OK, look, calm down. I get it.
I’m going to touch on something pretty controversial here, something that means a whole lot to millions of people. But I can’t be silent any longer.
Please, please, Hollywood, I’m pleading with you, do not make Space Jam 2.
The past couple of years, more and more rumors have been swirling about a Space Jam sequel. I’ve seen a lot of speculation over who will star in it, when it will be released and what the plot might be.
So now, as an NBA player, movie lover and grown man who has a Looney Tunes painting proudly hanging in his home, I feel it’s time for me to finally take a stand.
I’m a huge movie fan. Movies are a big part of my life. This summer I even had the opportunity to help cover the Toronto International Film Festival for the CBC. So please know that I don’t say this lightly: The original Space Jam is the perfect movie. The. Perfect. Movie.
It is a cinematic experience.
And that’s why, for the sake of preserving its greatness, we must never try to improve upon it.
To make a sequel to Space Jam would be like trying to paint the Mona Lisa again. Sure, you can probably do it, but why the hell would you want to?
With a lot of the remakes and sequels that have come out recently, I think movie studios believe that they can capture the same magic that made audiences love the originals. Either that or the first one sucked but made a lot of money anyway, so they decided to make another one.
Sure, they can throw in huge explosions, insane CGI and the same villain that was in the first movie (except like slightly bigger somehow). But ultimately what’s missing is the soul. You can have all the elements in place, but it’s still almost impossible to recreate great films, much less make them even better.
I think the reason the original Space Jam was so amazing was that it had absolutely no business being good. I’m a professional athlete, and I think most sports movies suck, particularly the ones that cast athletes in starring roles. It’s just a fact. But for some reason, by using like random aliens as a connector, this film about Looney Tunes characters and an assortment of semiprominent-to-prominent ’90s NBA stars just … worked. It captivated you. It felt like … it actually happened. Every sports fan has watched their team slumping and in the back of their mind thought, Damn, wonder if the Monstars took their powers. It seemed so real that the most unrealistic part of the entire movie was the suggestion that Michael Jordan lived in a modest two-story home at the peak of his stardom.
They really try to sell it, too.
Look, I get why they want to make a sequel. The money will be insane. I mean, I’m straight up saying I don’t want Space Jam 2 to get made, but I know that I’ll see it regardless. That’s how loyal the Space Jam fan base is. So you might be thinking, Well, with such a huge following, new actors and improved technology, how could they possibly screw it up?
I don’t know, maybe ask the people who made Independence Day 2. Or Zoolander 2. Or Dumb and Dumber To.
And look, I know some people will say, “But Space Jam 2 isn’t for you, it’s for the younger kids out there who hadn’t even been born when the original came out.” To which I say: These kids should just be watching the original Space Jam! It holds up. Hell, it gets better with age. Space Jam is a fine wine.
Sequels are pretty much never better than the original. Except Bad Boys II. Bad Boys II was the s***.
But beyond that, I think when/if Space Jam 2 is made, the hype will be unreal. The number of major celebrities and athletes involved will be staggering. The first Space Jam balanced a bunch of stars really well. It all felt natural. With Space Jam 2, I wouldn’t be surprised if egos got involved and they tried to squeeze waaaay too many athletes and celebrities into it. That only worked for the fight scenes in the Anchorman movies.
Also, the sequel would somehow need to improve upon what was, objectively, a perfect script. I mean, who’s gonna replace Bill Murray? Who on earth is going to replace Bill Murray? They could barely get him to do a small cameo in the new Ghostbusters, I’m not feeling optimistic about getting him for Space Jam 2. And make no mistake, Bill Murray is the Space Jam glue guy. Without him, the whole thing falls apart. He’s also got a handle.
Kevin James can’t do that.
The original Space Jam was also full of great lessons. Like remember how Bugs had that bottle of “Michael’s Secret Stuff” that he gave to the team to make the players better?
*Spoiler Alert for anyone who hasn’t watched Space Jam. Also, why did you read this far if you haven’t watched Space Jam? Go watch Space Jam!*
Yo, it was just water. They had the ability all along.
How you gonna top that, Space Jam 2?
In many ways, Space Jam was the perfect movie for the mid-’90s. Not only did the MJ story line work, but Looney Tunes were so much more relevant. Bugs Bunny was pretty much on an even pedestal with Michael Jordan in pop culture. I don’t think kids these days would truly appreciate the Tunes characters if they were to be used again. There are just way too many other cartoons taking up kids’ attention. So to stay relevant, the filmmakers would have to throw in SpongeBob or something. The plot would probably be something like the Nerdlucks flying into the ocean and landing in Bikini Bottom, then trying to be friends with Spongebob and Patrick, only to get humiliated and get thrown out, leading to their evil plot to conquer the sea. Maybe they team up with Plankton and Dwight Howard, who knows?
Here’s the thing, that plot isn’t that much more ridiculous than the original Space Jam, and I just thought of it off the top of my head. So if they did make a Space Jam 2, what would be stopping them from making a Space Jam 3. Then maybe a Space Jam 4. Then maybe Space Jam 5: EuroLeague. And then nobody will ever want to watch a movie, cartoon or basketball game ever again because it’s all been ruined by this movie franchise that was never meant to be. This is a very slippery slope we’re on.
I know this thing would make money. Kids dig bright fluorescent colors and characters that act silly. It’ll crush $200 million easy.
Some things are bigger than money, though. Some things are sacred. I think the rich legacy of Space Jam is one of those things. What a tragedy it would be if even one kid was deterred from watching the original Space Jam because Space Jam 2 was just horrible. We simply can’t let that happen.
We were welcomed to the Space Jam once. Why can’t that be enough?