Space Jam (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital)
(Billy West, Michael Jordan, Wayne Knight, Dee Bradley Baker, Theresa Randle, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray+Digital / PG / (1996) 2021 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: The worlds greatest legends collide in a future universe with Jordan as a live-action hero entering a spectacular animated world.
Captured by Bugs Bunny to foil a ghastly gang of space creatures, Jordan must play the basketball game of his life to save the beloved cartoon heroes from a hideous kidnapping scheme.
Blu-ray Verdict: Warner Bros. is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the brilliantly cute Space Jam in the expansive 4K Ultra HD video format this July 6th, 2021.
For my money, this Space Jam: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital combo packs sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.
So, what we have is Space Jam presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265, Resolution: Native 4K (2160p),
HDR: HDR10 Aspect ratio: 1.85:1, and Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1.
Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHDs, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.
Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what is more is that it is enjoyably noticeable.
For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; such as the fantastic (hey, this was 1996, after all!) final match between the Monstars and the Tune Squad scene, where Jordan and company face off against, well, an array of very colorful opponents!
Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material - notably the fine detail to the faces of the characters, let alone Jordan himself, in most all the Lola Bunny moments on screen!
As for the audio, well we have a veritable smorgasbord of choice here: English: Dolby Atmos, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, German: Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1,
Danish: Dolby Digital 5.1, Swedish: Dolby Digital 5.1, Norwegian: Dolby Digital 5.1, and Finnish: Dolby Digital 5.1.
Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.
OK, well, as for the actual movie, well, Space Jam is one of my favorite childhood films. Set during Michael Jordan’s struggling baseball career, the basketball legend is summoned to Looney Tune Land as it faces it biggest crisis: little aliens from an intergalactic amusement park have been sent to force them there as entertainment, and after challenging them to a basketball game, the aliens decide to take the talent of the best basketball players of the time and use it to transform into Monstars!
Yeah, this IS a good movie. The story is set around real life (as Michael is playing baseball) and it has some good characters. Wayne Knight (best known for playing Newman in Seinfeld and Dennis Nerdy in Jurassic Park) plays Stanley Podolak, who serves as one of the comic relief of the movie, and the film would be the one to introduce Lola Bunny, a female bunny who Bugs would have a crush on!
Also, NBA players Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Shawn Bradley, Larry Johnson, and Muggsy Bogues, who were NBA greats at the time of the film, star as the players who get their talent stolen, and even Bill Murray and Larry Bird are in this.
For voice work, Billy West (best known to some as the voice of Phillip J. Fry in Futurama as well as the red M&M) voices Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, with Kath Souric voicing Lola. Danny DeVito voices the films villain, Swackhammer. The voice acting is perfect, as the actors nail the characters they voice.
As for humor, there is plenty of it otherwise, it would not be a Looney Tunes adaptation, of course. With comedy, star power, and action, Space Jam is a must watch and always has been, but even more so now after the advent of 4K Ultra HD, trust me!
In summary, the animation within Space Jam is good (again, it was 1996, people!) as are the sequences where live-action takes over which were also very well executed.
The jokes are great too. Even adding in a love interest for Bugs was an interesting take. Too bad Lola was cut from LTBIA! The music, composed by James Newton Howard was also good, and fitting to listen to. It had all the characteristics one would expect to hear in a live-action animation feature film.
Taking a peak at a couple of the Special Features and although they have all been used and seen before, the cutest one has to be the short, but oh-so sweet Featurette: Jammin’ with Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan.
Running at just under 3 minutes, it shows how Michael Jordan gets, quite literally sucked into the animated world of Bugs Bunny, whilst on the golf course with none other than Bill Murray and just gets funnier from there!
Jordan explains how all the Looney Toons characters were those that he himself had grown up with and that, come one of the important games, when Jordan has Murray on the animated court with him, and he asks him to play defense, and Murray declines saying he does not play that position, it seems Murrays line was different and he changed it up to mess with Jordan!
This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:
Commentary from director Joe Pytka, Bugs Bunny (voiced by Billy West) and Daffy Duck (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker)
Featurette: Jammin with Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan
Music videos including Seals Fly Like an Eagle and Monstars anthem Hit Em High
On July 6th, Space Jam: 4K UHD will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers including GooglePlay, Vudu, Xbox and others, and will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Space Jam will feature Dolby VisionTM HDR, which dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range, and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame.
It will also feature HDR10+TM, HDR technology that optimizes brightness levels and contrast for each scene, making bright areas brighter and dark areas darker to deliver a lifelike viewing experience.
Official Original HD Trailer