“Space Jam: A New Legacy” (Rated A)
Cast: LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Sonequa Martin-Green, Zendaya,
Genre: Animation, Comedy/Adventure
Where to watch: In theaters/ HBO Max
Quick question, dear reader:
Are you over the age of 15? If yes, you might want to skip ahead about five paragraphs or so.
Otherwise, to my young readers, welcome! How’re you doing, sport?
Heard about “Space Jam: A New Legacy”? Yeah, that’s right – the one with NBA superstar LeBron James. They think he may be the “G.O.A.T.”
What’s that you say? Your dad told you about a “Space Jam” from back when he was a kid, with the “M.J.” guy that dad claims is “the real G.O.A.T.”? Hmmm.
Well, let’s not go there right now. But this one has Bron Bron and all the Looney Tunes – you do know who they are right? – and all kinds of awesome animation and colors, with some cool kids who are about your age, and I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to them and their issues. So, I’m pretty sure you’ll love it! I promise! Ok?
So, kiddo, give me moment. I need to address the adults now.
Are they gone?
Whew! Oh My Goodness! What in the world is “Space Jam: A New Legacy”? And, why?
Is it a reboot? It references the 1996 Michael Jordan film. So, is it a sequel? And why does it kind of suck?
Superstar LeBron and a fictionalized version of his young son named Dom (played by Cedric Joe), get trapped in digital space by a rogue AI (Don Cheadle). To get home safely, LeBron teams up with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang for a high-stakes basketball game against the AI’s digitized champions of the court – a powered-up roster called the Goon Squad.
Does any of that make any sense? I thought not!
Making matters worse: this is quite possibly the most self-indulgent, self-absorbed and self-affirming movie in a very long time. Not only is “A New Legacy” a praise-and-worship ode to LeBron – with lots of career highlights and “cutesy” jokes about his team-hopping, and jabs at rivals – but it’s a grand celebration of all things Warner Bros, featuring seemingly everything the studio has worked on in its nearly 100-year history.
In fact, with that anniversary just two years away, one wonders if this is meant to be an early celebratory reminder to shareholders about all the many properties under the gigantic Warner Media umbrella.
As such, we get references to classic WB films like “Casablanca”, along with plentiful nods to DC Entertainment and their many heroes and villains, plus cameos with TNT’s Ernie Johnson Jr. from “Inside the NBA”.
It’s actually overwhelming and ridiculous. And it comes on top of the not-as-exciting-as-these-folks-think trapped in an animated video-game style basketball game, with hijinks that are meant to be, but never quite funny or clever enough.
There are still movies that can be as fun for adults as they are for children. This, unfortunately, is not one of them.
There is, however, an entertaining little cameo with actor Michael B. Jordan – not that other M.J.
But otherwise, if you aren’t in the under-15 category, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” is an unnecessarily long chore and a bore, and an answer to a question not one person asked.
• Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio and station manager. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email email@example.com and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.