Space Jam was a classic amongst 90s kids when it theaters back in the day. Everyone loved Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny. Fast forward to the 21st century you have one of the most polarizing players in sports, LeBron James, and a Looney Tunes cast of characters that have largely been forgotten by most kids of today. So how does this new Legacy hold up?
Simple answer: it’s not the worst thing I’ve seen this year.
The film is directed by Malcolm D. Lee, serving as a standalone sequel to Space Jam(1996). It is the first theatrically-released film to feature the Looney Tunes characters since Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), and is also a combination of live-action, traditional hand-drawn animation, and 3D CGI effects. The film stars basketball player LeBron James as a fictionalized version of himself, along with Don Cheadle, Khris Davis, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Cedric Joe in live-action roles, while Jeff Bergman, Eric Bauza, and Zendaya headline the Looney Tunes voice cast. Set in a shared Warner Bros. virtual space multiverse, the film follows James teaming up with the Looney Tunes to win a basketball match against digitized champions to rescue his son from a rogue artificial intelligence (AI).
Aside from starting off as a self gratifying fluff piece about LeBron and an extended commercial for HBO Max, this space jam settles in to be an adequate albeit entertaining movie. I mean look at your not going to a movie like space jam for it’s deep plot and character development.
However, the films biggest issue is that it really wants to show the multiverse of WB more than the Looney Toons themselves. I mean it’s fun seeing the toons in things like Mad Max, Justice League, and Matrix but it overshadows the rest of the film. Best example of this is when LeBron is putting together his basketball team and he’s talking about assembling the like of Superman, Kong, and the Iron Giant. If he could get all those why even mess with the toons?
Now I could tear into the absurd plot of the movie (an A.I. that gets its feelings hurt so it kidnaps LeBron and his genius kid who just so happens to be working on an NBA Jam-like video game that the A.I. uses for the Space Jam game.) but that would be like punching a puppy. This film, on paper, has a more coherent plot than the original film but lacks any of that film’s charm or personality. Even the Goon Squad here are shallow imitations of the MonStars of the original film. The Goon Squad are just digitized video game versions of real life basketball players who LeBron’s kid scanned into his game.
As mentioned earlier, the film spends way too much time being proud of all its IP it has that it ultimately (like in real life) has no idea what do with any of it. It’s cool to see Game of Thrones characters hanging out with Batman, the Mask, Matrix, Kong, and the Scooby gang, but they only stand around in the background as a captive audience.
The film also is really long. It takes an hour just to get to the basketball game. This film could have easily shaved off 40 minutes and been better for it.
It’s telling that at the start of the film even LeBron turns down WB’s pitch meeting because it lacked originality or coherency. Maybe he should have done that in real life before signing on to do this movie.
Nevertheless, it’s fun to see the Toons back on the big screen even if it is in a bad movie.
HipsterZOMBIEJoint Experience gives the slightest of recommends for Space Jam: A New Legacy.How Space Jam 2 would have ended in real life…