“I don’t understand this world.”
SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY (2021)
Here’s your chance, do your dance at the Space Jam. That being said, the first Space Jam is objectively awful. Made on the backbone of cocaine and corporate greed. But, I ain’t mad at it. I love the first Space Jam. I have since I was a kid. It’s a terrible commercial for both Looney Tunes and Michael Jordan. It fails at its sole purpose, but I can’t say I am ever bored watching it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I was very open to it getting a sequel. Whether it was with late great Kobe Bryant (Rest in Power, King) or with Lebron James. So in 2021 when I sat down to see the long awaited sequel, I just wanted to leave liking it. That was the base and nothing more. What did I get? I got a Space Jam sequel.
I’ll state off the bat that I should knock several points off, because it’s a fundamentally flawed movie. However, I can’t say I was not impressed with Malcolm D Lee’s direction. Looking at his filmography, this is his first movie dealing with size and scope. How he incorporated the 2D animation in the film was excellent and well done. I have to say, the last act has so many moving parts. So many extras in elaborate costumes and a lot of actors interacting with 3D animated creations and it all blended seamlessly. I was very impressed with how he handled all of it. Because that would be a daunting task. Taking the content in question out of it, dude did a great job making it flow and look great. No easy task. Unfortunately, the downside is that the bulk of the movie, outside of the animated bits, looks like a generic kids movie. It doesn’t have much flare outside to it. Perhaps by design, but it’s still not fun or interesting to look at. That being said, the important stuff that needed to look good, looked amazing. So I gotta give him props. It’s a far better directed movie than the first one. So there is that.
Okay. This story is garbage. It’s the same old tripe we have seen in a million other kids movies. It’s stale as all hell. It’s literally just the plot of Steven Speilberg’s Hook. It’s tiring. That being said, it at least has that going for it. Which means it has more than the first one did. This one actually had themes of fatherhood and family. (Be very grateful that the Fast and the Furious franchise is owned by Universal and not WB. Because you know they would go there). It also doesn’t do that theme terribly. So maybe for young kids, who are the target demographic for this movie (I think), this isn’t a bad introduction to this plot. It doesn’t fumble, it's a well worn out bag. It doesn’t try to extend beyond its limitations. It knows what story this and sticks to the script and I am glad they kept it basic with a sprinkle of substance.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
This is the part I am struggling with the most. I love Lebron James, I think he is an amazing ball player, good person and crazy charismatic. But I don’t think acting was meant for him and I think he knows that. He has some very questionable moments here and isn’t very good as a whole. But he is a professional athlete and not a trained actor. So, you get what you pay for. He also does better with the material than Michael Jordan did in his film. So I think it’s a wash. However, the people who made the first Space Jam knew damn well they should give Michael Jordan a long emotional monologue. The writers and directors flunked that test here. Cause James gives one of the worst monologues in a movie in a long time. It’s not his fault though, he should never have been put in that position to begin with. Don Cheadle on the other hand, deserved the fat paycheck he probably got making this movie. He kills it playing a manic villain. He left his amazing acting chops at home and decided to go ham. God bless him for it. The Looney Tunes were also really good here. Not all their jokes land, but the ones that dude are amazing. The Michael Jordan reference is some of the best dumb comedy you’ll find. My only real gripe with the Looney Tunes is that Bugs Bunny sounded off to me. But that’s more of a me thing than an actual problem with the movie.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
The effects are really good here. The 2D animation looks far superior to the original movie. There are a few moments where animated Lebron looks off. But on the whole it’s gorgeous to look at. The Wonder Woman sequence is spectacular. The blending of Looney Tunes characters into classic movies was also impressive looking. I also give the movie major Kudos to the fact that the CG animated Looney Tunes looked great and after a while, I stopped noticing they were CG. Overall, the look of the film is phenomenal. No real complaints here.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The score is generic and forgettable. But that’s not what I am mad about. Not all movies can have a John Williams score. A lot of composers are working on several projects at the same time. Sometimes this stuff falls to the wayside. I doubt any composer is gonna give their all to Space Jam 2. However, what I am mad about is that WB needs to stop having iconic 90’s themes and not using them. They pulled this with Mortal Kombat this year and they pulled it again here. What would’ve been the harm in playing the 90’s Space Jam theme? You know this is a cynical product and not any great works of Shakespeare. Your only goal is to entertain and please the fans of the first one. Play the damn song! Stop being cute about it.
This is probably as good of a Space Jam movie you can get. If you are a Lebron or Looney Tunes fan, you’ll probably get something out of this. If you are wanting something other than a cynical commercial, you aren’t gonna enjoy this. This movie doesn’t have much soul to speak of, but it is was dumb fun for 2 hours. I don’t think it was striving to be much more than that. It set the bar low and cleared it. It is nothing to be angry about. Yes, the WB IP being littered throughout this movie is sometimes overwhelming and cringy. But if I am being honest with myself, I don’t think I would be happy with this if it didn’t have a level of cringe to it. It feels like it belongs on the shelf next to the first one and that’s perfectly okay. It’s a commercial to be sure, but I don’t see any of you complaining about Super Bowl commercials. This is if a Super Bowl commercial were a movie. Your reaction to that statement is the gauge to know if this is for you or not. It’s not a slam dunk, but it’s a nice and safe layup.