New “Space Jam” Too Concerned With Warner Brothers Past Glories To Succeed

“Space Jam: A New Legacy” reworks the core 1996 “Space Jam” storyline, replacing Michael Jordan with LeBron James and giving the plot a 21st century twist. This time, LeBron recruits Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes to play basketball against a team of monsters created by the uncontrollable computer AI Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle) to save LeBron’s son, Dom (Cedric Joe) and foil Al G’s plot.

This film has no chance of succeeding as a full-fledged story. It feels like we’re constantly trying to escape the shadow of Jordan’s “Jam” while still using it as a crutch. And while you don’t need to have seen the old movie to enjoy the new movie, there are several callbacks to the original movie. Honestly, it sounds a bit like the remake of ‘Ghostbusters’ from 2016, which wanted to be taken seriously as its own movie, but also couldn’t help but remind audiences of its connection to the classic film.

When “A New Legacy” isn’t trying to be a worse version of “Space Jam,” it works feverishly to remind you how many of your favorite movies have been made by Warner Brothers Studio. Most of the film takes place in the Warnerverse, a massive virtual reality starring different worlds based on popular WB properties such as DC Comics and “Harry Potter”. It’s a bit like the OASIS in “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 by picking up Bugs’ former animated buddies. This sequence is quite funny and creative, one of the highlights of the film.

Of course, it doesn’t end there. The climactic basketball throw takes place in front of a crowd of thousands of WB characters, from King Kong to Scooby-Doo. It’s easy to get distracted from the game whenever a new character that you haven’t noticed before appears in the background.

On top of that, the first act of the film takes its time to get started. The start of this movie is about building the momentum within LeBron’s family and while he may be one of the five most talented NBA players of all time, he can’t act. He mostly looks confused, like he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to feel or how to portray those feelings convincingly.

Another little gripe: When will the folks at WB do something cool and interesting with Marvin the Martian? You messed up my boy Marvin in this movie.

When you sum it all up, there are really only two reasons to see “A New Legacy”. First of all, Cheadle is pretty good as Al G. Sure, he crosses the line on more than one occasion, but at least he looks like he knows what he’s doing and is having fun. to do it. In fact, his performance pales every other actor in the film in comparison.

Second, Looney Tunes are themselves reliable. The animated parts are for the most part awesome, with some creative gags and all the chaos you would expect from Bugs Bunny and the gang. I’d rather they stayed in their classic hand-drawn shapes and didn’t have a CGI makeover that makes them feel like they could be in any computer-animated kids movie. But they behave like the Looney Tunes and that’s enough for me.

I might like “Space Jam: A New Legacy” a little better if I like basketball or if I like LeBron James. I think kids will enjoy this movie, and let’s face it: they are the target audience. But I can’t help but think that there is a much better movie in there that could have been made if the filmmakers had condensed the first act of the movie a bit and wasted so much time on us. remember how great Warner Brothers Studios’ past milestones have been. .

2 ½ Fedoras Indy out of 5

MPAA Rating: PG

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