Why Space Jam: A New Legacy Was A Missed Opportunity

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Why Space Jam: A New Legacy Was A Missed Opportunity

Why Space Jam: A New Legacy Was A Missed Opportunity

For most 90’s kids, when you think about nostalgia, Michael Jordan’s Space Jam comes to mind. Granted, Space Jam isn’t in the same class as Pulp Fiction or Seven, so no one considers that film to be a cinematic classic, but there’s a certain charm that the 1996 feature has that captured the hearts of many citizens who favor that generation of films.  Of course, Space Jam did solid business at the box office, so it’s no particular surprise that the film got an eventual sequel nearly 20-years later. This time, Lebron James steps into the spotlight as he and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space like Michael Jordan was in the first film. The beats of the sequel are identical to the first: Lebron gathers a team of Looney Tunes to take on a powered-up roster chosen by the evil Al G. Rhythm. It’s Tunes vs. Goons, with the stakes of Lebron, Dom, and everyone inside of the universe being trapped there forever should the Looney Tunes team lose.

Even if you didn’t see the film, but fondly remember the first, you can guess who won in the end. Space Jam: A New Legacy came out to abysmal reviews, with most critics labeling the sequel a boring, shameless branding commercial that doesn’t have any reason to exist other than to milk the cash cow dry. Honestly, I can’t help agreeing with this statement. As I previously mentioned, the original Space Jam is by no means a classic. I genuinely love the movie, but I’m aware enough to take off the rose-colored glasses and notice the bad acting and hit-and-miss jokes. However, there are genuinely funny moments in the film like Bill Murray popping up for a surprise cameo or Lola Bunny destroying a love-sick Bugs in a one-on-one game. Michael Jordan is never winning the best actor Oscar and his character is pretty bland overall, but there’s nice chemistry between him and his interactions with the various Looney Tunes. Space Jam can be classified as a guilty pleasure, but no matter what your opinions are about the film, we can all agree that there was never a need for a sequel.

Space Jam: A New Legacy feels lazy and uninspired. The story is pretty much the same as the original. Here’s the thing, nobody expected this sequel to be some thought-provoking masterpiece or even cinematic gold in terms of kids films that Pixar usually produces. That doesn’t give it an excuse to be a lazy retread of the original film. It could’ve been a story that saw Bugs and the gang end up in the real world? Or a zany adventure with one of the cartoon characters and Dom? There were plenty of interesting directions that this sequel could’ve went. Hell, it could’ve been something dark like a murder investigation of one of the Looney Tunes? Definitely controversial and will likely never happened since this is mostly aimed for kids, but the point is that this needed to be new and fresh. Even ignoring the fact that this is essentially Space Jam with Lebron, the story just isn’t fun and the jokes are more often miss. Exactly how is Lebron playing a Gameboy distracting him from achieving his true potential on the basketball court? He’s not portrayed as some obsessed gamer whose life is on a downspiral because of video games. Why is Al G. Rhythm so pissed off at Lebron for rejecting his game idea? He’s really willing to kidnap and trap the entire world in the digital space because the basketball player said no? Why not use Stephen Curry instead? Or Kyrie Irving? Or even Kevin Durant? I know that I’m probably thinking way too hard about this film, but the issue is that the sequel can’t even get basic story patterns right. It also feels like a cameo for nearly every Warner Brothers property known to man. Did you miss the fact that modern movies don’t particularly copy The Matrix anymore? Speedy Gonzalez got you covered. Want to hear some superhero references? Don’t worry, you will. The original film had cameos, but the filmmakers didn’t throw one in your face nearly every second. The cameos barely serve a purpose for the larger story and are mainly there to put some butts into seats. Space Jam: A New Legacy was a missed opportunity because it didn’t add to the lore of the Space Jam world. All it did was confirm that Space Jam never needed a sequel to begin with.

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