SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY Review: Colorful Kids' Caper Is Almost Completely Devoid Of Wit, Charm & Laughs
Space Jam: A New Legacy is set to hit theaters this weekend, but unfortunately for fans of the original, this stale rehash is far from the slam-dunk they were anticipating. Check out our review...
The original Space Jam probably wouldn't be considered an all-time classic by most, but it did have its share of fans, and a lot of people who grew up watching sporting icon Michael Jordan take to the court with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the rest of the Looney Tunes crew were no doubt looking forward to recapturing some of their childhood magic with this long-awaited sequel.
Warner Bros. was clearly banking on this, but instead of coming up with a fresh approach to the premise, basically decided to remake the movie - minus a few key ingredients like a single funny gag.
The story begins with a flashback, where we meet LeBron James as a talented kid who allows distractions such as his Bugs Bunny game to get in the way of a promising basketball career. His coach convinces him to focus and put the work in, and the rest is history. Fast-forward a few years, and James is a bonafide superstar who wants the same for his own children. His youngest son Dom (Cedric Joe) is a budding video game creator, but The King is having none of it, and pressures him into following in his father's footsteps.
During a visit to the Warner Bros. lot, the pair are sucked into the “Server-Verse” and held prisoner by a megalomaniacal program called Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle), who informs James that he needs to assemble a team to take on the "Goon Squad" in a basketball game if he wants Dom back safe and sound.
So, LeBron finds himself in Tune World, where Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Tweety Pie, Speedy Gonzales and co. agree to become his "Tune Squad," helping him face adversity and learn valuable life lessons like why it's really important not to be an overbearing asshole to your kids along the way.
A New Legacy is a somewhat bizarre viewing experience. As the story progresses, WB crams as many of its properties as possible onto the screen with wild abandon, with appearances from Drogon from Game of Thrones, the Justice League, characters from Harry Potter, and even Rick and Morty. At one point, LeBron and Bugs are inserted into an action sequence from Mad Max: Fury Road. Other movies have done similar (Wreck It Ralph, Ready Player One), but this feels especially forced, as no real effort is taken to incorporate these cameos in clever or interesting ways.
Even still, the shameless IP promotion might have been forgivable if it led to a few chuckles, but alas, Space Jam 2021 is a barren wasteland of comedy - a couple of smirks raised by the wacky wabbit aside.
The animation is admittedly impressive and young kids might be kept entertained by the chaotic antics of the colourful characters, but even the little 'uns are sure to lose interest as the final basketball battle goes on... and on... and on.
We're not here to tear a movie so clearly aimed at children to shreds, but when there is so much quality kid-friendly content out there, it's impossible to recommend Space Jam: A New Legacy. If you're looking for an animated adventure for the whole family, seek out Wolf Walkers instead.