Why I equate Space Jam (and by default, Michael Jordan) with Easter

Movie reviews, Uncategorized

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Theatrical poster. Space Jam, Warner Bros. 1996

I will always associate Easter with Space Jam.

 

Every year on easter weekend Space Jam would air on TV and every year I would watch it without fail. It’s a proud tradition that I continue to honour to this day. It’s slightly different today. Now I just pop in the Blu-Ray and voila, no more waiting for TV. It’s not as nostalgic this way, but the movie is always as good as I remember it to be.

For all intends and purposes, Space Jam was my 1996. Growing up, I wasn’t much of a basketball fan, but I loved everything about this movie. While some movies came and went, Space Jam was a constant mainstay in my collection and in my heart. I love everything including the ridiculous storyline. The Looney Tunes have an intergalactic basketball match against aliens. At first, they have no problem beating their pint-sized opponents. Until they steal the talents of NBA stars and become “Monstars” that is. The Looneys then get the help of Michael Jordan, a retired NBA player turned baseball player.

           Space Jam doesn’t feel dated as much as it feels classic. What can I say about the cast? Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Shawn Bradley, Larry Johnson, Mugsy Bogues, and an appearance by Bill Murray. While Jordan is hardly an actor, he gives a very credible and charismatic performance with his loony teammates. Although those featured NBA players are retired by now, it’s fun to reminisce and see players that era of NBA history.

Maybe it’s because it’s a sentimental favourite, but I feel Space Jam is very much a product of it’s time and a memorable piece of ’90s pop-culture. It also has more than enough humorous sequences and lines to warrant multiple viewings.

“For all intends and purposes, Space Jam was my 1996. “

What really makes the movie charming is the array of Loony Tune characters and watching them come alive on a story tailor-made for the big-screen. There’s something oddly endearing about the pairing of humans and Looneys feeding off each other. In the context of Space Jam it never felt bizarre or out of place. The movie was also notable for being the appearance of fan favourite Lola Bunny. The Monstars are every bit as cool looking as they were. Many of us who grew up in the 1990’s wanted a Tune Squad jersey, I should know, I still want one.

The basketball match is filled with small bits of comedy where every Looney gets 15 second to shine. It’s the highlight and best part of Space Jam. No matter how many times I’ve watched the film, it’s still every bit as fun as it was the first time.

 

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Home video poster. You can practically smells the 90’s.

 

Characters and visual effects look as good today as they did then, it’s cliché’d to say it stood the test of time, but it’s true. In my eyes, the animation looks just as fresh and vibrant as it did upon first viewing as a child twenty years ago.

The Blu-Ray features commentary by Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and director Joe Pytka, Jammin’ with Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan featurette, 2 music videos (Seal’s “Fly Like An Eagle” and the movie cast’s Monstars Anthem Hit ‘Em High) and the theatrical trailer.

That’s it that’s my Easter story. This explains why to me Easter = Space Jam and by default, Michael Jordan. It’s not much of a tradition, but I’ll take it.

              Space Jam is quirky, fun, charming and visually appealing. Everything from lines to the soundtrack is practically etched in my consciousness by this point. Perhaps I’m biased, but so be it, I will aways love Space Jam.

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