If you rated my expectations for “Space Jam: A New Legacy” on scale from 0 to 100, mine were a -1000.
The trailers made me nauseous. The 3D animation gave me the heebie jeebies. But hey, it’s “Space Jam,” it’s Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and I couldn’t live with myself if I missed another soft reboot.
I was 2 when Michael Jordan‘s Space Jam came out in 1996. Like every other 2-year old, I freaking loved it. The Looney Tunes characters from Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Sylvester the Cat, Wile E. Coyote, Lola Bunny (played by Zendaya in the new version) to Granny made me laugh harder than I had in my 24 months of existence. And that’s saying a lot. “Happy Gilmore” was released earlier that year.
The original “Space Jam” and “Happy Gilmore” still make me laugh to this day. I’ve fulfilled my manly duty of exclusively speaking in “Happy Gilmore” quotes the week of the Masters ever since.
That being said, watching “Space Jam” now is nothing like when you were a kid. The world has changed a bit since 1996. I’ve gotten older, pop punk thrived for a bit and teenagers attain global fame by dancing on the internet. The movies I loved back then have hit their expiration date.
So you could say I was completely shocked when Warner Bros. Pictures brought out all the bells and whistles and opened the floodgates to their entire IP for the reboot of a box office smash from the ’90s. You could say I was shocked when LeBron James took the mantle from Michael Jordan.
This raises only one question: Who cares?
“Space Jam: A New Legacy” Review
The Malcolm D. Lee directed movie is exactly what you would expect. It’s a fictionalized version of LeBron who can’t fathom that his son Dom (played by Cedric Joe) loves spending time somewhere else other than the basketball court.
They get into a little argument and the Warner Bros.’ content algorithm, appropriately named Al G. Rhythm (played by Don Cheadle), kidnaps Dom into the “serververse.” LeBron must win a basketball game to get his son back.
Along the way we encounter other Hollywood hits like “Harry Potter,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Matrix,” “Mad Max,” “King Kong,” “Rick and Morty” and “Casablanca.” Not to mention cameos from every pop culture icon imaginable including Superman and Wonder Woman. It’s sensory overload to the max.
Then we have LeBron’s acting, or should I say his attempt at acting. He shockingly let some personal digs leak into the script. The Tune Squad is still hilarious, however (shout out to Daffy Duck and Porky Pig).
The only gripes I have are the far inferior soundtrack than the first one and the lack of screen time from Goon Squad stars Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, Diana Taurasi and Nneka Ogwumike. I loved the side plot of the real-life NBA guys from the original dealing with their loss of talent.
All in all, the sheer ridiculous and insanity made the live-action film an extremely enjoyable theatrical experience. I laughed more than anticipated. It never dragged to me even though it’s almost two hours long.
It’s like I was being force fed a Warner Bros. all-you-can-eat buffet hosted by LeBron. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.