Space Jam [DVD] £2.99 at Amazon & Play
Although at first glance it looks like a movie dreamed up by a marketing committee (and in some respects it probably was), Space Jam actually defies the odds against it to become a dazzling display of family entertainment. There's a kind of demented genius to the idea of casting NBA superstar Michael Jordan in a live-action and animated movie co-starring the beloved characters from Warner Bros' Looney Tunes cartoons. They play off each other like seasoned veterans of vaudeville, and Jordan never falls into the kind of awkward, amateurish showmanship that you might expect from a sports idol. He's comfortable in the cartoon land of his co-stars, who include Bugs Bunny and sexy newcomer Lola Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester & Tweety, Speedy Gonzalez, the Tazmanian Devil, Foghorn Leghorn, and Yosemite Sam. They've all been hijacked to an outer-space amusement park run by the Nerdlucks, who strike a Faustian bargain with the Warners' heroes: if Bugs and Co. can defeat the Nerdluck "Monstars" in a basketball game, they'll win back their freedom; if they lose, they'll be doomed to stay there forever as enslaved entertainers. So they kidnap Jordan as their coach and "secret weapon" while the nefarious Nerdlucks suck out the basketball skills from such stellar victims as Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing. It all leads to reckless abandon on the basketball court, and Bill Murray pops in for some hilarious support. Combining traditional animation and computer-generated Nerdlucks with its live-action cast, Space Jam was made in the anarchic spirit of the original cartoons, where anything goes as long as it's funny and off-the-wall (or the ceiling, or the door, or the floor...). Technically astounding, it's also witty enough to entertain adults and kids alike.