“Space Jam: A New Legacy” reworks the basic story of 1996’s “Space Jam,” replacing Michael Jordan with LeBron James and giving the plot a twist into the 21st century. This time, LeBron recruits Bugs Bunny and the rest of Looney Tunes to play basketball against a computer monster created by the out-of-control computer AI Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle) to save LeBron’s son, Dom (Cedric Joe) and frustrate Al G’s plot.
This film has no chance of success as a story in itself. He always feels like he’s trying to escape the shadow of Jordan’s “Jam” while using it as a crutch. And while you may not have seen the old movie to enjoy the new movie, there are several calls to the original movie. Honestly, it comes off a bit like the remake of “Ghostbusters” from 2016, which was meant to be taken seriously as its own film, but it also couldn’t help but remind the audience of its connection to the classic film.
When “A New Legacy” doesn’t try to be a worse version of “Space Jam,” it works feverishly to remind you how many of your favorite movies were made by Warner Brothers Studio. Most of the film takes place in Warnerverse, a massive virtual reality with different worlds based on popular WB properties like DC Comics and “Harry Potter”. It’s a bit like the OASIS of “Ready Player One”.
This allows “A New Legacy” to have one of its best sequences, where Bugs and LeBron go from the real world to the Warner world ripping off Bugs’ old animated friends. This sequence is quite fun and creative, one of the highlights of the film.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. The classic basketball pitch takes place in front of a number of thousands of BM characters, from King Kong to Scooby-Doo. It’s easy to get distracted from the game every time a new character that you didn’t notice before appears in the background.
Also, the first act of the film takes its good time to shoot. The front end of this film is concerned with establishing the dynamics of LeBron’s family, and while he could be one of the five most talented NBA players, he can’t act. Mostly, it seems confusing, as if you don’t know what you’re supposed to feel or how to convincingly portray those feelings.
Another small annoyance: when will the people at WB do something fun and interesting with Marvin the Martian? You guys messed up my boy Marvin with this movie.
When we cut it all down, there are only two reasons to see “A New Legacy”. First of all, Cheadle is pretty good, as Al G. Clear, goes over it on more than one occasion, but at least he seems to know what he’s doing and he’s having a great time. In fact, his performance makes all the other actors in the film pale in comparison.
Second, Looney Tunes are your reliable jooney. The animated portions of this are mostly a blast, with creative gags and all the chaos expected of Bugs Bunny and the gang. I’d rather they stay in their classic, hand-drawn forms and not get a CGI makeover that makes them look like they could be in any computer-animated children’s movie. But they behave like Looney Tunes and that’s good enough for me.
Maybe I’d like “Space Jam: A New Legacy” a little better if I liked basketball or cared about LeBron James. I think kids will love this movie, and let’s be honest – they’re the target audience. But I can’t help but think that there is a much better film that could have been made if the filmmakers had condensed a little the first act of the film and had not wasted so much time reminding us of how past milestones have been of the great Warner Brothers studios. .