Space Jam: A New Legacy

Space Jam: A New Legacy

By James Davidson

“Space Jam: A New Legacy” is the sequel, or reimagining, or reboot, of the original 1996 “Space Jam” starring Michael Jordan. It was released on July 16th 2021 and is available in theaters and the HBO Max streaming service.  Lebron James, this generation’s greatest basketball player, takes his turn teaming up with Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Toon Squad against evil monster/basketball players in a game of arcade style basketball. In order to defeat the evil Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle), and save his son and all of his social media followers from being stuck in Warner Brothers’ “Serververse”, Lebron must defeat the “Goon Squad” in a basketball game. The “Goon Squad” is made up of some of the other greatest generational basketball players enhanced with super powers and video gamelike skills.

It is unclear whether this is a sequel or a reboot. There are a few vague references to the original film, but nothing definitive. I was a fairly big fan of the original “Space Jam”. As with most people my age, “Space Jam” was a memorable movie of my childhood. While it definitely isn’t cinematic genius, it was entertaining and a fun movie for children, something this new iteration is not.

This film seems to have been made for two reasons, to enhance Lebron James’ “legacy”, and as a shameless cash grab by Warner Brothers. Lebron is constantly referred to as “King” in this film, to the point where it became old and monotonas. LEbron James is one of the greatest basketball players of all time, I really didn’t need this film to reiterate that every few minutes. The original film didn’t need to remind me how popular or amazing Michael Jordan was, everyone already knew.

Warner Brothers also used this film as a blatant commercial for their brands and properties. The WB logo was everywhere and it was mentioned that this film was made by WB almost as many times as we were reminded that Lebron was “King”.They also grabbed the opportunity to make sure that all of their properties from “Harry Potter” to The Matrix”, even “Casablanca” were mentioned. Lebron and Bugs have to gather the rest of the Toon Squad who are scattered throughout these properties. Unfortunately none of these screen grabs of popular films, nor the cameo’s in them by Looney Toon characters instilled any sense of nostalgia.

Most of the humor fell flat for me as well. There were a few funny moments obviously that had me chuckling. For the most part though, the humor and writing seemed lackluster, mailed in, and unoriginal. It was almost as if the writers just assumed the audience would laugh just because they were using Looney Toons characters, or nostalgic content.

This movie is rated PG for some cartoon violence and language and seems to be targeted to younger viewers. Some younger viewers might find this film entertaining, but anyone who has seen the original will be sorely disappointed.

“Space Jam: A New Legacy” is a two hour long shameless commercial by Warner Brothers and Lebron James. If you would like to see these two entities promote themselves for almost two hours in order to laugh once or twice then this movie is for you. Personally I would skip this movie and just watch the original again. It earns 1.5 out of 5 stars

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