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Space Jam DVD C+, B

US/1996/Pan & Scan 1.33:1/DD,Surround/88 minutes/Directed by Joe Pytka/Starring Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny/Warner/38 Chaps/Theatrical Trailer/$24.95 

Space Jam, with its combination of animation and live action, is an energetic feast. With extraordinary color richness and madcap animation motion, Space Jam can show off the brilliance of DVD as well as strain the capability  of MPEG-2 decoding. I am delighted to report that I detected no DVD artifacts to mar the presentation of this disc. The level of detail is spectacular and the color is a beautiful explosion of excitement. 
It is disappointing that Space Jam comes to DVD in a Pan & Scan only offering. What prompted the powers that be, given the flexibility of the format, to short change the public by not offering an Anamorphic widescreen version on this disc as well. Can we chalk it up to the nature of the title as a “kid’s movie?” Errant thinking methinks.  
Space Jam is a kid’s movie, decidedly a kid’s movie. I am reminded of how well Who Framed Roger Rabbit, another ambitious combination of live action and animation, played to adult audiences, but the same can not be said for Space Jam. Featuring Michael Jordan as the champion basketball knight defending the Looney Tune cartoon characters from losing their freedom, the story is a stretch at best and fails to stay airborn with the best of Jordan’s gravity defying drives to the basket. 
Naturally, the animation is terrific and Jordan is a nice enough screen presence. Some of his scenes with the cartoon characters fail to come off convincingly, but he makes up for it with his handling of the basketball in the deciding game against the cartoon bad guys. Don’t expect to sit through Space Jam without young kid company. 
The Dolby Digital surround on Space Jam is dynamic and exciting. Combined with the vivid images, Space Jam, which includes the theatrical trailer, is an uplifting DVD to share with the children, but will leave little to talk about afterwards.