Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)

dir. Malcolm D. Lee

The tragedy of Space Jam: A New Legacy (and many sequels of its ilk) isn’t just that it’s an awful movie. It’s that it so entirely misses the point of what made the original a beloved classic. Gone are the wry self-referential jokes, the world-building, the clever fusion of animation and live action, the story- and action-driven pacing. Instead we have a nonsensical storyline about an AI programme hell-bent on destroying people through the inexplicable medium of a virtual basketball game. We have LeBron James finding himself in animated form and immediately, instinctively knowing cartoon logic and how to use it. We have references and cameos shoehorned in so cynically that the entire movie could be a 2-hour advert for Warner Bros media. Cringeworthy “homages” to the likes of The Matrix, Casablanca and Game of Thrones are complemented with an array of strange background cameos such as the boys from A Clockwork Orange or what appears to be Harry Potter’s Voldemort in a dressing gown. Save for a few exceptions regarding DC properties Batman and Wonder Woman, even the animation isn’t all that impressive – the 2D sequences range from impressive to underwhelming, but the classic Looney Tunes characters in 3D are downright terrifying. For it all to centre around a clichéd story of a father learning to let his son be true to himself, Space Jam: A New Legacy struggles to justify its existence as anything else but a tremendous waste of time.

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