Space Jam

Details At A Glance

General
Extras
Category Animation Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1984 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 84 minutes Other Extras Production Notes
Cast & Crew Biographies
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 4 Director Joe Pytka
Distributor

Warner Brothers
Starring Michael Jordan
Bugs Bunny
Wayne Knight
Theresa Randle
Danny DeVito
RRP $29.95 Music James Newton Howard

 
Video
Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Dutch (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1    
Macrovision Yes    
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Dutch
Arabic
Spanish
Portuguese
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
   

Plot Synopsis

    Space Jam stars Michael Jordan as himself in a combined live action/animation feature. The plot is somewhat thin on the ground, but boils down to Michael Jordan being transported to the land of the Looney Tunes to play in a basketball game to defend the Looney Tunes from enslavement by Swackhammer (voiced by Danny DeVito) at his Moron Mountain theme park.

    His opponents are the animated Nerdlucks, who have stolen the talent from 5 NBA stars, and hence are quite good basketball players. His teammates are all of your favourite Looney Tunes characters.

    A lot of needless NBA footage and advertising by the poundful stretch this mildly entertaining premise far beyond the length it should have been, which is a pity as there are a number of quite funny moments, including a number of digs at Disney ("what kind of a Mickey Mouse name for a team is The Ducks"). Bill Murray makes an appearance as himself, and Wayne Knight plays Sam Podolak, who is Newman transplanted from the Seinfeld series into this movie.

    In a nutshell, this would have made an excellent 15 minute featurette, but the 84 minute running time of this movie (including 7 minutes of credits) really dragged for me.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this movie is pretty much perfect, with two trivial problems.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was crystal clear and razor sharp. Shadow detail was fine, though most of the movie is shot very brightly lit. No low level noise marred the transfer.

    The colours were all vivid, bright and vibrant with no colour bleeding at all.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some minor moiré effects on one of the TV shots, but that was it. One short segment of film was affected by film artefacts, but the rest of the movie was in pristine condition.

Audio

    There are numerous audio tracks on this DVD. The default is English Dolby Digital 5.1. This is the track that I listened to. There are also French, Italian and Dutch soundtracks.

    Dialogue was always clear and easily intelligible. The opening scene with the young Michael Jordan and his father was very slightly out of sync, but sync was never a problem thereafter.

    The music is an unremarkable combination of rap and syrupy-sweet ballads. The ballads seemed somewhat out of place in a movie of this nature. The music is mixed into the surround channels so that you are placed in the centre of the sound field.

     The surround channels were frequently utilized, and aggressive directional effects came from all around the sound field. Left and right front directionality was frequently used with good effect. Music and effects were mixed into the rears, providing an overall enveloping sound experience.

    The .1 channel was aggressively used for music and for effects, to good effect.

Extras

    There are only limited extras on this disc.

Menu

    The menu design is unremarkable, though you are only able to select some of the scenes rather than all of them from the scene selection menu.

Theatrical Trailer

    The theatrical trailer is present on this disc, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Production Notes

    Extensive but hard to navigate production notes cover various aspects of the making of this movie. Once you have found all of the notes, they make interesting reading.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    Very extensive Cast & Crew Biographies round out the extras on this disc, including biographies on the animated stars.

Summary

    Space Jam is an excellent visual and aural experience, but as a movie, it should have been made much shorter - 15 enjoyable minutes makes for a dragging overall 84 minute movie experience.

    The video quality is very good, and nearly flawless.

    The audio quality is reasonably good.

    The extras are limited, but interesting. The menus for the Production Notes are counterintuitive to navigate.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Demtschyna
4th January 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer