Space Jam: A New Legacy review — just looney Tuning out

July 15, 2021
M.N. Miller 0
Film, Film Reviews
2

Summary

Space Jam: A New Legacy is nothing but a giant infomercial for its legendary studio.

2

Summary

Space Jam: A New Legacy is nothing but a giant infomercial for its legendary studio.

I’ll get right to the point. Space Jam: A New Legacy is nothing but a giant infomercial for its legendary studio, Warner Brothers. We know that because Don Cheadle’s Al G. Rhythm tells us almost immediately. Several times, in fact. While the sight of King Kong and The Iron Giant giving each other a fist bump will have a special place in my heart, the rest of the film is just looney.

Malcolm D. Lee has had a very nice run of comedies like Girl’s Trip and Night School, but Space Jam is alarmingly light on the charm here. His film is a good 30 minutes too long, goes through a painful set-up, has an overly bloated ending, a woefully over-the-top performance from recently Emmy-nominated (gulp) Don Cheadle, and has an abundance of famous Warner Brother’s properties in the packed crowd in its final act that looks like badly dressed impersonators that have been ripped from Times Square.

This brings us to the main issue many will have with the film. It’s James. While he can show genuine earnestness in small parts, like his turn in Trainwreck, it is painful at times to watch him here. He can make just staring look alarmingly difficult. It’s very difficult for him to emote any expression. It’s so bad you’d think Jon Favreau digitized his entire performance.

The new Space Jam doesn’t necessarily build on the original’s legacy. Michael Jordan’s film had the advantage of being in the middle of Chicago Bulls and Jordan mania. James has never been embraced or appreciated liked Jordan. He has gained enough detractors that are no fault of his own.

Many of the film’s issues may be linked to the six writers that worked on the screenplay. The script attempts to create a family-friendly story with James being too hard on his youngest son, Dom (Cedric Joe), that’s forced. As always, the argument is based on the fact he needs to be a parent to his son, not a coach. Yet, his wife Kamilyah (Sonequa Chaunté Martin-Green) seems to base her argument on what sounds like friendship and nothing to do with being a parental role model.

There are times you appreciate the Toon gang’s antics and the film was in desperate need of more of them; Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner fare the best when it sticks to its classic gags. When the film attempts to modernize its characters, they fare well (Granny) or fall flat (Porky Pig). Though, the surprise cameo was clever enough for some mild amusement.

Overall, the film is made for little kids and will serve as a relaunch of its classic characters for a new generation. Otherwise, prepare for a film experience that pulls you in multiple directions and manages to create a dull experience despite its visually pleasing special effects.

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