Space Jam: A New Legacy Is Different From The Original (And That’s Okay)
i entered the movie Space Jam: a new legacy with almost no expectation. It is, after all, a Looney Tunes movie aimed at children. I know a lot of you will be ardently opposed to this movie just because it stars LeBron James and therefore it’s an affront to Michael Jordan. While I don’t share this sentiment, I understand it to some extent. Hope as many of you hate reading this article as people hate watching TBH movie. From now on, the focus will be on the new movie only, so if you’ve only opened it to leave a message about MJ> LBJ, the comments section is at the bottom of the page.
LeBron James plays a fictional version of himself, basketball superstar / family man. LeBron wants his sons to follow in his basketball footsteps, but his youngest son Dom is more interested in computer programming and video game design.
Meanwhile, at Warner Brothers Studios, their AI interface, Al G. Rhythm, has the perfect pitch for a collaboration between WB and LeBron. When LeBron berates said pitch, it sends Al into a fury, and he goes to full Skynet. He sucks LeBron and Dom into the “Server-verse” and sets out to succeed anyway, kidnapping Dom. Al-G challenges LeBron to a basketball game: If LeBron wins, he gets his child back, but if he loses, he has to accept the collaboration agreement. LeBron can choose from the entire WB catalog to build his team. LBJ and Bugs Bunny travel the multiverse to form the team and reform the Tune Squad. At the time of the game, LeBron and Co learn that they are not playing a traditional game, but rather the video game version created by Dom. A high stakes game ensues.
What I liked
Don Cheadle absolutely owns the screen whenever he’s around. He plays a formidable villain and wears every scene he’s in. Lil Rel Howery, providing the full color commentary, made me fall in love with it throughout the game. The herd of extras dressed in various WB costumes circling the pitch during the game were also formidable. My son and I had fun pointing out different characters in the background. Finally, I enjoyed a little Walking Dead reunion with Sonequa Martin-Green as LeBron’s wife and Steven Yeun as a Warner Brothers executive. There was also a nice appearance at halftime.
It was cheesy and cheesy, of course. That being said, this is a Looney Tunes movie made for kids. If you were looking for Citizen Kane-type depth, you were watching the wrong movie. It comes down to the story of a father and son who are just not on the same page. Dad wants the best for his son but can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to what his son wants. Finally, dad realizes his mistake and finally understands what his son has been trying to tell him from the start. It resonated very well with my son, and I imagine a lot of other yutes there.
The Multiverse WB
I really enjoyed the way LeBron and Bugs bounced off different franchises. Seeing the two move from one universe to another was another opportunity for some substantive jokes based on individual properties. Seeing the Looney Tunes in the DC Universe was hilarious because they made LeBron Robin the Batman of Bugs. The army of extras littering the pitch during the game was a lot of fun for us as we watched.
What I did not like
I am breaking the rule I stated in the opening paragraph, as I am comparing this soundtrack to that of the original film. This 1996 soundtrack is amazing, easy listening with no skipping. This movie just didn’t have that.
LeBron Character / Story
His character was just too rigid for my taste. Very unique and robotic, with the focus being exclusively on basketball and nothing else. I realize this was to help put the overall story together (something I mentioned above that I liked), but I think his character could have been more interesting without changing the trajectory of the movie. Plus, that opening scene where a young LeBron throws his Gameboy 20 minutes after he got it because coach Avon Barksdale gave him a “pep talk” just wasn’t it.
He’s just an old man screaming at the time of the clouds. I prefer the traditional 2D style that we see for much of the movie. While FX was cool for going from 2D to 3D, it’s just not my thing.
In conclusion, I liked the film. I liked it for what it was, despite some things that I didn’t really like. As I have made a point of emphasizing throughout this review, this is a film made for children. I think one of the fairest ways to end this review is to receive feedback from my son, who is about to turn six. Here is his direct quote after he finished watching the movie: “I liked LeBron’s epic moves, but I think the former is better.” As they say, from babies’ mouths come truth and wisdom. That’s it, guys.