By now, you probably already know that Lebron James loves Space Jam so much that he wishes he could star in Space Jam 2. No big surprise there. Space Jam is awesome, and the concept of a sequel is absolutely terrific. Just think about the way you naturally responded to his statement. Did you smile? Did you high five a friend? Did you marvel at what an ingenious idea it is? Did you at the very least avoid throwing up in your mouth?
Then you’re with 99.9% of the population because this is obviously a fantastic idea. Since you’re already on board, these following arguments are for the .01% that can’t immediately see what a great movie this would make.
For starters, the Looney Tunes team is as relevant now as they were back in 1996. That is to say, not that much at all. Therefore, pitting them against an intergalactic team of cheating monsters in 2012 is as good an idea as when they did it the first time around. Plus, for a studio keen on utilizing name recognition to aid with marketing, this is a no-brainer. Decades-later Sequels have a spotty history, but there seems to be a lot of goodwill aimed at Bill & Ted 3, and since Warners is going to try to produce Dumb and Dumber To, why wouldn’t they want to pass the ball to a Space Jam sequel?
To be blunt, the original was little more than an excuse to capitalize on Jordan’s success and that strange moment where parents suddenly stopped being afraid of gangster rap. The same could be done with James (who everyone except Cleveland fans seems to love), and you could even keep the same cameos. There’s no fan that wouldn’t love watching Bill Murray in a funny hat call Dirk Nowitski “clear” while golfing with Mugsy Bogues.
Of course, Wayne Knight might be a little out of the mainstream by now (since it’s been years since he tried to steal all that Dino DNA), but I’m sure he could be replaced by someone from Modern Family without much issue.
For the studio, the merchandising potential alone makes it a slam dunk, and the fact that “It’s a slam dunk!” will automatically appear on the poster next to Peter Travers’ name is icing on the cake. If there’s any hang up at all, it’s that Warners is already distributing Thunderstruck which has a plot – where a young boy wishes for and receives Kevin Durant‘s talent – that’s awfully similar (minus the aliens of course). That’s a minor hiccup, and people may draw comparisons, but the studio’s relationship with Durant almost ensures they could get him to play Patrick Ewing.
But what about fans? What does Space Jam 2: Space James have to offer?
Beyond Bill Murray and pratfalls from famous basketball stars, it would give us a chance to catch up with Bugs Bunny and see what happened since we last left the story. How did Danny DeVito’s Mister Swackhammer enjoy living on the Moon? Did the Nerdlucks survive on their own without incredible dunking abilities? Did Michael Jordan have a successful return to basketball?
Perhaps he can be our entry back into the universe – an opening where Jordan passes the torch to James and explains the living existence of sentient drawings and the threat of being tricked into a space-based game of hoops with slavery on the line.
There’s also the promise of a little distracting fun – the kind of harmless wackiness that an 11-year-old Lebron James probably laughed his way into the aisles over. That brand of children’s only-partially-animated filmmaking could use a refreshing return, and if studios are going to find stuff from our childhoods to remake and re-franchise, it would be better to see something that isn’t a sacred cow get slaughtered.
Not that this would get slaughtered. I believe it can fly.