull guns on the court. Totally illegal by the way.
Cut to the end of the game. It comes down to the last possession. Jordan gets the ball. Clock running out. He takes a dribble and…well I’m not going to spoil it. If you don’t know then go watch it.
There have been rumors about a Space Jam 2 with LeBron James but I don’t ever think that is going to happen. Maybe drop James and replace him with Kevin Durant or maybe Steph Curry. I know they will make (or remake) anything these days but I kind of hope they never make a part two. The original was a perfect storm of popular things colliding that trying to reproduce it will almost certainly be a failure. If one must expand the world of Space Jam, then can I suggest changing the sport? Make it soccer with Messi or football with Cam Newton. I’d pay to see that.
I believe I can fly.