I don’t know what I expected from Space Jam: A New Legacy. I went in with low expectations and by the time the movie finished 2 hours later, I could barely remember what happened. It was completely and utterly forgettable.
The plot focuses on LeBron James, who along with his son Dom, gets trapped into the Warner Bros. ‘Server-verse’ by an A.I. called Al G. Rhythm. In order to get home, LeBron must gather the Looney Tunes together to beat Al and his digitized team of All-Stars in a game of basketball.
LeBron must learn to relax his rigid expectations he holds of his son and the game, and embrace the “looney.” Obviously, they tried to stick close to the plot of the original, but their attempts to update the concept for the modern-day utterly fails.
Like Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph Breaks the Internet, a movie I still hate with every living fiber of my being, it seems like A New Legacy simply exists as a way to show off everything the studio owns as well as LeBron James’ so-called “star power.”
While, yes, the original also relied on Michael Jordan’s fame – A New Legacy had none of the charm, wit, or self-awareness of its predecessor. This movie barely utilizes its class of animated characters beyond a few classic gags.
It’s not until the latter half of the movie, the climax really, that Tunes are allowed to be themselves somewhat. During the journey to get the gang back together, LeBron and Bugs travel through different worlds, where the other Tunes (convinced by Al) have been living.
They’re not miserable. But they fit in oddly to plots – simply shoved in and adding their own spin on classic movie scenes. The only one that works, and even then not well, is the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote who are in Mad Max: Fury Road.
The rest don’t fit or make sense. It’s like Warner Bros. doesn’t think that the Tunes themselves are enough to sell the film on their own. Which is their own fault really…like why make a movie about your most famous classic characters, if you don’t even like them?
It’s like the Toons were secondary…It felt more like the other Warner Bros. IPs got more attention even though they were mostly in the background.
Which doesn’t even make sense considering that I’m pretty sure the movie’s target demographic is kids. But all the references they make are going to be lost on that generation. A 5-year-old doesn’t know what Rick and Morty is.
They don’t know about Game of Thrones, Austin Powers, or Casablanca. And frankly, I doubt they care. Warner Bros. has plenty of kid-friendly properties, so why not focus on those? You can still drag and drop the Tunes into clips from those films.
You own a lot of cartoons, my dudes. Use those. You literally have all of Cartoon Network (including Infinity Train) at your fingertips and you decide to put Rick and Morty in your PG movie?
If you want to capitalize on the nostalgia factor, make your target audience adults. Not their children. I hate how so many shows and movies today are trying to capitalize on those “good feels” of the stuff we grew up with rather than on new, original things.
For movies like this, you have to have so much pop culture knowledge just to understand the joke. They aren’t funny on their own – and I shouldn’t have to know who Michael Jordan and Michael B. Jordan are just for a one-shot movie gag. (Which was still one of the funnier moments of the whole movie)
It’s exhausting. It’s all the reliance on intertextuality in modern media that has made me give up on things like the MCU. No. I’m not watching three TV shows, reading tweets from a director and a comic just to understand what’s happening in like the 30th installment of your franchise because the first 29 aren’t sufficient.
The movie did have some excellent animation though. I liked how the characters changed art styles when they jumped into different worlds and their 3-D designs. And I would be lying if I said Don Cheadle wasn’t a brilliant, hammy villain.
He obviously had a lot of fun with his role and I can appreciate that. Aside from the art style, Al G. Rhythm was clearly the highlight of the film. Which is kind of disappointing in many ways.
I totally understand using the Internet/ Server-Verse as a setting in movies, but it seems like whenever that happens the writing suffers as the crew tries too hard to be up-to-date and hip on trends that will clearly be outdated by the time the movie is out.
Movie-making is a process. We understand that. We know it takes time. So please, stop putting dabbing into your films. Nobody does that anymore. Plus you have the other usual cringe: characters rapping, Granny saying “Haters gonna hate,” and a complete misunderstanding of how video games work. (I think)
Plus the 2 hour run time is too long. There is no reason for this movie to be that long. I found myself getting bored as it dragged on…and on…and on. 90 minutes would have been much more manageable and all you would need to do is cut out some of the server-verse and the film wouldn’t even lose anything worthwhile.
The film is so out of touch with the modern, it might as well be on the moon.
This movie isn’t even good enough to make fun of. It’s just boring.
There’s no charm or delight or understanding of the characters.
It’s just a thinly veiled commercial and nostalgia grab.
At least the original was open and playful about its utter nonsense and capitalistic birth. I’m glad I watched this at home because a movie ticket would have been a waste of money.
And that’s the scoop.
Year of release: 2021
Length: 115 minutes
Director: Michael D. Lee
Screenplay by: Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keenan Coogler, Terence Nance, Jesse Gordon, Celeste Ballard
Story by: Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keenan Coogler, Terence Nance