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Laramie Movie Scope:
Space Jam

Michael Jordan saves the movie in overtime

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 17, 1996 -- "Space Jam" is a serious attempt by Warner Brothers to challenge the Disney empire on its own ground, the feature-length cartoon and it's also the movie debut of Michael Jordan.

It's a good effort, but not up to the level of the best Disney cartoon features, but Michael Jordan does just fine playing himself. This film is more along the lines of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"

The story has to do with the operator of an amusement park on another world who orders the kidnapping of some cartoon characters in order to make his park more attractive to kids. The group he sends to get the cartoons is tricked into playing a basketball game for all the marbles.

In an attempt to win the game, the kidnappers steal the basketball talent from NBA players Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Mugsy Bogues, Larry Johnson and former BYU player Shawn Bradley.

When the kidnappers suddenly become much larger and more talented, Bugs and crew go looking for some help from Michael Jordan, who at that time was retired from basketball and was playing baseball.

Jordan is surprisingly good as an actor. He comes across as basically a nice guy, but who is a real competitor on the court. He is also a good sport. He goes along with some gags about his lack of talent on the baseball diamond. Some superstars wouldn't put up with that.

Jordan serves at the anchor for a story that is unfocused and meandering at times. It's basically a 15-minute plot stretched out to about an hour and a half. He does a good job of keeping the basic story in focus. The quality of the animation varies from mediocre to good. At its best, the cartoon characters look three-dimensional. At worst, they're like average Saturday morning TV cartoons.

There are some good inside jokes in the film, including a spoof of "Pulp Fiction" a reference to "Caddyshack" and a dig at the Disney-owned "Mighty Ducks" hockey team, but there's not quite enough here for adults. It's more of a kids film. For adults, it rates a C. For kids, it is solid entertainment, a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1996 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)