I was just three years old when Michael Jordan teamed up with Bugs Bunny to create the lighting in a bottle film Space Jam, and here I am now being able live in a world where we have a sequel to it. Here I was thinking Covid was the most impossible thing that could happen. Space Jam is something that, when you look at it closely, is clearly not a great film, but I remember it fondly as much as I do with actual cinematic masterpieces. It’s a film that you adore but can’t quite put your finger on why. I mean it has everything we see as wrong with cinema nowadays, but it’s still beloved. That same love however, will not be passing on to its sequel because Warner Brothers have exploited something so beloved for its own selfish means of advertising its many properties.
Before that inevitable rant thought there are a few things that first need to be addressed. One of those being from a nostalgic point, how great it is to see the Looney Tunes back on the big screen. These are timeless characters that should never, ever be forgotten by any generation. If you love these characters and feel your heart getting warmer whilst watching them in this film, then good for you.
Basketball’s newest G.O.A.T LeBron James takes over the mantle Michael Jordan left behind, in surprisingly not his first acting role. It’s almost impossible to harshly criticise someone’s performance in this situation because let’s be real here, Michael Jordan wasn’t any better. I kind of expected LeBron to not be this surprise package because acting is, of course, not within his comfort zone, he’s a basketball player, end of. The best compliment I can give LeBron is that he’s better than performances in “so bad it’s good” films.
But please, do not think this film falls in the aforementioned category. If you want just a one second summary of what this film actually is, go watch the bit in the first Space Jam where Daffy duck smooches his own rear with the Warner Brother logo is. Space Jam: A New Legacy is a film where Warner Brother can flex how big the company is in Hollywood. It seems every Warner Brothers property features in this film, you have references to Harry Potter, Games of Thrones, DC etc. They aren’t exactly there to be involved in the story, just a reminder of how many things you love are owned by Warner Brothers. Many of these references show up in the film’s basketball game as the crowd and it’s incredibly distracting when you want to actually see the game, you spot Pennywise and The Mask in the audience along with other characters the company owns. It’s almost like Warner Brothers did this on purpose… who am I kidding, it’s EXACTLY like Warner Brothers did this on purpose, it’s actually incredible how close this film is to being just straight up commercial propaganda.
Though it’s not just Warner Brothers implementing themselves in the film. Much like how Michael Jordan’s corporate backers were stuffed into Space Jam, LeBron’s corporate backers are present here. But there is a big difference, you see in the original Space Jam, Michael Jordan’s sponsors were condensed into a single line of dialogue. Product placement in Space Jam: a New Legacy however is rampant and done in the most shameless way. For instance, in the scene which LeBron is sent to The Tune World, he crashes to the ground forms a hole in the shape of the Nike logo. Yeah, we’re dealing with that level of shamelessness.
There was a lot of strange controversy surrounding the new design of Lola Bunny in this film. Anyone who watched the original Space Jam will definitely remember how oversexualised her character was, but in Space Jam: A New Legacy, she has been a complete transformation from an animated sex symbol to a strong, female character, which is a much-needed change. However, I think the real controversy should be that her role as a romantic interest to Bugs Bunny is wiped from the script. What a completely missed opportunity this is. Part of the story is getting the Looney Tunes back together for the basketball game, including Lola, which opens up so many avenues to explore as to why she left Bugs and what Bugs has to do to get her back. This film had SIX screenwriters and not one of them thought to carry on this romance dynamic between the two?
I hate to see this kind of manipulation is still a thing in our cinemas today. There are many out there who were excited to see a Space Jam sequel, and they’re still going to be waiting. This is not a Space Jam sequel, this is a poisonous tactic for revenue. It feels like telling Warner Brothers to be ashamed of themselves is a complete waste of time because I don’t think they even have the human capabilities of feeling shame. If this is indeed the new legacy of Space Jam, I want no part of it.
Final Result: 2/10 – Very Poor
Have you seen Space Jam: A New Legacy? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Wrath of Man