Review: Space Jam is a Two-Hour Advertisement
The original "Space Jam," starring Michael Jordan and Bill Murray, came out 25 years ago. I feel old saying that because I remember being a kid watching Space Jam! I grew up in the latter part of the 90s and at that time Michael Jordan may have retired, but he was still a global icon. Jordan had a special charisma and the movie featured Bill Murray helping our heroes, which was awesome.
Now, 25 years later, we have Space Jam with LeBron James, who just failed to capture that original magic. I have to say it, in my opinion this film was flat-out not good. I do however understand that this film was made for kids and that my age may have played a factor in my disjoy for it. On the other hand, this film had stale comedy even for children, over-the-top bad acting, and product placement that was so obnoxious that it took away from the story of the film. Space Jam: A New Legacy felt annoying and instead was basically a two-hour advertisement for HBO Max and Lebron James. With all that being said, let's dive in!
The main premise of the movie is that NBA star LeBron James and his son Dom get trapped inside of Dom's video game by an AI (Artificial Intelligence). They find out that the only way to escape the game is by having James team up with the Looney Tunes in a basketball game that will determine the fate of James and the Tunes.
What I Love
This film carried a $162 million budget and had been in production since 2018. You could tell that Warner Bros. took their time to make the production spectacular. I think that is one thing that I really loved about this film. The animation was absolutely amazing and fluid. Honestly, I think this movie featured some of the best technological animations I have ever seen. Warner Bros. carefully crafted the animation and it paid off.
I really love that the iconic broadcaster Ernie Johnson was in this film, as he added a comedic element as well as another familiar face in basketball. The overall message of the film I thought was great as well. James eventually accepted that Dom was not going to be this amazing basketball player, but instead, Dom wanted to chase the dream of making video games. I love the message of pushing your kids to chase their dreams, especially in a children's movie.
What I Did Not Love
As I said before, I think that this film was mainly used to promote HBO Max. In this film, we saw all of the HBO Max catalogs referenced by Bugs Bunny or LeBron James. We had Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Rick and Morty, all of the DC Comics, Mad Max, and The Matrix. This film is telling you if you aren’t subscribed to HBO Max, you better do it now to see all of this amazing content! I understand that you need to advertise and do product placement in blockbuster films, but product placement should not take precedence over the overall story. The original had ad placement of the iconic Jordan 11 shoe, but it was not nearly as bad as this film.
My main grievance is the LeBron James praising. I lost count of how many times we heard King James, The King, More Than An Athlete, or the GOAT. If you didn’t know, More Than An Athlete is one of James’ brands, and of course, the nicknames are names we have heard all the time. The point is, this film was also a Lebron love and promotion fest. Instead of focusing on brand promotion why not try and develop the story? Just a thought.
The comedy was not working on me. Instead of funny jokes we had Porky Pig rapping. I cannot believe that was actually written in the script and then executed on the screen. I think the scene will work for kids, though. However, kids are not the only ones seeing this film! This scene made me cringe and shake my head from the stupidity of it. I hope I never have to see that again.
The acting was also so bad here. I will not critique James for acting, because he’s not an actor and I don’t think it's fair to critique him. But Don Cheadle on the other hand was flat-out bad! You could tell he did this movie just to cash in on a massive payday. I love Don Cheadle, but he was horrendous in this film.
Overall, I just did not get the feeling that the actors were into this film and that is a real disappointment considering the legacy that the original Space Jam left behind. If you want to see bad filmmaking and acting, this is the movie for you.
Overall Space Jam: A New Legacy failed to live up to the original and has no magic to it. This may have been the worst film I have reviewed. 1 out of 5 stars.