|(drawn animation, some live action)
Bunny…Jordan! Two titans at the top of their respective games teamed up in 1996’s Space Jam, hooping it up for the fates of Warner Bros.' most famous cartoon faces. Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan and wascally wabbit Bugs Bunny had already joined forces in a series of television commercials, and Warner Bros. decided their live-action/animated chemistry was too great to be confined to the small screen. And so, with a host of cartoon and human co-stars, the b-baller and the bunny took their game to the next level.
Set during His Airness’ baseball-playing days, the film finds Jordan pretty much happy to be retired. There’s more time to spend with the wife and kids, more time to work on his golf game, and so on. Bugs, however, has even more than his usual share of problems. A crooked outer space amusement park owner named Swackhammer has been hitting a bad streak of luck recently, and to boost attendance at Moron Mountain, he dispatches his wee henchmen, the Nerdlucks, to kidnap Bugs and the WB gang. Bugs, Daffy, Porky and the rest have no desire to spend the rest of their lives as a theme park attraction, so they work out a deal: if the Looney Tunes can beat the teeny Nerdlucks in a basketball game, the gang goes free.
Ever the cheaters, the Nerdlucks steal the skills of five pro ballers-Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley-making them a huge, fearsome fivesome. Seemingly sunk, the Looney Tunes do the only thing that can save them: kidnap Michael Jordan.
MJ gets yanked down a rabbit hole and straight into toonland, where Bugs and company convince him to join up. But even an NBA All-Star might not be enough to whip this ragtag bunch of bunnies, ducks, pigs and Tasmanian devils into shape for the big game.
In addition to Swackhammer and the Nerdlucks, Space Jam also featured the debut of Lola Bunny, a curvaceous female rabbit with a kick-fluffy-tail attitude. Featuring hit songs like R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” and Seal’s cover of “Fly Like an Eagle,” the movie was a big hit, but Jordan decided to return to the court rather than pursue a sequel. The old gang still gets together for the occasional commercial, however, and they’ll always have the glory days.