23rd Jul2021

‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ Review

by Alex Ginnelly

Stars: LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Cedric Joe, Sonequa Martin-Green, Ceyair J Wright, Khris Davis, Harper Leigh Alexander, Xosha Roquemore, Sarah Silverman, Steven Yeun, Ernie Johnson, Lil Rey Howery | Written by Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keenan Coogler, Terence Nance, Jesse Gordon, Celeste Ballard | Directed by Malcolm D. Lee

There’s not much that can be said in the way of complements for Space Jam: A New Legacy, in fact I can’t think of a single thing the film has going in its favour.

25 years since its first instalment the Looney Tunes are back playing basketball. This time around artificial intelligence (played by Don Cheadle) kidnaps Dom James (Cedric Joe), the son of famed basketball player LeBron James, who then has to work with Bugs Bunny to win a basketball game.

It’s never nice to sit through a film and know as soon as it ends you’ll have to write words to describe how the film made you feel, when you know, in truth, the film made you feel nothing at all. At no time did I laugh, or smile, a chuckle never built up and found its way out of me. I had no care for any characters, if indeed there are characters in this film, and the only feeling I truly have when I watched this film is disappointed. Not disappointed because I expected better, not disappointed at the filmmakers or anyone else involved, I was disappointed because I love film and over recent years I’ve come to expect good filmmaking from films that target a younger audience. Over the past decade we’ve been blessed with films like The Lego Movie, How to Train Your Dragon, Wreck it Ralph, Lego Batman, the Paddington movies, and everything Pixar has made. The point is no matter who your audience is there really is no excuse for lack of imagination, creativity and basic filmmaking. Space Jam: A New Legacy fails on all fronts, performances, set pieces, story and character arcs, plot development, and most importantly comedy.

There isn’t a single laugh to be found and that’s hard when you’re dealing with the Looney Tunes. The Looney Tunes have been funny for as long as I can remember, whenever I watched a cartoon as a child I laughed and whenever I see anything from the current show on HBO, I laugh. They get what funny is and how to be funny on all fronts. They know their audience and they deliver some of the best slapstick and witty comedy that all ages can appreciate. In Space Jam: A New Legacy they forget all that and the Looney Tunes were as painful to sit through as every other aspect, offering no actual jokes just lots of falls, crashes and bangs. They also try and pass off as many pop culture references as they can, praying that it counts as humour and hoping they’ll deceive us and no one would notice. But we did, we all noticed.

It’s the Warner Brother aspect of the film and all its properties it brings to the table that creates another massive problem. They play scene after scene from movies you’ve loved over the years and do nothing interesting, entertaining or funny with them. It just makes you wish you were watching any one of these movies. And unfortunately the film also looks bad with visuals that swirl in endless colours and bright lights that do nothing more that distract and disorientate its audience.

In the end there isn’t anything to highlight for the film or anything I have to say that leans in Space Jam: A New Legacy‘s favour, all I will say is I’d recommend not wasting your money on this.

* 1/5

Space Jam: A New Legacy is in cinemas now. For more thoughts on the film check out Kev’s video review of Space Jam 2.

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