There’s been a lot of Space Jam talk around these parts lately. Although if you reach out to some people, (okay, yes, I am one of them) there’s been a lot of Space Jam talk at all times, always, since the movie first came out in 1996.
The backlash is understandable. It’s not exactly a good movie, the plot is insanely flawed, it was a definite cash grab (and it worked), and it hasn’t held up all that well. Matt Moore of CBS covered a lot of this last week, so I’m not going to tread on his ground.
I’m sure putting LeBron in the Space Jam reboot might worry some people because this is the era of making everything again and sometimes making things not that great. And the originals are just that for a reason: They were something, and you have a general sense of who you were when you saw them for the first time, what mindset you were in, where you lived, and more. For me, Space Jam hit me right in the middle of my developmental period between pop culture and sports, and seeing these two things I already grew up loving – the NBA and the Looney Tunes – smashed together along with a random appearance by Newman from Seinfeld and Bill Murray was like speaking directly to me. I was the target audience. I still am the target audience.
And that’s where this new movie starts to get a little bit tricky. Are the filmmakers going to cater this to those of us who caught Space Jam the first time around? Give us hat tips, head nods, references to the ’90s? Or is this going to be a fresh start entirely and a way to bring Space Jam to a new generation, which would therein alienate all of the people who liked the first movie for what it was (and didn’t try to make it into something it’s not), and have all of us angry and rushing to our keyboards?
Chances are it will lie somewhere in the middle. It will be a totally fine kids movie that knows what it is, LeBron will do well, it will make a lot of money, and 20 years from now Uproxx will write an involved and comprehensive oral history about it. Nobody will die. Nobody’s feelings will really be that hurt. Kids will smile. And life will be okay.
But where does that leave the original? For one thing, it only gives us more time to appreciate the ridiculousness of it and analyze it from multiple angles. One of which is the on-court action itself, which has never really stood up to the test of time.
The TuneSquad has no fewer than 18 members on its team, not including people who aren’t actively dressed. I don’t know what the basketball rules are in Tune Land, but compared to the Monstars, who don’t even have a sixth man, it’s clear the Looney Tunes have a definite depth advantage, and that plays a role, especially if somehow this were to go to a seven-game series.
This is an attempt to give a brief scouting report on all of the TuneSquad members. The NBA’s TV deal is going to play a huge role, especially with the cap going up, and I see Tune Land having a hard time keeping this championship team together, so they’re going to have to make some really difficult decisions down the road.