Space Jam: A New Legacy is a mockery of its own existence.
In the first five minutes, you can already tell where the whole story is going. But given who’s in it and the clear target audience it’s aiming for, the movie’s cliches are at first, understandable.
Until its true intentions become obvious. Space Jam: A New Legacy is a showreel of WB’s best-selling TV, film, and animated properties. This includes Lola taking the test to become an Amazon and Wile E Coyote chasing Road Runner in Fury Road.
In case that isn’t enough, the game’s audience is comprised of all these characters including the Night King from Game of Thrones, Pennywise from IT, and the rapist gang from A Clockwork Orange. This isn’t an attempt at nostalgia.
Taking inspiration from algorithm scares, and mobile games, WB re-tools the original. This mainly involves writers going through the studios’ IP catalog and making a movie out of it.
Instead of tackling the obvious of what’s it like to shoulder the expectations of a basketball icon and his legion of bronsexuals who debate anyone that says he isn’t better than Micheal Jordan, you get an Ok, boomer dad who hates video games and pressures his kid to play basketball.
This half-baked father and son story has a half-assed “Be yourself” message. LeBron’s acting is not as good as his surprising turn in Trainwreck, but perhaps he isn’t used to acting with a green screen or whatever stand-in they used for the Looney Tunes. The rest of the cast didn’t phone it in.
And what about the basketball game? Once you make it past the exhausting corporate synergy of self-promotion, it’s enough with lowered expectations.
There are swirling colors, CGI, and live-action Looney Tunes. The Monstars are replaced with the Goon Squad. The opposing team is an inconsistent mix of villains with either elemental powers or animal forms (the usual suspects – a snake, a spider, an eagle). A fast shiny robot appears after halftime.
There’s enough to distract the kids, but parents shouldn’t expect it to be a good introduction to the Looney Tunes or a creative visualization of basketball. In one baffling scene, a rap battle commences in the middle of the game revealing the stuttering Porky Pig as a rapper.
The original Space Jam isn’t perfect but it at least knows what it’s supposed to be. The New Legacy is a showcase of corporate dominance.
Space Jam: A New Legacy
Space Jam: A New Legacy is an exhausting tour through WB's catalog. And Yeah, LeBron makes a couple of dunks.