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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Space Jam - Two Disc Special Edition (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED).

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#1 of 15 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted October 22 2003 - 11:22 AM

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Space Jam – Two Disc SE

Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 1996
Rated: PG
Film Length: 88 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Enhanced Widescreen
Audio: DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
MSRP: $26.99
Package: 3 Pane gatefold with slipcover

The Feature:
In light of next week’s hugely anticipated Looney Tunes release and to coincide with the release, Warner Brothers is finally releasing a widescreen version of the family classic, Space Jam. Both previous versions were merely fullscreen, while this new Two Disc Special Edition sports an all new enhanced widescreen transfer. The set is packaged in an extremely attractive triple gatefold case with a silver slipcover typical of the two disc WB special editions.

Presently one of WB’s all time most successful family releases, the 1996 blockbuster Space Jam, grossed more than $225M worldwide and stars “His Airness and His Hareness” -- The great Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny and includes all of the Looney Tunes characters as well as many of the great NBA basketball stars who make cameo appearances.

Swackhammer (voiced by Danny DeVito) is the villainous owner of an amusement theme park called Moron Mountain and is desperate for new attractions. He will do virtually anything to get what he wants. Business is sluggish and he feels that Bugs and his friends are just what he needs to rejuvenate his sagging business. He sends a group of “Nerdlucks” to force them to go to the park. Bugs underestimates their size and thinks a game of hoops is a sure bet…

In an attempt to restore their freedom, Bugs Bunny negotiates a plan with the creatures to play a game of basketball to decide their fate. Needless to say, Bugs recruits the talents of Michael Jordan and his companions to help save them. A deal is eventually struck with Swackhammer. If they win the game, they’re free to go. If they lose, they’ll be slaves to the Mountain forever…

Believe it or not, Jordan’s appearance in a motion picture wasn’t as bad as his appearance at the plate… He really did hold his own and gave a rather admirable performance. Bill Murray’s appearance as well as the cameos by many of the athletes and with the newer animation incorporated into the film make it a visual treat that is sure to attract the attention of young basketball fans.

Well, to say that I was impressed would be an understatement. This is an absolutely gorgeous transfer. I don’t have any of the previous versions so I can’t compare them, but I can tell you that this version is sure to impress. I watched this with HTF’s Gregg Loewen while he was here doing a calibration on my projector and we were both amazed at the quality of the transfer.

Colors were gorgeous and very nicely saturated. Skin tones were also rendered seemingly accurate. The level of detail was outstanding. Dirt and scratches were virtually non existent. Blacks were very deep and whites were crisp. Artificial sharpening was also virtually non existent.

Obviously, for diehard fans of old Warner Bros. shorts, the animation found in this film isn’t likely to leave you sustained, so to speak. That is not to say it is bad, it’s just very different. In fact, for a family film, they do a great job blending in the newer animation with that of real live action. All in all, they did a great job and this looks most impressive, just don’t into this expecting 1950’s looking animation.

A stunning transfer…!!

This is a super aggressive soundtrack that I simply wasn’t anticipating. From the time the opening credits roll to the end of the film, your system will have had quite a laborious workout. I really wasn’t expecting this.

Most importantly (as always) dialogue was exceptionally clear and always intelligible through the constant action and various sound effects. There was a lot of music, everything from the Looney Tunes theme music to hip hop to rap which always came across very nice (OK… well as nice as rap can sound…) and sounded great up front. Directionality was always pin-point accurate.

The use of surrounds were extensive and employed tactfully to capacity to help with special effects. LFE was also abundantly deployed again, very tactfully and engaged when needed.

This audio track is outstanding. Very impressive…

Special Features:
This set comes with a plethora of special features. The feature film is located on disc one and there are also a few features located on that disc. The first is a Commentary By Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Director Joe Pytka. While some of the commentary is mildly informative, there is a lot of dead time. Bugs & Daffy try to ad-lib which becomes tiresome. Joe’s voice is rather dry and at one point I found myself thinking I was at an insurance sales seminar… Duration: 1:27:13.

The other special feature on disc one is the Theatrical Trailer which is in surprisingly rough shape given how impressive the actual feature looks. Duration: 1:16. Mins.

On the second disc, the first feature is Jammin’ With Bugs Bunny & Michael Jordan. Shown in 4x3, this is a “making of” featurette which not only covers the feature film but there is also quite a bit of discussion which covers some of the old animation showing some great old footage of many of the original directors as well as Mel Blanc… interesting, too bad it wasn’t longer. Duration: 22:33 Mins.

Up next is Adventures which includes four relatively new WB shorts. They are: Another Froggy Evening, Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers, Night Of The Living Duck (1988) and The Duxorcist (1987).

Bugs vs. Daffy: Battle of The Music Video Stars… is a modern cartoon showcasing Bugs and Daffy as TV hosts showing many great old clips of vintage WB animated shorts. Unfortunately most of which appear to be in rather shape. We can only hope for the day these are all released in their fully restored glory… Duration: 23:30 Mins.

Music Videos is the final feature on disc two. The included videos are Seal: Fly Like An Eagle and "Monstars Anthem", Hit ‘Em High Duration of these videos are 3:54 minutes and 4:52 minutes respectively.

There is also a DVD-ROM feature which is a multi level flash mini game; Looney Tunes: Back in Action video game. I didn’t spend a lot of time navigating this on my PC.

