Space Jam 4K review
Jul 07, 2021- Permalink
With the release of Space Jam: A New Legacy starring LeBron James this month, Warner Bros. decided to revisit (read: “capitalize on the nostalgia for”) the original 1996 Space Jam with the legendary Michael Jordan. To that end, we now have a 4K UHD release of the film. If Bugs Bunny, Jordan, and Bill Murray are your jam, then this set is for you. I had the chance to review the 4K and to make the lawyers happy, here’s the disclaimer: Warner Bros. provided me with a review copy of this movie. The views, opinions, and three-point shots below are mine alone.
The 2160p HEVC / H.265 encoded HDR10 native 4K digital transfer is presented in the theatrical release’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Space Jam is a mix of live action and animation, and this release is based off of a new 4K master. The image has more clarity and detail (live action faces, clothing and environmental elements) than previous home entertainment iterations and there’s a light film grain throughout. Note that the source material has always been a bit soft, in order to blend the live elements, animation, and mid-90s CGI effects more favourably. The HDR colour grading is the real All Star here and the live action and animated elements both benefit from pops of bold colour throughout the palette. Darker scenes do seem to suffer from some crushing in darker scenes, affecting the details in shadow. Given the aforementioned choices made in the original source material, this isn’t going to be a perfect video presentation, but it is a very good one and an improvement over past home releases.
On the audio side, we get an English Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1 main soundtrack as well as French, Spanish, German, and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks. Subtitles are available in English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish. The new Atmos track makes good use of the height speakers and the rest of your surrounds immerse you in the action so well that you’ll be lacing up your Air Jordans in case you get called into the game. Music is dynamic and dialogue is clear, centred, and well-prioritized, so that you don’t miss one quip from Bugs Bunny.
Included with the 4K disc is a digital code and a copy of the previous Blu-ray release. Except for the audio commentary by Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and director Joe Pytka which appears on both discs, the rest of the special features are on the Blu-ray and therefore there isn’t anything new. There’s a couple of music videos, an interview with Bugs and Jordan that aired on the WB network, and a theatrical trailer.
The Space Jam 4K’s video presentation is an improvement over the Blu-ray release and the new Atmos soundtrack sounds great. Fans of Bugs, Jordan, basketball or the Nineties will want to add this to their collection.