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SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY (2021) Review

Matt reviews Warner Bros. SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY saying “the Looney Tunes prove they stand above them all” in the sequel.

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Space Jam: A New Legacy (Warner Bros.)

Space Jam: A New Legacy stars LeBron James stars alongside Oscar nominee Don Cheadle, Khris Davis, Sonequa Martin-Green, newcomer Cedric Joe, Jeff Bergman and Eric Bauza. The film is set to hit UK cinemas on July 16, 2021.

Synopsis

This transformational journey is a manic mashup of two worlds that reveals just how far some parents will go to connect with their kids. When LeBron and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.’s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of professional basketball stars as you’ve never seen them before. It’s Tunes versus Goons in the highest-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron’s bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself. The ready-for-action Tunes destroy convention, supercharge their unique talents and surprise even “King” James by playing the game their own way.

Review

Come on and slam and welcome to the review of Space Jam: A New Legacy!

Back in 1996 we were treated to the original Space Jam where some aliens came to take the Looney Tunes back to their home planet.  The Tunes challenged them to a game of basketball where they roped in Michael Jordan to save their hides. In my childhood eyes this film was hilarious and funny and still to this day, it holds a special place in my heart. Flash forward to 2021 and the Looney Tunes are back on the big screen to play basketball again (albeit with power ups and vastly different rules!). 

Let me be clear, despite sharing the same name, A New Legacy is not a sequel to the original (although there is more than one reference to it).  This time the story follows Lebron James and his struggle to bond with his youngest son. Lebron wants him to be a basketball player like his Dad but Dominic ‘Dom’ James (played by Cedric Joe) wants to be a video game developer instead, proving his skills by developing a video game himself.  We are also introduced to the antagonist of the movie Al-G Rhythm (played by Don Cheedle) who is an advanced AI who creates ideas and franchises for Warner Bros.  Being locked away and ignored though he is a few bits short of a megabyte and through a series of events at the Warner Brothers lot he kidnaps Lebron and his son and traps them inside the WB 3000 server. This is where all the WB francies exist in their own worlds ranging from the Bruce Timm DC universe, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and even Wizard of Oz. 

Lebron teams up with an isolated Bugs Bunny and together they travel across these different worlds rounding up the rest of the Looney Tunes to help Lebron get his family back.

The original focused entirely on the Looney Tunes and their various characters but this time round the film is overflowing with characters from every corner of the WB worlds.  If you are a fan of easter eggs and cameo hunting then this is the sort of film you watch multiple times (my personal favourite was spotting Wakko, Yakko and Dot). This could be slightly distracting though during the actual Basketball game as I found myself focusing on the crowds of colourful characters more than the game itself. Having Al-G Rhythm go into rage mode, while funny, was lessened when I could not stop looking at The Mask, Pennywise and many others casually stood behind him enjoying the show.

Acting wise, Lebron will most likely not win an Oscar for his performance but what can you expect since he is a basketball player and not a professional actor.  He did put in a solid effort so props for that! Don Cheedle absolutely ate his way through his scenes and clearly had fun and massive props to Eric Bauza who is the newest voice actor to join the world of Looney Tunes and who has flawlessly captured the voices of these beloved characters while Jeff Bergman continues to be a Looney Tunes legend.
I knew going into the movie that I was not expecting anything in the vein of ‘Casablanca or Citizen Kane‘ story wise but I said to myself, if this made me laugh and feel the same vibes I get watching the original then I would be happy and I can say with certainty that the film delivered on these fronts. 

Verdict

Through a sea of Warner Bros. franchises, which at times were distracting to the main event, the Looney Tunes prove they stand above them all.  It was a slam dunk for televisions greatest and looniest of tunes for the new generation of fans and proof that no matter how old you are, the Looney Tunes will always make you laugh.  


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