Space Jam: A New Legacy (USA, 2021)

It has finally arrived after 25 years but is this sequel to the live action/animation sports film worth seeing? You may think so at first, but ultimately, it’s a failure.

NBA superstar LeBron James is raising his two sons to be like him, one who follows hard work and play basketball. However, younger son Dominic is more interested in video games. Not just playing them but developing them as he’s in the midst of creating a new basketball game. LeBron invites Dom to a meeting with Warner Bros. as they have something major to pitch to the star to sponsor. The idea is a VR-style program that allows him to be a part of the WB movie world.

When Dom tells his dad, he has no plans to play basketball anymore, LeBron attempts to talk to Dom. Soon enough, both Dom and LeBron find themselves kidnapped by Al G. Rhythm, the virtual algorithm who tries to boost up Dom while he also thinks LeBron could be a good opponent. Al proposes a basketball game in which LeBron will team up with the Looney Tunes against Dom and his team, which he calls the Goon Squad. Can LeBron and the reunited Tune Squad be able to stop Al and his team?

When Space Jam came out in 1996, it was a hit and featured the legendary Michael Jordan teaming up with the Looney Tunes in a basketball game against the Monstars. It took a long time for a follow-up to get off the ground. Over the course of the last few years, it was announced that LeBron James, who is coming off a cross career in basketball and acting, would be starring in the long-awaited sequel. The idea sounds good and does bring a bit of edge of bringing the idea of CGI style animation for the Looney Tunes.

While this seems like a good idea on paper, the fact that there are six credited screenwriters seems to be more troublesome and sadly, it is the case. The build up is promising, this time revolving around the conflict between James and his son, who dreams of being a video game developer rather than follow in his dad’s footsteps. There is also the idea of Don Cheadle playing the algorithm that puts LeBron in the world of the Looney Tunes. Another positive is that unlike Michael Jordan in the original, we get to see James in animation form.

Sadly, the buildup is a complete waste as the game itself is the biggest joke and waste of time. It didn’t have the same spirit of the original but instead of improving, it just fails on a major level. It is understandable that there is a connection between the challenge and Dom’s innovative video game. But it goes on a level that will guarantee to bring more yawns than the exciting pace of the original. The only cool things is the use of the Looney Tunes now going CGI, but the whole game itself is just flat out uninspired and just feels more “meh” than anything.

Space Jam: A New Legacy had potential, but the buildup leads to a complete disaster of a final challenge which is sad because LeBron James attempts to carry the film. But it is not his fault, but the script and idea of how the final game plays out.

WFG RATING: D

A Warner Bros. Pictures production. Director: Malcolm D. Lee. Producers: Ryan Coogler, Maverick Carter, LeBron James, and Duncan Henderson. Writers: Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keegan Coogler, Terence Nance, Jesse Gordon, and Celeste Ballard; based on the original film written by Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick, Timothy Harris, and Herschel Weingrod. Cinematography: Salvatore Totino. Editing: Bob Ducsay.

Cast: LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Cedric Joe, Khris Davis, Sonequa Martin-Green, Ceyair J. Wright, Harper Leigh Alexander, Xosha Roquemore, Wood Harris, voices of Jeff Bergman, Eric Bauza, Candi Milo, Bob Bergen, Fred Tatasciore, Zendaya.

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