Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021) – Movie Review
8th July 2021 Written by Peter Walkden
The ultimate NBA Basketball player and superstar LeBron James struggles to connect with his son, who enjoys making and creating high-quality videogames. LeBron feels his son should receive the same upbringing as he did, telling him to spend more time focusing on other things such as basketball instead of wasting time with video games.
But soon, Lebron receives an invitation to visit the Warner Brother movie studio to discuss a new film proposition. You see, at Warner Brothers, they have a state of the art computer system maintained by one Algorithm (or “Al-G-Rithm” for short!) played by Don Cheadle. When Algorithm gets offended at LeBron for rejecting his latest proposal and idea, he schemes a plan of revenge. The Algorithm tricks LeBron and his son into entering the Warner Bros servers, and they become digital. Soon, a wager is made, which requires LeBron to play a game of basketball in order to rescue his son. There is just one problem. LeBron James will need to assemble a basketball team unlike anything else to save his son. LeBron will team up with Bugs Bunny and the other fun characters from Looney Tunes in an all-new adventure.
Following similar beats to the original 1996 film, Space Jam: A New Legacy focuses on a new lead with the same characteristics that worked so well before- a famous basketball player. Adding a fresh yet familiar look is the return of the Looney Tunes characters (except for Pepe Le Pew!). Bugs, Daffy, Lola and the crew returning to the big screen is easily the most exciting element of this film and naturally delivers the film’s biggest positives.
Space Jam: A New Legacy is filled to the brim with Looney Tunes nostalgia along with references to various well-known films and even other cartoons. The film is loaded with so many easter eggs that movie lovers will find new things with each view of the film. I found myself having fun going down memory lane and being surprised by the successful integration of pop culture references.
It is a wonderful experience to see the Looney Tunes we have always loved appearing in a new feature film with excellent and updated visuals while reminding us of many classic moments from their past. The visuals and animation are, as I suspected they would be, a complete knockout. Sound effects are perfect, and best experienced in the largest cinema you can find.
While moments of nostalgia and pleasing animation are great to see, the film’s plot feels highly familiar. Because it is too much like the previous Space Jam movie, it has moments that feel unexciting, bland and predictable. Granted, as a sequel, it is more exciting to a newer and younger audience. Despite great ingredients, I found the plot uninteresting at times, especially when the audience is pushed to follow LeBron. As a character, LeBron seems somewhat flat and dull. A large majority of the runtime is spent following a lengthy basketball game that attempts to be random and unpredictable. While exciting, for the most part, the nostalgia can also be somewhat distracting as viewers will spend time looking for easter eggs in the film’s background rather than watching the core of the film on the screen.
Overall, fans who grew up with the original Space Jam from 1996 or those who love Looney Tunes will know precisely what to expect with this sequel. While elements of high-quality animation and a stack of fun nostalgia from other films and animations are evident, the plot is far too familiar, repeated and at times feels uninteresting to watch. The film’s lead also lacked excitement and sometimes felt dull. Space Jam: A New Legacy is undoubtedly a stunning film that will be enjoyed by those who are younger, or perhaps those who seek a brainless time going down memory lane and revisiting those crazy and wild Looney Tunes we will always love and never forget.
Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021) is Available in Australian Cinemas from July 15th!