Space Jam: A New Legacy

Space Jam: A New Legacy ★½

Somewhere in here is the skeleton of what I have to assume was Terence Nance (and Terence Nance)’s original pitch, a decently clever piece of meta satire on WB’s IP-mining, trend-chasing disrespect of their properties - the first act is, if not good per-say, at least setting up a compelling angle, one explicitly against the movie Space Jam: A New Legacy immediately becomes once the central conflict is set in motion, a movie with lazier usage of IP than Ready Player One (a much worse movie, it must be noted, one which lacks even the barest hint of deconstruction present here), anchored on two sequences that are just endless streams of look-at-that-isms of no consequence. There are little hints of self-loathing throughout, but they’re always immediately reversed by a cynical mock-earnest commitment to being product - I’m fascinated by the horror and revulsion the Tunes show upon becoming 3D animated, an emotion wholly unearned by a movie that spent so much money rendering them in such detail. Anyway, it shouldn’t be news to anyone that a sequel to Space Jam is dystopian and hypocritical, because that’s the franchise’s whole deal, but it is a little bit surprising that Lebron James is one of the least energetic screen presences I’ve ever seen. Don Cheadle’s having a great time, though! The 2D animated segments have a delightful pace and rhythm to them - they aren’t funny, but they do convince me that with decent writers on board there might be potential for new Looney Tunes content that actually feels right. I’m pretty sure the moral of this movie (if it can be said to have one, which it can’t) is “basketball has no rules”?

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