JFS the Reviewer
Space Jam: A New Legacy review
Did you know that Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan had done commercials together? No
joke. They did commercials to help hype up the sells of Air Jordan, which were created during the time Michael was with the Chicago Bulls. I never saw them since the commercials came out when I was young, but they were successful, and kids wanted to buy them.
This would eventually lead to a movie with Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes. A movie called, Space Jam.
The film came out on November 15, 1996 and was directed by Joe Pytka, who only had done two films. Let It Ride (1989) and Space Jam. He is also known for his work on Michael Jackson’s music videos.
The film stared Michael Jordan as the lead, along with Wayne Knight, Theresa Randle, Bill Murray, Larry Bird, and the Looney Tunes themselves. The film had a budget of $80 million dollars, making back $250 million dollars. As for the merchandise sell, I really don’t know where to start with that. But trust me, they made a lot of money off of the sell of this film.
They sold comic books, shoes, shirts, toys, and even video games. This film was even the top ten highest-grossing films of the year.
Despite this though, the film didn’t exactly wasn’t that great. As a kid, oh sure I loved it and I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. As an adult, it has its flaws. Mostly with its story, humor, and even Michael Jordan himself. The man is an amazing basketball player, but not a great actor or even a great baseball player either.
Still, the film does have its fans and thought it was a good film. I still love it for other reasons, but I just thought it needed to be better. So, when I heard they planned to make a sequel, I thought okay this should be fine. Although, I did have my doubts.
I’m not a big fan of Hollywood trying to take something old and make a sequel out of it. Mostly because they have a record of doing it either years too late or ruin something that was already perfect on its own. This film is one I didn’t want to see a sequel of, because why? I don’t know how you could have made a sequel after how the first film went, but they found a way.
The buildup for this film may have not gotten as much attention as the first one did, but they still did a good job building everyone towards this film. Even getting kids excited for it with the merchandise, the commercials, and making sure not to show too much in their spoilers.
Despite this though, how did the film do? Was it good? Was it bad? Did they find a way to make a good sequel? Or did they find a way to mess it all up?
So, the plot for the film focuses on LeBron James and his son Dominic or Dom for short. LeBron is trying to get his son into basketball and follow in his father’s footsteps. Something his son doesn’t want to do and feel that his father isn’t letting him be who he wants to be. This causes a rift between the two and this is used against them when they’re trapped by an evil A.I. named AI-G Rhythm, played by War Machine himself, Don Cheadle.
So, Rhythm traps LeBron and his son in this virtual world, where he challenges LeBron to a game. If he wins, he’ll let his son and him home, but if he loses, then they’ll be trapped in the virtual world with him forever. So, LeBron must get the help of the Looney Tunes to play a basketball game and get his son back. And that is basically the plot, which I heard people compare it to the first film.
I will agree, some parts of it does feel like the first one and heck they even make some references to the first film, but that’s all. The rest is different, but I won’t get into it since I don’t want to spoil this for you all.
So, let me get the negatives out of the way. I wasn’t happy with the first act of the film. It felt slow and we already can see how its going to go. We can see the life lesson coming a mile away and know they’re going to patch things up.
I wasn’t a fan also of how they had LeBron putting so much pressure on his son to play basketball and how they made him seem like a jerk to his team.
I never met the man, but he doesn’t seem like the type that would force his kids to play basketball if they don’t want to and would be supportive of their decisions. I also don’t think he’d be the type to be a jerk to his teammates. I do get what they were trying to do for this story, but it makes him feel a little unlikeable in the film. Thankfully, once we get to the middle part of the film, they do have him become likeable later, which was a good move for them to do.
Now, for the positives. I like the motive of the bad guy in the film a lot better than the first ones. This villain isn’t a cartoony alien, who wants the Looney Tunes for their amusement park. Rhythm wants LeBron for his popularity and wants people to know who he is.
Rhythm is being driven by envy. He wants what LeBron wants and will do whatever it takes to get there. Even manipulate LeBron’s son to do it and gain an unfair advantage against him. And I have to admit, Don Cheadle looks like he was having a good time playing as the villain.
