Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Space Jam: A New Legacy Review: An Enjoyable And Strange Follow Up To the Classic Film

LeBron James	...	LeBron James Don Cheadle	Don Cheadle	...	Al G. Rhythm Cedric Joe	Cedric Joe	...	Dom James Khris Davis	Khris Davis	...	Malik Sonequa Martin-Green	Sonequa Martin-Green	...	Kamiyah James Ceyair J Wright	Ceyair J Wright	...	Darius James (as Ceyair J. Wright) Harper Leigh Alexander	Harper Leigh Alexander	...	Xosha James Xosha Roquemore	Xosha Roquemore	...	Shanice James Stephen Kankole	Stephen Kankole	...	Young LeBron (13 years) Jalyn Hall	Jalyn Hall	...	Young Malik (13 years) Wood Harris	Wood Harris	...	Coach C Jordan Thomas	Jordan Thomas	...	Young Boy Anthony Davis	Anthony Davis	...	Anthony Davis / The Brow (voice) Damian Lillard	Damian Lillard	...	Damian Lillard / Chronos (voice) Klay Thompson	Klay Thompson	...	Klay Thompson / Wet-Fire (voice) Nneka Ogwumike	Nneka Ogwumike	...	Nneka Ogwumike / Arachnneka (voice) Diana Taurasi	Diana Taurasi	...	Diana Taurasi / White Mamba (voice) Randy Mims	Randy Mims	...	Barbershop Customer

Release date: July 16, 2021
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee
Starring: LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Cedric Joe, Khris Davis, Sonequa Martin-Green, Ceyair J Wright, Lil Rel Howery, Zendaya

A rogue artificial intelligence kidnaps the son of famed basketball player LeBron James, who then has to work with Bugs Bunny to win a basketball game.

Allison Abbate	...	executive producer Spencer Beighley	...	executive producer Maverick Carter	...	producer (p.g.a.) Ryan Coogler	...	producer (p.g.a.) Zinzi Coogler	...	executive producer Jesse Ehrman	...	executive producer Duncan Henderson	...	producer (p.g.a.) Jamal Henderson	...	executive producer LeBron James	...	producer Justin Lin	...	executive producer R.J. Mino	...	co-producer Terence Nance	...	executive producer Sev Ohanian	...	executive producer Ivan Reitman	...	executive producer
Space Jam: A New Legacy had some big shoes to fill.  The film is not a remake of the original classic starring Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes, rather it is a separate story.  And it is fitting that the new film would star Lebron, arguably the best basketball player at the moment and someone who can make a strong case for GOAT.  But thankfully, Lebron continues his trend of enjoyable character actor with his portrayal here.  Movie LeBron is enjoyable and pokes fun at himself and his hard working mentality, and plays off well with the tunes.  And the movie goes through many different styles to tell this story.  The most enjoyable part was the animated style, where Lebron transforms into a cartoon to explore the Looney Tunes world.  But the movie doesn't simply stick to the Looney Tunes universe; it jumps into all sorts of Warner Brothers properties as it tells this story and assembles the perfect team.  These are very enjoyable little snippets into some classic properties with LeBron and the tunes changing their outfits and mentality to fit the film.  

The story is a long one and definitely feels like a journey.  The film has a long setup, which spends some time establishing who LeBron is and where he came from.  It's a little unnecessary considering it's LeBron, but seeing the highlights were enjoyable.  And as LeBron and the Looney Tunes prepare for the game, you get a sense of all the players and the various WB movies.  And the movie ultimately has a good message, encouraging kids to find their own passions and work on them.  You don't necessarily have to follow in your parents footsteps, and what worked for them might not work for you.  And despite this, it encourages a different type of work, but one that might not be as satisfying for old school sports fans.  

However, the film has this strange push and pull throughout it.  It is on the one hand a blatant advertisement for the properties involved (both Lebron and Warner Brothers) but on the other hand a wonderful, self deprecating jaunt through those brands.  It is a strange line to walk as the movie does have some really funny jokes and callbacks to classic movies and properties.  But it also has some cheesy lines that feel like they were inserted by a marketing agent.  And the actual game can be fun, but it also is pretty ridiculous.  The points are almost meaningless and it is a less enjoyable experience if the basketball just doesn't make sense.  There are some fun scenes and some craziness, but it feels like the game buckles under the insane circumstances it has been put under.  Maybe the inherent craziness was a nod to the Looney Tunes source material, but it just made the main event harder to follow and less interesting.  

Space Jam: A New Legacy has the King and a liberal use of some classic Warner properties, that is both an an enjoyable follow on to the classic cartoon basketball movie and a strange WB and LeBron marketing film. 

Rent it.

Gerald 'Slink' Johnson	...	Warner Bros. Security Guard (as Slink Johnson) Ernie Johnson	Ernie Johnson	...	Game Announcer (as Ernie Johnson Jr.) Lil Rel Howery	Lil Rel Howery	...	Game Announcer Jeff Bergman	Jeff Bergman	...	Bugs Bunny / Sylvester / Yosemite Sam / Fred Flintstone / Yogi Bear (voice) Zendaya	Zendaya	...	Lola Bunny (voice) Gabriel Iglesias	Gabriel Iglesias	...	Speedy Gonzales (voice) Eric Bauza	Eric Bauza	...	Daffy Duck / Porky Pig / Foghorn Leghorn / Elmer Fudd / Marvin the Martian (voice) Candi Milo	Candi Milo	...	Granny (voice) Bob Bergen	Bob Bergen	...	Tweety Bird (voice) Jim Cummings	Jim Cummings	...	Tazmanian Devil (voice) Kimberly Brooks	Kimberly Brooks	...	Additional Voices (voice) (as Kimberly D. Brooks) Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Nunzio Fazio	Nunzio Fazio	...	Game of Thrones White Walker Draymond Green	Draymond Green	...	Draymond Green
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Space Jam: A New Legacy is available in theaters and on HBO Max on July 16, 2021.  It will leave HBO Max after August 15, 2021.  For tickets to see it in theaters, click here

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