The 90s had a wide array of films that have gotten a second life thanks to the kids that grew up with them. One of the most bizarre films that had this distinction was "Space Jam", the film where the Looney Tunes teamed up with Michael Jordan to play a basketball game against aliens who ran this broken-down theme park and wanted the tunes to boost their sales. It's a film that does have its fans and I can certainly see why, but I'm sadly not one of them as I found it had a lot of problems that held it down from being the goofy film it probably should've been. Now almost twenty-five years later, Warner Bros Animation has given life to a sequel called "Space Jam: A New Legacy" in where the Looney Tunes team up with Lebron James instead. As a result, it's a sequel that does maintain some of the problems the first film had while fixing other problems resulting in a film that does have some fun to it even if it's not the most original film out there. It's by no means a good film, but I can't say I didn't have fun.
Famed basketball star Lebron James (himself) has been living a happy life with his family and is helping his two sons, Darius (Ceyair J. Wright ) and Dom (Cedric Joe) get into a life of basketball as he has. However, Dom dreams of getting into video game development and is at odds with his father over not wanting to be a basketball player. After having a disastrous meeting at the Warner Bros lot, Dom and Lebron are then zapped into the WB servers by the evil A.I., Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle) who is angry that Lebron didn't accept the WB deal and wants more recognition in the world. He then takes Dom and tells Lebron that if he wants his son back, he'll have to beat him in a basketball game before being zapped into the world of the Looney Tunes where he meets Bugs Bunny (Jeff Bergman). From there, Lebron helps Bugs get his old friends back from the other WB worlds so he can help team up to take down the evil Al-G and save his son.
Make no mistake, this is certainly not what I'd call a good film. There's a lot of problems this film has that are similar to the first one as well as new problems this film has alongside them. And yet, I can't say that I disliked this film from start to finish. It's the kind of film that is very silly and stupid but knows it is and has fun alongside it. For starters, the biggest issues with the film mainly come down to the story. Lots of people have pointed out that the film does at times feel too much like the first one which I do agree with as it even covers similar beats right from the very first scene, but that wasn't my biggest problem with the film. This story has been done hundreds of times before and it has a lot of scenes that are supposed to be heartwarming yet came off feeling cliched to me. I really just didn't find myself getting involved with Lebron's conflict with his son over the video games and Al-G trying to manipulate the son into rebelling against his dad. This exact same idea was done in Steven Spielberg's "Hook" back in 1991 and I didn't care it for then and I still don't care for this kind of story now. It's been done too much and it really didn't give me too much to care. With that said, I do think the stakes in the film do feel better than the original as it gives Lebron a reason to be with the Looney Tunes than in the first one where Michael Jordan was randomly pulled in to stop the aliens from putting the Tunes in a theme park. However, I will say what makes up for it is when the Looney Tunes come in and start doing their shtick. It's always fun to see these classic characters again and I got some laughs out of seeing them in films like "Casablanca", "Mad Max: Fury Road", and "The Matrix". It was so gloriously silly and stupid yet I did have some fun with it. The game is also enjoyable and is fun even if I think it went on a bit too long and should've been trimmed down. I also do wanna briefly talk about the product placement that has been the subject of must discussion. While the stuff with the Warner Bros IPs is a little too much and probably overdone, it didn't bother me nearly as much as other product placement drops. It's apparent right from the start where a young Lebron is handed a Game Boy and also when he enters the Looney Tune world, he crawls out of a crater shaped like the Nike logo. Stuff like that really made me roll my eyes. It felt really shameless. The whole film's product placement really should have been toned down a lot. The animation in this film is indeed fantastic. The traditional animation does get to shine a lot in this film and I felt it along with the CG designs blended well with the live-action environments. It was easily the highlight of the film and I got to applaud the artists for making it look great. It's easily the biggest highlight of the film for sure. I should also talk about the characters as well because another huge advantage this film has over the original is that the Looney Tunes actually felt like their original selves. It was so fun to see characters like Bugs, Daffy, Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester, Tweety, Wile E. Coyote, and the Road Runner in this film and also acting like themselves and the voice actors like Bergman, Eric Bauza, Bob Bergen, and Jim Cummings are clearly having a ball playing these characters. It's a delight to watch them and they all have moments to shine and be themselves. As for the others, they're mostly fine for what it's worth. Lebron's acting leaves little to be desired, but I thought he was fine playing himself even if his character is the stubborn father who warms to their son by the end of the film. Dom is also fine as the son who wants to go a different path from his father though his character doesn't have much I can say about it. Al-G was a very over-the-top and generic villain who spits out lines that have been uttered so many times they've become cliched, but he's mostly saved by Don Cheadle's over-the-top performance who was clearly having the time of his life playing this character. He was hamming it up to eleven and going above and beyond and it made me laugh at times due to how stupid it was.
Honestly, "Space Jam: A New Legacy" is what I'd call silly mindless fun. It's by no means a good movie as the story and character use generic tropes that don't bring anything new to the table, but it has plenty of funny moments with the Looney Tunes and great animation that slightly make up for it. This film is certainly not going to appeal to everyone but for mindless entertainment, I thought it was okay. It's no slam dunk, but it shoots a few hoops.