Don Cheadle is an algorithm. It explains a lot. Here’s your SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY review.
I have no idea how to review a movie like this. It’s not like this is some sacred property. Sure the Looney Tunes have a long history, but as beloved as these characters are, “stakes” is not something you really attribute to their stories. This is supposed to be just a diversion, an upgrade from another movie that was weird just for existing. Given that it was created from a set of commercials that Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny starred in together, way back in the early nineties.
SPACE JAM was just funny enough to be entertaining. While Jordan is no actor, the rest of the tunes as well as entertaining turn outs from Bill Murray, Wayne Knight, Danny DeVito, and a few others made it kind of a fun oddity. It’s actual legacy really seems to be a website that has not been updated since 1996.
I was 26 when I saw the original and I can’t say I have any real affinity or nostalgia towards it, however I know nineties kids seem to have great fondness for it. So now we have a sequel and I can honestly say I think I hated it.
The original kept the stakes pretty simple. Weird alien running a theme park needs new attractions so he attempts to kidnap the Looney Tunes with a group of tiny aliens. Given their size, the Tunes have the bright idea to challenge these short guys to a game of basketball. The tiny aliens then steal the talent from NBA players and the Tunes get Michael Jordan to help.
Now, it’s… pfff I have no idea. Don Cheadle is a sentient program for Warner Bros that has self esteem issues? I guess? He wants to bring in LeBron James to do stuff while LeBron has issues connecting with his son and thanks to bad script and bad acting, he comes across as a real jerk most of the time. Though that might be just natural LeBron.
The other thing that I can’t stand is the misunderstanding of why the Looney Tunes are funny. They aren’t just random gags, though it may seem that way. These 7 minute shorts were genius in set ups and payoffs. They let the comedy breathe and grow more in those 7 minutes than in this 2 hours of movie. You can’t just do the payoffs constantly like an ADD suffering seven year old after 10 espressos.
There is one amusing moment in this entire thing, when Michael Jordan makes a cameo. Even that is done poorly as you end up waiting for the other shoe to drop a few beats too long.
Then there’s the need for Warner to do what the Lego Movies and Ready Player One did and that’s shoehorn in references and characters from every single property they have. It’s annoying and stupid.
Overall, this movie doesn’t ruin anything, it’s not enough of anything to ruin anything. It’s fluff. It’s not good fluff and commits the most heinous sin you can commit with the Looney Tunes: It’s not funny, its boring.
LeBron is a terrible actor and only is palatable when he is voicing an animated version of himself. Jordan was also a terrible actor but at least he came across as affable and likable. LeBron just seems like a prick most of the time.
The changing of the animated characters to CG had a story reason behind it, so it didn’t really bother me. Cheadle is Cheadle playing a bad guy. Bugs’ voice actor is terrible, I don’t know why they can’t find someone to sound like Bugs. The original sounded fine.
Also, stop making Granny really cool, the old trope of the Granny that ride motorcycles is stupid and worn out. Besides in the tunes heyday, that wasn’t her thing anyway. LAZY!
Ok, enough. Don’t watch it. It sucks.