I also enjoyed how they had the Looney Tunes well be looney. Now yes, in the first one they did have some decent jokes. The ones for this film, yes some of them don’t work, but the rest do work, and I love the jokes they had for the film. It was so good, and I had so much fun.
The third act I must admit, there was a part here that I didn’t see coming, but then I remember it’s a kid’s film. So, they’ll find a way to give us a happy ending. They do and I thought they did a good job pulling it off. Again, it is predictable, and you know how its all going to go, but I still thought they did a good job with how it all went.
So, yes, the first act was a problem and took us a while to get to the Looney Tunes. Once we got to them, it made the rest of the film enjoyable. It was also cool to see them traveling to all these worlds that are Warner Bros. property. And it was a lot of fun to see all these characters arrive to watch the game.
All right, time for the actors. How did they all do?
Remember when I mentioned how Michael Jordan wasn’t a good actor and he should stick to what he’s good at? Not baseball or acting, but basketball? Well, LeBron showed he can be both a good basketball player and a good actor. He did a good job with his performance with the film, despite again my problem with him coming off as a bit of a jerk.
Still, I love his performance and his reaction to everything. With Michael, it felt like he was emotionless and wasn’t reacting how I thought a normal person should react. LeBron though, he reacted to what I feel was how a normal person should react. And gave actual emotions that felt legit.
As far as the boy playing his son, I wasn’t that happy with his performance or saw any chemistry between him and LeBron. He did a decent job, but I didn’t like his character with how he believed the bad guy right away about everything. The kid is supposed to be smart, but he lets this guy manipulate him easily. Just wasn’t happy with it.
I liked the chemistry between LeBron and Bugs. When the two are on the screen together, I really enjoyed how they work off one another. Heck, they have better chemistry than when Michael worked with Bugs.
Don Cheadle was also amazing in the film. You can tell the man had such a blast playing as this evil villain. It’s not often I see an actor who has played a good guy for so long, work well as a bad guy. It’s a lot of fun and it was fun to see him reacting angrily when things don’t go his way.
Everyone else did fine, but the Looney Tunes all were a joy to see again and how funny they all were. I get why people were upset though when Lola was not like how she looked in the first film. I didn’t mind how she is now and Zendaya did an amazing job with her performance. I hope then they eventually do a sequel, which let’s be honest they will, I hope she comes back as Lola.
The special effects for the film didn’t look that bad. For $150 million dollars, they better be. Still, I enjoyed how this virtual world looks. They did an amazing job giving every Warner Bros. property their own world and it was funny to see the Looney Tunes in these worlds. Daffy is lucky he wasn’t in the Zach Snyder DC World, especially with the problems he caused.
The animation when LeBron is a cartoon and meets the Looney Tunes looks good. I also could tell LeBron was having fun with his performance and reacting the same way his toon self is reacting. Once the toons become computer animated, they still looked fine. And I think this was needed to pull off the stuff they needed to pull off.
The design for the Goon Squad looked all right and were a bigger threat than the ones from the first film. With each one having their own abilities. I also liked the new way they have this basketball game. Making it different from how the Looney Tunes had played it and having it a lot like a video game.
The comedy for the film was an improvement to the first film, I liked the music, but not the new Space Jam theme, and was happy with how visually it all looks. They did a good job with how the film was shot, especially when all these Warner Bros. characters all appeared for the game.
So, my final thoughts on this film is that this is a good sequel. I know fans will still hold the first one close to their hearts and will always cherish it. I know I will, but I really did enjoy this sequel. I had more fun with this than the first one and they found ways to improve.
Now yes, it still has its flaws. But it is a decent film and one that is very entertaining. Its something that kids and adults can really enjoy. Its predictable with its story, but it doesn’t mean the life lesson isn’t a good one.
I know parents want what is best for their kids, but they should also try supporting them and their dreams. Be there to support them and help guide them to achieve their goal. Don’t force something that they don’t want to do. Let them follow what they love and just be there for them if they need you.
I feel like this life lesson for this film was better than the first one, which I honestly don’t think it had one. If it did, then someone can tell me what it is because I can’t think of it. But anyways, this film is definitely worth taking a look with your friends, family, and significant other. Have a good time watching it and hope you all have fun with it.