As A New Legacy bounces into cinemas, the original Space Jam hits home in a blaze of 4K Ultra HD glory. Ah, but is it rootin’ ‘n’ tootin’, or despicable?
The story: Woohoo! Woohoo! Woohoo! It’s the return of the Looney Tunes gang – Pepé Le Pew included – and their collision with the worlds of both basketball and real life, which captivated a whole bunch of ’90s kids (and adults alike). If you somehow missed the memo, aliens from the Moron Mountain theme park try to kidnap Bugs, Daffy and the gang as attractions to boost flagging attendance. As the aliens sent on the nabbing mission are rather diminutive, Bugs challenges them to a game of basketball, which will secure the freedom of the cartoon legends if they win. Easy-peasy, right? Uh, no, as the aliens absorb talented Earth-based basketball star talent and grow into the rather imposing Monstars. It’s time to recruit a real player to the Tune Squad… cue Michael Jordan.
“OK, OK, which one of you maroons has ever played basketball?”
The 4K disc: A new, native 4K transfer is the order of the day here, and it most certainly ain’t a stinker. There are some soft, even blurry scenes – in particular file footage near the beginning of the movie – but these were soft to begin with. Grain is usually present, but never glaringly so, and the collision of animation and real-world footage never has you questioning your suspension of disbelief. This looks so much better than we’ve ever seen Space Jam before, a lot of which is down, of course, to the HDR treatment, which gives us deeper blacks and brighter brights, but more notably turns up the vividness of the wild cartoon colours just the right amount.
If Elmer Fudd sent out a memo to the audio engineers involved with this Dolby Atmos presentation to be vewy qwiet, it certainly wasn’t heeded, as this track is a joyous, raucous affair that takes great glee in flinging cartoon mayhem about the surround channels. Height speakers are used to equally supoib effect, in particular in more cartoonish scenes as things go suitably nuts, as well as for crowds at the big game. The songs dotted throughout sound fabulous, and despite all that’s going on at times, dialogue doesn’t need to put up any sort of fight to be heard.
There’s one extra feature included on the 4K disc, which is an engaging, sometimes silly, sometimes enlightening (but mostly silly – yay!) audio commentary from director Joe Pytka, Bugs Bunny (Billy West) and Daffy Duck (Dee Bradley Baker). This also pops up on the very handy bonus standard Blu-ray that’s included, along with two music videos, a 20-plus minute featurette entitled Jammin’ with Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan and a theatrical trailer.
Release date: July 14, 2021
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, Wayne Knight
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.