A Reflection On Space Jam 20 Years Later

(Photo by Warner Bros./Getty Images)

(Photo by Warner Bros./Getty Images)

I can’t believe it has been twenty years since Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan joined forces on-screen and on the basketball court in Space Jam. A lot has changed since then. First of all I feel old. Back in 1996 I was a little kid that was into basketball and cartoons. It was the perfect movie for me. The film had the biggest stars of the NBA and the Looney Tunes in a live action movie. How cool is that. I’m interested in checking out the Space Jam 20th Anniversary Blu-ray available on (11/15) to compare how things have changed and what they were.


Back then, Michael Jordan was the biggest sports star on the planet. Part of the 72-10 championship Bulls team. As a Chicago kid this was something to be proud of. The film also had legends such as Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing as well as the shortest player in NBA history Muggsy Bogues, and the tallest Shawn Bradley. Back then Bill Murray wasn’t following the Cubs from city to city and celebrating with them, he was right in the middle of the Looney Tunes action. Oh how things have changed.

Looney Tunes have been around for decades, but back then they were household names. Everyone knew who Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tazmanian Devil and Sylvester were, but I’m not so sure they would be as easily recognized today? Especially by the kids. These characters have faded over the last twenty years. We have gone through Power Rangers, Pokemon, Spongebob, etc. Unfortunately the Looney Tunes are a thing of the past now.


There has been recent talk of the revival of Space Jam, starring current NBA Superstar LeBron James. Sure, James may be the Jordan of his generation, but he still can’t replace him. You can try to recreate a new Space Jam with James, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and many other NBA stars. It just seems that it would be extra corny now. Back then it was cool to see live action animated characters alongside famous athletes, but today it might be a straight to DVD kinda movie with little to no buzz about it. Would anyone even care? Would kids be drawn to a Bugs Bunny? Disney characters have a special staying power, but Looney Tunes, not so much.


Space Jam was a silly movie, but it somehow became a cult classic. The timing of the film and the characters and stars of it worked twenty years ago. The memorable songs that came out of the movie still haven’t been forgotten. R. Kelly’s “I believe I can Fly” and Quad City DJ’s “Space Jam” theme song became big hits and are synonymous with the movie. It’s doubtful that the soundtrack from any current remake of it would have a lasting appeal those songs did for the 1996 version.

I say keep Space Jam in the past where it belongs. It was a film that kids who grew up with will always have a connection with their childhood. I’m sure the animation would be ten times better today, but it would be just another CGI live action movie. Twenty years later we live in a world where Michael Jordan is an owner of an NBA team, the Chicago Cubs are champions and Donald Trump is President of the United States. Space Jam was unique for what it was, so I’d like to remember it that way and relive it on Blu-ray.

You can follow me on Twitter @JimRko

Jim Alexander is one of the co-founders of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle (CIFCC). He has been a staff writer at TheMovieBlog.com since 2014. He helped develop and host the “Correct Opinion Podcast.” Jim has written for Screenrant.com and contributed to the Australian movie site Cinemazzi.com. He is the United States Film and Entertainment Reporter for BBC’s 5 Live radio show. In addition to his interest in film, he also hosts the “Bachelor Universe” blog and podcast, centered on the ABC show The Bachelor. Jim graduated with a MA in Journalism from DePaul University. He is a die-hard Chicago Bulls and Bears fan. Born in Chicago, but raised in Poland, he grew up playing soccer and remains an avid fan of the sport. He is passionate about film and strives to incorporate new and innovative ways to present film criticism. He currently resides in a suburb outside of Chicago, IL.