Also included with the set is a movie pass for free admission for one child to the upcoming WB movie; Looney Tunes – Back In Action which opens in theaters on November 14th.

Final Thoughts:
As someone who considers himself a Looney Tunes nut, I really have very little time for much of the WB animation that is post 1969. But hey, this is a family flick and a pretty darn good one. Don’t go into this looking for the brilliance of the old WB animated shorts. If you do, you’ll be soon disappointed. In my house it’s a film that has become a family favorite.

Space Jam is a terrific movie that’s sure to please young and old alike. Included are a number of special features and an A/V presentation that is of demo caliber. If you’re a fan of this film or if you are looking for a good family film, I can’t recommend this set enough. Highly Recommended…!!

Release Date: October 28th, 2003
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#2 of 15 OFFLINE   Casey Trowbridg

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Posted October 22 2003 - 11:33 AM

Herb, thanks for the review, I think this will end up on my Christmas list. I have one of the earlier releases, so I have heard the audio commentary before, and the way you described it is spot on. It will be sooooooo good to have Looney Toons on DVD, as of Oct. 28.

#3 of 15 OFFLINE   Ray H

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Posted October 22 2003 - 11:52 AM

Thanks for the review. I was curious when I heard Space Jam would be a Two-Disc Special Edition.

Doubt I'll be picking this up, but I haven't seen it in a good 5 years, so maybe I'll at least watch it again.

Also notice Disc Two doesn't feature R. Kelly's "I Believe I can Fly" music video. Posted Image
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#4 of 15 OFFLINE   Antony James

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Posted October 22 2003 - 12:27 PM

Hmmm...so the R Kelly song is missing from this release? How very odd. Posted Image

#5 of 15 OFFLINE   Kenneth Cummings

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Posted October 22 2003 - 01:35 PM

It will be nice to pick this up. While the extras ain't the biggest in the world, it the movie that counts in my book. Great review. Posted Image
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#6 of 15 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted October 23 2003 - 12:22 AM

Thanks for the review! Our family passed on the first two releases (they were both "fool's screen", ya' know); so we're really looking forward to picking this one up! It sounds as though the presentation of the movie, at least, made the wait worthwhile!

#7 of 15 OFFLINE   LisaDoris


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Posted October 23 2003 - 06:42 AM

Thanks for the review... I planned to pick this up along with Looney Tunes Gold Edition so I guess I won't be disappointed.

No R. Kelley video, gee I wonder why?Posted Image

#8 of 15 OFFLINE   LukeB



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Posted October 23 2003 - 12:21 PM

I could understand if it was THAT R. Kelly video, but I see no reason for WB to leave off THIS R. Kelly video. It's a pretty cool song, and probably the thing he'd most like to be associated with.

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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Posted October 23 2003 - 01:23 PM

Good review Herb. I just got this yesterday from a store that should have kept them in the back a few more days.Posted Image I think I'll watch it this weekend to get myself psyched up for the Golden Collection.Posted Image
Recently watched- Guardians Of The Galaxy 3D, Ender's Game, Escape From L.A., Highlander 2, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Escape From New York, The Interview, Trancers, Don Jon, Under Fire, Major Dundee: Extended Version, Brannigan, Used Cars, Hard Times, The Mechanic(1972), The Dogs Of War, Fast & Furious 6

Currently watching- Planet Earth, True Blood: Season 3, Gatchaman: The Complete Series, The Equalizer: Season 3, Tales From The Crypt: Season 2, WKRP In Cincinnati: Season 2, Star Trek: Season 2, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1, Game Of Thrones: Season 2, Heroes: Season 2, The Pacific
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#10 of 15 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted October 23 2003 - 04:04 PM

Well it took 6 years for Warner to finally do this right and for this dvd to finally make it into my collection.
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#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Brian Cruz

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Posted November 05 2003 - 02:22 PM

One of the bonus shorts on Disc 2 has been edited. All of Yosemite Sam's scenes in "Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers" have been removed, shortening the cartoon from about 11:24 to 8:32 (almost 3 full minutes!). Plus the "Bugs vs. Daffy: Battle of the Music Video Stars" TV Special has some very, very poorly mixed audio (compared to the VHS release from several years back), and also has some edits (mentioned here).
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#12 of 15 OFFLINE   Charlie O.

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Posted November 05 2003 - 02:49 PM

Why were Yosemite Sam's scene's cut? They didn't pull this crap on the Loony Toons box set did they?

#13 of 15 OFFLINE   willyh



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Posted November 05 2003 - 04:09 PM

I picked this up as a "bonus" disk when I bought the Looney Tunes Golden collection at Costco. The deal was $20 off when you bought the Gold Collection plus Space Jam for $17.99. I planned to dump Space Jam on e-bay, but after this review, I believe I will at least watch it. Sound like a pretty good flick especially since Costco paid me $2.00 to take it.

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Brian Cruz

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Posted November 06 2003 - 05:20 AM

[quote] Why were Yosemite Sam's scene's cut? They didn't pull this crap on the Loony Toons box set did they? [quote]

I don't know. It might have been for time, since it's an unusually long cartoon. It can't imagine that it was because of any violence because the Yosemite Sam scenes are no worse than the Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck segments.

All the cartoons on the Golden Collection are uncut. I don't believe that the people who worked on the Golden Colection were involved in the Space Jam set at all.
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#15 of 15 OFFLINE   kehi



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Posted December 15 2003 - 05:47 PM

Any special Jordan scenes?

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