I’ll be honest. The only reason I’m talking about this is that I found it on Netflix. Apparently, it’s in the Top 10 most-watched movies in the United States! Which… I can’t say that I’m surprised. Nor can I deny that I’m just as at fault as everyone else.
Out of all the meme movies out there, Space Jam might just be the most infamous. It’s been so heavily memed that it’s even getting a sequel (at least I think; is that still gonna be a thing?)! The fanbase of this movie is so ravenous that they managed to somehow bring it back forty years later for a sequel and put it in the top ten on motherfucking Netflix!
And I can see why. I’ve watched this movie three times now, twice before this review. Each of these experiences was a glorious one! This is one of my absolute favorite ‘so bad it’s good’ movies!
Though to be fair: it isn’t all bad. It’s just mostly bad.
Story: Basketball! In! SPACE!!
Who the fuck pitched this movie? Who said “Yeah, that sounds good! Let’s make that! Hey! Get Michael Jordan on the phone!”
For those of you who haven’t seen this movie, I need to make this clear. I’m not making any of the following up. This summary is actually how the plot of this movie goes.
Michael Jordan (y’know, that basketball guy that was pretty good) has quit his thriving basketball career for a not so successful career in baseball for… some reason. But during a game of golf with Bill Murray and the fat guy from Jurrasic Park, he’s sucked into the world of the Looney Toons. These iconic cartoon characters are under threat of enslavement (not a joke) from a galactic amusement park unless they can defeat five aliens, who are powered by talent stolen from more real-life NBA stars of the time, in a game of basketball. It’s up to Michael to train the Loony Toons to reach NBA levels of play and defeat the alien Monstars!
Again: I’m not making any of that up. That is the actual story of this movie. And if you can believe it, I made it sound far saner than it actually is!
Where do I start? It’s amazing just how wrong everything in this movie is! All of the characters are flat and uninteresting, relying entirely on their iconic status, the pacing is a total mess, the dialogue is hilariously awful, and the ending is a disaster! From a writing perspective, this movie is a total disaster!
Let’s break down the pacing. The opening of the movie is very slow. Painfully so! Each scene feels like it lasts an eternity as they burn through terrible jokes and awkward dialogue. It’s a tedious slog that is only saved by the hysterically awkward dialogue.
Then, when Michael enters Toon World or whatever it’s called, the pacing goes lightning fast! Michael immediately accepts that he’s surrounded by cartoons and, after only one scene of resistance, starts to teach them how to play. It just blazes through with scene after scene, some of which you could just cut out and not lose anything! Why the hell did we need to see Bugs Bunny go and talk to Michael’s kids?!
Aside from the possibility that Michael forced them to do so in his contract. Which, now that I say it out loud, sounds pretty accurate.
Then the story maintains this insanely fast pace up until the basketball game, where it starts going crazy! First, it’s slow, then it blasts through it, then it goes slowly again! It’s an inconsistent nightmare!
Oh, and don’t get your hopes up for logic and reason. Because neither of those exist. Why do Bill Murray and the fat guy from Jurassic Park show up in the finale? Because why not? Why is Michael Jordan suddenly a basketball? Because why not? Why can he stretch his arm super long? Stop asking questions, because the writers sure don’t have any answers!
That should be the tagline of the movie.
Presentation: The Real World Never Looked So Bad
Alright, to be fair: all the 2D animation is actually really good! The Loony Toons characters move much like they do in their original forms, with tons of energy and life. Sure, they clash with all the live-action characters wildly! But on their own, they look great!
That’s the only thing I’m going to call great in this segment. There’s another thing that I’ll call amazing! But we’ll get to that. First, we need to talk about everything else.
Everything else sucks! The blue-screen has aged horribly and sticks out like red on white! The CGI (yes, there is CGI in this movie) is hilariously inept, even for the time! The cinematography is flat and boring! The lighting is stagnant and uninteresting! Visually speaking, this movie is insufferable!
The score is… mediocre. None of the tracks are unique or memorable. They work well enough for the scenes they’re in and they won’t make you want to claw your skin off. But there isn’t a single piece that you’ll find yourself humming.
Well, except for one. You know the one I’m talking about. This is the one thing in this movie that people genuinely like. Hell, it’s probably why it’s so heavily memed! I am, of course, talking about the movie’s main song.
If you know this movie, you know this song. You likely know it without having actually seen it! Sure, the lyrics aren’t actually all that great! But it’s so damn catchy! It has so much energy to it that you can’t help but nod your head to it! It’s so much damn fun!
It also has a surprisingly deep remix scene. One that a good buddy of mine was super into back in high school.
I don’t even want to talk about the acting. It’s bad. We all know it’s bad. Michael Jordan isn’t an actor and the voices of the Toons themselves aren’t all that great either. So I won’t even bother.
Space Jam is an incredibly odd movie. A fun movie, sure! If you’re in the right mindset. But if you’re going into this movie expecting a genuinely good film? You’d best start looking elsewhere. It’s a braindead kids movie.
If you enjoy so-bad-it’s-good movies, then you’ll get a kick out of Space Jam! It’s a hilariously bad movie that you’ll more than likely have fun with! However, if you can’t enjoy movies in that mindset, then you’d best avoid this one. You won’t get much out of this one.
Now, if you’ll excuse me. I need to go back to staring at a wall and waiting endlessly for Space Jam 2.