The Daily Gamecock

Reflection: 'Space Jam' celebrates 20th anniversary

As a kid born in the 1990s, I was obsessed with the live-action/animated feature film “Space Jam." I spent countless hours watching it over and over on my cherished VHS tape. I knew the lyrics to all the songs on the soundtrack, and I knew what the characters were going to say before they said it. You would think a kid would get tired of a movie after a while, but I was just as intrigued watching it the 30th time as I was the first.

Considering the fact that it is the 20th anniversary of the popular film and with rumors of a sequel circulating, it seems only right to look back on its impact.

I was not the only child to enjoy “Space Jam." Third-year English student Alicia Davenport said that after all these years the details of the movie may be fuzzy, but the memories of the fun that came from watching are crystal clear.

“I just remember being really inspired and my brother and I playing 'Space Jam' after," Davenport said. “He had his little basketball hoop, so I guess it was a movie we kind of took for a visual reference and kind of wanted to reenact it.”

The idea of Michael Jordan and prominent NBA players such as Muggsy Bogues, Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing teaming up with the Looney Tunes in an epic basketball competition against intergalactic foes sounds silly, but it was the '90s so anything went. Despite the film’s wackiness, “Space Jam” did extremely well and is still the highest grossing basketball film ever made.

Jordan’s athleticism and natural on-screen charisma were enough to make a lasting impression on a generation of kids watching “Space Jam.”

“I definitely remember in the end when Michael Jordan, he dunked from the free throw line," Davenport said. "I don’t know why but that’s always been the thing that remained in my mind."

The cartoonish movie was able to appeal to adults with the basketball theme and major actors. The film featured then-Golden Globe nominee Bill Murray and “Seinfield’s” Wayne Knight. These actors made a major contribution to the film by providing a balance to the professional athletes and cartoons.

“I really enjoyed Bill Murray because I think he’s a great actor, and I like him in any movie," third-year political science student Bianca Budhai said. "I like his role in the movie, his relationship with Michael Jordan in the movie."

The film managed to cater to younger audiences with the antics of the animated Looney Tunes present throughout the movie. The characters we grew up with were truly larger than life and commanded attention next to the real-life co-stars.

Overall, the plot of the movie is admittedly wacky, but I feel it adds to its charm. It was a major risk to try and blend the world of animation and reality, but it definitely paid off with this movie.

“I think it brought just two different worlds together even though you weren’t as familiar with one as the other, you can watch it and enjoy it and relate to it especially as a child,” Davenport said.

For kids who grew up with “Space Jam," the movie is still relevant.

“It’s still something that we watch today,” Budhai said. “This was when Michael Jordan was in his prime or like fresh off of his prime, so to see him in a movie is probably what makes it that more memorable or still significant today.”

If anything is for sure, “Space Jam” is not going anywhere. For others and myself, this movie will continue to be a valuable memory from our childhoods, and I believe its impact will endure many more anniversaries to come.


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