Film Review – Space Jam: A New Legacy

Space Jam: A New Legacy (PG)

Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee

Starring: LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Cedric Joe

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

Another NBA superstar shares the big screen with a slew of classic animated characters in this sequel to the childhood favourite Space Jam.

NBA champion and Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James raises his sons Darius (Ceyair J Wright) and Dom (Cedric Joe) to follow in his athletic footsteps, however, Dom is more technically minded and has designed and created his own video game.

When the two visit the Warner Bros studio and become trapped in a virtual world run by an A.I. named Al G Rhythm (Don Cheadle), they must play an epic game of basketball against each other.

LeBron’s team mates are a range of uncooperative, misfit Loony Tunes characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweetie and more, while Dom is on Al G Rhythm’s team of virtual players based on real life basketball champions – and Al G Rhythm will not allow it to be a fair game.

There is charm to spare in this sequel that has been gestating for 25 years, and it is a thrill to see Bugs Bunny and co back up on the big screen, getting into all sorts of mischief. Director Malcolm D. Lee and his voice cast manage to capture their spirit perfectly, as if these were the original versions.

Everything in pop culture, especially characters that WB have the rights to, gets a shout out in this cameo and reference heavy film that gives Ready Player One a run for its money. Why are child tormentor Pennywise the Clown and Conjuring universe demon The Nun cheering court-side in a Looney Tunes kids movie? Who knows! And it doesn’t add up to much at all, but it is fun for the grown ups to be able to play “Spot the Character”.

The biggest mystery though is how on Earth we got a two hour Space Jam movie in cinemas. There is a reason why the original Looney Tunes cartoons clocked in at 10 minutes maximum. They were short, sharp, fast paced and hugely entertaining in small doses. Space Jam: A New Legacy is often borderline excruciating with its inflated running time.

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