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MOVIES: Space Jam: A New Legacy - Review

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If you thought the first Space Jam was a soulless corporate advertisement for Warner Brothers, A New Legacy is here to remind you that things can always get worse. A rinse-repeat like-for-like re-tread of the first film only with cameos from every film from Austin Powers to Ken Russell’s The Devils, A New Legacy sees LeBron James take up the mantle from Michael Jordan as the latest real-world basketball player to get turned into a virtual world where he has to team up with the Looney Tunes to play basketball in order to get his son back from an evil AI. It’s a fairly standard plot that takes every excuse it can for a getting the band back together style formula, with the Looney Tunes team separated throughout various Warner Brothers worlds - refered to, with an audiable grown from the audience - as the "Warner Brothers server verse" that are ripped straight from Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.

Only this comes without the heart or the care of Ready Player One that Spielberg was able to bring to the table - The Shining set-piece is still the best example of another work being paid homage to that we've seen from WB - who have been threatening to make something this dire for a while now, and show no signs of slowing down, with A New Legacy emerging as a soulless, made-by-committee driven blockbuster that showcases the worst dregs of modern corporation capitalism.

The sequel to the 1996 film fails to justify its need or relevance for existence other than being an extended commercial for HBO Max. LeBron James plays himself in this role and brings some charisma to the table but the plot he’s given is far to safe and soulless, the self-awareness of the 1996 film is gone in favour of a HBO Max-fest that speeds through plot beats quicker than Paul Greengrass cutting action scenes in The Bourne Supremacy. Zendaya can be justifiably wasted as Lola Bunny given her talent, introduced on the island of the Amazons. And on top of this, another casuality of overqualified actors in this project is also Sonequa Martin-Green, who is relegated to a role that Hollywood apparently hasn't moved past. If the film made us care about the characters then it could have worked better but it feels far too caught up in its cameos to give any kind of depth to any of its characters, like they were second nature to the WB adverts (there’s even a poster for Scoob in the WB Hollywood lot). Even cameos from Steven Yeun don't land as well as they should, as that's just all they are - cameos with no rhyme or reason to them. The fact that LeBron James dabs within the first 20 minutes tells you everything you need to know about the plot - it's a feature-length version of the "How do you Do Fellow Kids?" meme, or the "Am I so out of touch? No. It's the children who are wrong" line from The Simpsons.

Clunky and soulless from start to finish, even Space Jam: A New Legacy’s emotional beats are lifted straight from the 1996 film – everything that this film at least tries to do well is lifted from that movie, there’s no new ideas, A New Legacy runs out of things to say before it starts, and the soundtrack is entirely unremarkable. Worse still the animation is uninspired and uncreative – it looks like the evil AI at the heart of the film designed everything in Space Jam: A New Legacy himself, was told by LeBron James it sucked, and went ahead and released the same product anyway to prove him wrong.

A strong contender for one of the worst films of the decade already - that is, if anyone including King James himself will remember this in 2030.

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