Review Summary: Don't bring me here anymore, right?
In a completely realistic predicament in 1996, our beloved Looney Toons are in grave danger. They have been held hostage on their own turf by a race of miniature aliens; faced with the prospect of being dragged into far away Moron Mountain to become the new shining attraction to a failing theme park. Looney Toon ringleader Bugs Bunny, cool as a cucumber, is unwilling to let this happen; he essentially calls shenanigans and convinces the aliens to give the Toons a chance to defend themselves. Amongst the horrific suggestions that were brought upon by the likes of Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, and Sylvester, Bugs steps in and delivers the ultimate challenge: a Basketball game. The Toons were obvious favorites here, considering the aliens from Moron Mountain are clueless about what Basketball is and don’t stand more than half a foot off the ground. Knowing the uphill battle that has been laid out for them, the aliens steal the talent of four NBA superstars and one goofy giraffe (you know which one), including Patrick Ewing, Shawn Bradley, Muggsy Bogues, Larry Johnson, and Charles Barkley. Suddenly the Looney Toons aren’t so confident. The aliens have grown to a massive ten feet tall on average, converting into monsters. No, excuse me; Monstars
. The desperate Toons are doomed, with only one person in the universe that could possibly save them:
In my twenty-one years on this earth, I have never seen a cult following more ubiquitous than that of Michael Jordan. Whether or not he was the greatest Basketball player of all-time is up for debate, but one very thing was for certain: he was unstoppable
. Jordan had out-worked everyone around him during his career, and this was conveyed through his game-winning theatrics and resilient knack for championship after championship. It had actually gotten to a point where you that something magical was going to happen every time he stepped on the court. To quote Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez from the Sandlot, “he was less than a god, but more than a man. Like Hercules or something.” Rodriguez had been referring to Babe Ruth, but the very same thing could be said about Jordan. MJ’s legacy was spreading faster than the plague, and suddenly the Chicago Bulls were America’s team. Nearly every child in America claimed some sort of allegiance to the Bulls; whether this was the tendency to like winning teams or just purely out of admiration for Jordan. It was because of this, that MJ was the perfect athlete to star in the 1996 children’s film Space Jam
had been the most watched film of my childhood, to the point where I could probably play it over and over again in my head without missing a line. The movie was an intriguing one in that it was a collaboration between animation and traditional film making, akin to Who Framed Roger Rabbit
. Space Jam
drew from a large cast of recognized athletes and actors such as Bill Murray and the voice of Danny Devito to carry out the bizarre storyline. To this day, the film has been receiving mixed reviews to say the least, leading me to believe that if I saw the movie for the first time it wouldn’t have nearly the same effect. Luckily that isn’t the case, and for the reasons above, Space Jam
evokes a certain tinge of nostalgia that any other children’s movie cannot achieve. And the soundtrack has a lot to do with that.
“Everybody get up, it’s time to slam now. We’ve got a real jam going now, welcome to the Space Jam.”
At the time, nothing was a stimulating as blaring this while watching Jordan absolutely dismantle defenses at the early minutes of the film. Needless to say, much of the soundtrack had this very effect; it seemed perfectly suited for the film it was portraying, almost entire due to the fact that it featured some of the hottest hip-hop and pop artists of the day. The Space Jam Soundtrack
is extremely 90’s in nature, underlining such acts as Seal, Coolio, Jay-Z, and R. Kelly pre the urination incident (yeah, you know what I’m talking about), among several others. Furthermore, the record is almost entirely filled with clean, Will Smith-esque hip-hop and soulful ballads, each just as effective as the last. Fourth track “I Believe I Can Fly” falls into that second category; a massive hit that elevated R. Kelly’s illustrious career. Despite its cholesterol raising lyrics, “I Believe I Can Fly” is a wonderful pop song that utilizes R. Kelly’s soaring vocals and the music’s floating ambience to a tee. In harmony with the aforementioned track is Monica’s stirring “For You I Will,” which is just another addition to the effective R&B songs of the album. The record’s most enticing track however, could be that of the collaboration between comedian/actor Chris Rock and the ever-sexy Barry White. These two paradoxical figures actually make for a very interesting piece in “Basketball Jones,” written by none other than everyone’s favorite stoners Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong. The verdict is a victorious endeavor, despite Rock spouting non-sense and shout-outs over White’s smooth baritone.
The Space Jam Soundtrack
is a rather unique find in its variety, for it contains the silky cohesiveness that many soundtracks struggle to attain. There are obvious highlights, but the record does not feature a dud or a track that plain doesn’t belong here to disrupt the flow. The tandem of “Fly Like An Eagle” and “The Winner” set the record out on the right foot, sampling both of the musical styles that are utilized so adequately. Seal’s cover of Steve Miller Band classic “Fly Like An Eagle” is a clear highlight; a funkier and less-psychedelic version of the original that is furthered by Seal’s trademark soul vocals. The track was actually more successful a billboard single than his smash-hit “Kiss From A Rose,” which had been featured on the Batman Forever Soundtrack
just a year earlier.
From the standpoint of an eight year old sports fan, Space Jam
could not fail. The soundtrack was loaded with just as many superstars as the film, and even furthered the careers of artists such as Seal and R. Kelly; each depicting the charm, exuberance, and heart of the movie with tremendous virtuosity. See, right now you thinking about digging Space Jam
out of whatever drawer it has been sitting in for all of those years. Listen to those instincts, because who knows? MJ might have another game winner in him.