25 years after the original Space Jam garnered a generation of fans with Basketball legend Michael Jordan and his antics with the classic loony tunes comes its follow-up.
Hoping to provide that same sense of joy, relay the importance of teamwork and a message to parents to let your kids be whoever they want to be – whilst these are all admirable parts of the storyline, this one takes its Warner Bros. Catalogue branding to whole new levels of insanity and causes a major distraction.
A New Legacy comes with the latest in legendary Basketball names in LeBron James taking the lead, opening with his tough childhood and the hard work he put in to become the worldwide name he is today. These are the very fundamentals James tries to push on his teenage sons in the hope they follow in his footsteps. However, James’ youngest Darius (Cedric Joe) has no interest in Basketball, his passion is computer games, not just playing them, but building them too.
Flash to Warner Bros, who have this sparkling new Warner 3000, an algorithm or Al. G. Rithm (Don Cheadle) who is not happy with the lack of credit he gets. Coming up with a report for the Warner Bros executives that would see LeBron team up to bring them worldwide recognition and the big bucks Al. G reckons he can’t lose but when LeBron turns the idea down. Al. G gets mad and zaps not only LeBron but Darius into the “serververse” to pit Father and son against each other.
In order to win their freedom, LeBron has to assemble his own team of Loony tunes and beat Darius, Al. G and their Goon squad at the game LeBron is best at but this comes with a twist, this game of Basketball has its own rules, rules built by Darius for his very own game.
It’s hard to see the brilliance of the VFX work put into this vibrant, digital mix of cartoon and live-action when there are constant references to the vast back catalogue of Warner’s own arsenal of property from decades gone by; overkill is far too tame a word for it. As the game commences on the court, it’s near enough impossible to concentrate on the actual story while you try and spot as many characters as possible standing in the crowds. From IT’s Pennywise, to Mad Max, Marylyn Monroe to The Mask, The Matrix and more this becomes more about tooting your own horn on your past achievements than actually focusing on any new legacy.
Director Malcolm D. Lee hasn’t been much room to manoeuvre here, every inch of the action, the storyline and even the acting is forced against nature with the only light-hearted relief coming from a cameo from the B Michael Jordan. Even Bugs Bunny, Lola, Sylvester and co have to take to the bench and be reduced to nothing but half-time subs in what can be seen as only a corporate historical branding session for an audience who will be completely oblivious. That’s All Folks!!!
Space Jam: A New Legacy hits cinemas July 16th