Brainerd Area News | Luke

“At the end of the day, Space Jam: A New Legacy fails on a lot of fronts.” Luke Reviews New Space Jam Movie

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When I came to WJJY in Brainerd, it never occurred to me that I might be watching LeBron James’ latest vanity project, Space Jam: A New Legacy as part of my introduction into Minnesota. But the people spoke, and I listened.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first, it’s not set in space, and it certainly isn’t a jam. Instead this story is set in the Warner Brother’s servers, as a rogue AI (played by Don Cheadle) has kidnapped LeBron’s son and held him hostage. If this sounds like a dumb change from the (admittedly also dumb) premise of the first movie, it’s made even worse when you realize the change was made so that the movie can feature all available Warner Bros IP’s.

You really get the feeling within the first 5 minutes for the kind of ego project this will be. On two separate occasions LeBron is called “The Greatest Basketball player anyone has ever seen,” and that’s before Cheadle goes on a monologue calling James “A Family man, an entrepreneur, a social media superstar with millions of fans worldwide… He’s more than an athlete, he’s King.”

You are gonna hear that a lot. Yeah, it’s one of those movies.

Al G Rhythm (Cheadle), the artificial intelligence created by Warner Bros to generate movie ideas, wants LeBron James to launch a new movie technology. When James refuses, Cheadle kidnaps Dom inside the “Warner Bros. Serververse” and challenges LeBron to a game of basketball with Dom and LeBron’s social media followers on the line.

The interesting twist of the game is that LeBron and his son Dom are on different teams, as Al G Rhythm taps into Dom’s dislike of his father. LeBron spends the first hour of the movie telling Dom to stop trying to be a programmer, get his head out of the clouds, and focus on what’s really important… Basketball. It’s certainly not a far step for Al to convince Dom to join the bad guys in this situation.

What follows is LeBron and Bugs galavanting throughout not just the Looney Tune world, but all of Warner Brothers properties. This is because Space Jam: A New Legacy is simply an advertisement. It’s 2 straight hours of Warner Brothers asking us if we remember Batman? How about Game of Thrones? You remember Harry Potter? Warner Brothers remembers Harry Potter. Warner Brothers also remembers Mad Max. All Hail Warner Brothers. They made Austin Powers, you know. Our wonderful Warner Brothers overlords have graced us with a Casablanca reference, too. How benevolent of them. I’ll definitely be purchasing a ticket to see the New Matrix movie, thanks for the reminder, Warner Brothers. You are so great.

This culminates in a final game in which LeBron has to beat his son at a basketball game with rules his son made. This goes on for an hour. This is not a joke. We’ve blasted through any semblance of structure to go straight to the game. The game runs so long that I started entertaining myself trying to spot other WB properties in the stands. Is that the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange and Sister Jean Des Agnes from the 1971 horror film The Devils in the background? What fantastic and family friendly easter eggs! I’m sure happy I am focusing on the great WB franchises and not Porky Pig’s freestyle rap as “The Notorious P.I.G.”

I wish I didn’t have to type that last sentence.

At the end of the day, Space Jam: A New Legacy fails on a lot of fronts. The jokes barely land, the advertising is in your face, and interestingly enough LeBron can’t carry this movie. He just doesn’t have the charisma. It certainly doesn’t help that we spend the first hour and 20 minutes of the movie watching him ignore the wishes of his son Dom, yelling at characters about the fundamentals of basketball, and generally being controlling of the Looney Tunes. LeBron just doesn’t come across as a super likable father or main character in a movie that ultimately is about him. In fact, he might be the least likable character in this movie. The moral of the story seems to be “You’ll never live up to LeBron’s expectations of you, so don’t even try and just be yourself.”

How often have you seen an ego project that also makes the lead look unlikeable?

Space Jam: A New Legacy is bad, but not in a fun way. If you have some burning desire to watch it, make a drinking game out of every time someone mentions how great LeBron is or says the words “Warner Brothers.” A New Legacy loses to the original Space Jam by a score of 136-94.