Space Jam: A New Legacy 3/5
In 1996 when Space Jam hit the cinemas, it became somewhat of a phenomenon. We rarely see an A lister celebrity sports people cross over to film, and this was one very strange and odd occasion to have this happen. You take the biggest athlete on the planet, and you put him in a movie where he plays a version of himself interacting with a bunch of Looney Tunes characters.
On paper, this sounds like a recipe for disaster. However with Warner Brothers taking the risk, Space Jam was created. Making over $ 200 Million in the box office, their risk clearly paid off. However, it's not just any movie featuring a sports person, the film is actually very well made, and Michael Jordan could act. To complete the film was an unforgettable soundtrack that spawned some huge hits in 1996.
Fast forward 25 years later, we get Space Jam: A New Legacy. Talks about this film have been making the rounds for years! And finally in July 2021, we get to see it.
So let's see what works, and what doesn't
What works: LeBron James
Damn LeBron, you so fine! Alright, in all seriousness, he was really funny and suited the role well. While he was clearly playing himself, the version of himself he brought on-screen worked well with the story. Of course like Michael Jordan, he is not going to win an Oscar for this, but it is welcoming to see someone as famous as him take part in a big Hollywood blockbuster.
What works: The storyline
The storyline is this sequel is more heartfelt than the first film, Those with daddy issues should probably brace themselves for a tear-jerker. I am guessing the story was close to home for LeBron given his tumultuous childhood. In essence, a large part of this film focuses on LeBron trying to connect with his son who is a gamer/game creator rather than an athlete. Very 2021!
What doesn't work: The basketball references
Luckily I saw this film with my partner who loves his basketball. There were cameos by (apparently) some key figures within the NBA.
I had no idea who these people were, but apparently they are huge in the NBA world. Non NBA followers who do not keep track of the ins and outs may not get this, and will miss out on who these people are. I am guessing some of these storylines matter? Hopefully, I did not miss out on much!
What works: Bugs Bunny and Co!
Adapting this concept in 2021 is a risk as I would've thought the world has moved on from Looney Tunes. However this just worked really well. Perhaps Warner Brothers were targeting the parents who were kids in the mid 90's?
In a New Legacy, the characters get a 2021 animated face lift, and they are still adorable as ever!
What doesn't work: The Music!
While the original soundtrack spawned some great singles and ended up being a seller album for 1996, the tracks in the film pales in comparison. Some of the tracks sound quite average, and perhaps may take a few listens for the real appreciation to happen. Don't expect any ballads, it's just contemporary R n B at this stage. Maybe the other tracks in the album might be better. 2/5 Soundtrack rating!
Something random: Zendaya as Lola Bunny
The amazingly talented Zendaya voiced Lola Bunny. A strange choice to get a celebrity to voice this character. Regardless, she is a fantastic actress, and now gets to add the voicing of Lola Bunny and working with LeBron to her very impressive filmography. I hope we get a track from her when the soundtrack is released! I mean - you can't cast Zendaya in something, and not get a song from her!
All in all, this is a great movie for a family. It was corny at times, and bit maudlin at certain moments, but it still managed to hold its charm together. Watch this if you liked the original, or just leave it if Bugs Bunny is not your jam!