Title – Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)
Director – Malcolm D. Lee (Undercover Brother)
Cast – LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Cedric Joe, Sonequa Martin-Green
Plot – NBA superstar LeBron James and his young son Dom (Joe) are pulled into a digital world by evil A.I Al G. Rhythm (Cheadle) where they must compete against one another in a very different and potential world changing game of basketball that is littered with Loony Tunes characters.
“If we’re going out, we’re going out Looney!”
Review by Eddie on 13/07/2021
There wouldn’t be many proclaiming from the rooftops that 1996’s Michael Jordan/Loony Tunes starring Space Jam is a cinematic masterpiece, but there was an undeniable and energetic charm to that real life/animated hybrid that ensured it became not only a box office hit, but a beloved childhood favourite for many children of the 90’s.
Operating at the peak of his world dominating powers, Jordan made for a fun leading man in the chaotic toon filled basketball heavy escapade and established his legacy as a once in a lifetime athlete and pop culture phenomenon but wanting to prove his metal as a claim to the throne of the true GOAT of the NBA world, Lakers superstar LeBron James spearheads this modern day take on the Space Jam brand with A New Legacy, a likely box office beast that sadly lacks any of the charm or spark of the original, as you can’t help but feel as though Malcolm D. Lee’s film is nothing but a James love-fest moulded in with a dream Warner Brothers marketing department idea that is going to make some serious money for the company over the coming months/years.
To be fair, A New Legacy isn’t a complete write-off, upon initially hearing about another Space Jam taking shape under the guidance of James and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler’s hand as a producer, one would’ve been sane enough thinking things could only turn out very badly for all involved but Lee’s film isn’t bereft of decent ideas and fun moments that come and go through its close to two hour run-time and there’s a nostalgic joy getting to once more see the Loony Tunes gang get a moment in the spotlight but thanks to James’s atrocious acting skills, a big collection of flat jokes and an incessant push from the film to cram in as pop culture references as it can allow, A New Legacy is more often than not a chore to sit through and one that potentially will bore its young audience rather than capture the imaginations of them.
Seemingly taking inspiration from Ready Player One’s rulebook, once James gets sucked into a computer-verse run by Don Cheadle’s delusional A.I Al G. Rhythm and forced to compete in a world changing Basketball match against his own son whilst reuniting a disbanded group of Loony Tunes members, there’s an obsession with A New Legacy to throw everything at as from a cameo point of view with everyone from the Joker, Mad Max and Harry Potter getting a run (or strangely enough for a kids film Austin Powers, Game of Thrones or A Clockwork Orange) and when the film resorts to scenes such as Porky Pig in a rap battle or James and Bugs Bunny going into the Matrix you really do start to wonder what the film is trying to do or who its trying to do it for?
Thankfully for us and for James’s reputation he ends up spending half of the film in animated form, saving us from more high school level of acting talents that would’ve further dampened A New Legacy’s struggle to find itself and stand on its own two legs, as it ends up feeling like nothing more than a reminder to us all that James is the greatest athlete on the planet (did you know?) and that you should probably buy some his or Warner Brothers merchandise if you haven’t already.
Final Say –
Saved by a few imaginative scenes and a welcome return from the Loony Tunes gang, Space Jam: A New Legacy suffers badly from Jame’s poor screen presence/acting ability and an inability to find its own identity amongst its endless procession of nods and winks to other properties and brand names.
2 cases of mistaken identity out of 5