The past couple years have brought on speculation by taking one of America’s greatest cinematic masterpieces and creating a sequel to it. More and more rumors have been swirling about who will be in it and when it will be released. However, this particular film is near and dear to my heart so I have decided to take a stand.
Please for the love of all that is good and holy DO NOT MAKE A SEQUEL TO SPACE JAM. Is nothing sacred anymore? Do you really need to squeeze every last dime and dollar from this beloved movie? Take a look at Dumb and Dumber, Zoolander and Independence Day for Christ’s sake. Did any of those sequels look good? No. Should all of those movies have been left alone so their nostalgic elements could continue to simmer on Turner broadcasting channels for all eternity? Most definitely.
Space Jam should not be touched by any person in any way, shape or form. Why? For a few reasons.
First off, the Looney Tunes characters are no longer relevant. Space Jam was released in 1996, a time when Saturday morning cartoons were an important staple of an American child’s weekend. Looney Tunes found rejuvenated success in airing cartoons on Nickelodeon in the creatively-titled Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon in 1988. The show aired until 1999, which apparently makes it the longest-airing animated series on the network that was not a Nicktoon, according to an uncited statement on the Looney Tunes Wikipedia page.
Where are the Looney Tunes today? Well in 2009, a Looney Tunes reboot was supposed to air on Cartoon Network. After several delays the show finally aired in 2011 and it was cancelled quickly after two seasons. Why? Because Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny didn’t have a monopoly on cartoon characters. Someone born in the ’90s is significantly more likely to recognize “ARE YOU READY KIDS??” than “Ehhh what’s up, doc?” Unless LeBron James, the reported lead in the Space Jam sequel, is saving Bikini Bottom from an alien takeover, his cartoon sidekicks will not resonate with the kids.
Second, Space Jam was not supposed to be good, but it turned out to be great. The writing had a hilarious number of issues. Whoever wrote the script saw nothing wrong with Michael Jordan, who made over $30 million a year in his NBA contract alone, living in a modest two-story home at the height of his stardom. Also, the only connection between His Airness and Bugs Bunny were alien cartoons that had never before been introduced. Use that as the crutch for characters meeting on an English paper and see what grade that gets you.
But somehow, it all worked. You were okay watching this as a kid, or even as an adult, and seeing these creepy little aliens take the abilities of NBA superstars to the point where you thought “Huh. Maybe that’s why my point guard went 0-for-10 last night?” You were fine with Charles Barkley stopping by an all-women’s game of pickup basketball and being invited to play while unnecessarily-romantic R&B music played in the background. And you were especially okay with the only notable female character being a cartoon bunny that was meant to be the movie’s sex appeal.
If a sequel is made, the intent would be to “improve upon” the original Space Jam, and you can’t improve perfection. Oh and Bill Murray is in Space Jam and plays probably the most important supporting role of his life. He lowkey carries the entire film from being laughably awful, to enjoyably nostalgic. Who’d play him in a sequel? Adam Sandler? Sandler probably can’t even ball.
The final reason for avoiding a Space Jam sequel is purely for historical purposes.
I was not lucky enough to watch Michael Jordan in his prime. I didn’t get to see him dunk from the free throw line in ‘88. I didn’t get to see the famous “Jordan Shrug” in the ’92 finals. I most certainly did not seen his famous “last shot” over Bryon Russell to win his sixth NBA title in 1998.
No, I was born in 1995. I had the pleasure of watching his embarassing years on the Wizards after coming out of retirement for a second time. I saw him turn a teenager into his emotional punching bag. I saw him leave my favorite basketball team financially destroyed until a man who later got suspended for bringing guns into a locker room momentarily saved them.
My point being, if it wasn’t for Space Jam, I actually would have had a very little grasp on understanding how great Michael Jordan was. In my six-year-old mind, Michael Jordan became the greatest player of all time when he outstretched his arm about 40 feet to sink the game-winning basket for the Tune Squad while The Monstars tackled him. No other moment of basketball history has implanted itself in my memory in that way and that’s something no other movie will ever give me.
So please, Hollywood, I ask again. Don’t touch this. Leave it be and let it go. There are still plenty of other franchises that can still be ruined with excessive CGI, overpaid actors and Michael Bay. Just don’t choose this one.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Space Jam Facebook Page.
Gabe Fernandez is a senior journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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