Space Jam is a 1996 American live-action/animated film starring Michael Jordan opposite Bugs Bunny (voiced by Billy West) and the rest of the Looney Tunes characters. It was produced by Ivan Reitman, and directed by Joe Pytka (live-action) and Tony Cervone & Bruce W. Smith (animation). This film was released to movie theatres by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment in November 15, 1996.
Other voices included Bob Bergen as Porky, Tweety, Hubie and Bertie and Marvin the Martian, Bill Farmer as Sylvester and Dee Bradley Baker as Daffy and Taz. The Looney Tunes crew did not return to movie status afterwards until 2003 in Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Space Jam was also converted in a pinball and a video game by Acclaim Entertainment for PC-DOS, Sega Saturn and PlayStation.
PlotSpoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.In this movie, aliens called Nerdlucks arrive on Earth to capture the Looney Tunes characters and take them back to Moron Mountain, an outer space theme park belonging to their boss, Mr. Swackhammer, voiced by Danny DeVito. Bugs Bunny convinces the aliens that the Looney Tunes must be allowed to defend themselves. Since the aliens are very short the Looney Tunes challenge them to a basketball game.
The aliens steal the talent of 5 NBA stars (Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Muggsy Bogues, Larry Johnson and Shawn Bradley) and use it to transform themselves into the tall and muscular Monstars. Fortunately, the Monstars haven’t stolen the talent of Michael Jordan because he has retired from basketball to pursue a career in baseball (and play golf) (which was a real-life event). Bugs Bunny gets Jordan to help them in their basketball game. The Looney Tunes manage to win the game and their freedom.
Swackhammer berates the Monstars for losing, but then they realize that since they’re no longer smaller than him, they don’t have to put up with his bullying anymore. They launch Swackhammer into space, and give back the stolen skills, becoming Nerdlucks again. Michael Jordan decides to return to basketball, mirroring his real-life return.
Many major and minor characters from Looney Tunes shorts make appearances in the movie, and are even joined by Lola Bunny, a female hare that acts as Bugs’ love interest.
Notable cameos include Wayne Knight (as Michael’s new manager, Stan), Bill Murray (as himself, but mistaken by Swackhammer in the movie for Dan Aykroyd), Jim Rome, Larry Bird and Scottie Pippen.
Critical responseReviews of the movie were generally negative. Many critics compared it unfavorably to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a popular film in which cartoon characters and live-action humans coexisted in the same film as well. Basketball fans thought the movie to be demeaning to the sport, and to Michael Jordan himself. Many of them also claim it was not canon, despite referencing real-life events.