Space Jam: A New Legacy

Space Jam: A New Legacy

The extra half-star is for Don Cheadle and Don Cheadle alone giving oh so much of his all to make a uniquely petulant living cartoon entity for us to actively root for against the Jameses and the Tunes. It's a good thing every sequence he's in has zero scenery in it because that shit would be devoured. And I still feel I'm being generous letting him edge this out of half-star territory.

The thing about this movie is how much it fucking lampshades itself. It makes its villain an algorithm and then moves on to be the most fucking algorithmic thing I've ever seen made. It knows Lebron James is a bad actor (and he really is. The difference between him and Michael Jordan is that Jordan cannot act, but James is able to emote and modulate and shit. That shit just ain't good.) and while having him star in this movie with a premise he specifically called out as flawed. It knows that the Algorithm's act of transforming the 2D animated characters into 3D textured horror shows is pure evil, but let's it happen anyway. It knows that this Congress-like "owning the image and entity of a person" is genuinely bad and then it just proceeds to utilize the images of every silver screen corpse it can do so. It's an insidious sort of anti-art that shocked me in how worse it managed to be than the first Space Jam, which I thought impossible.

It carries on the sin of making a wholly uncharacteristic portrayal of Bugs Bunny, begging us for pathos as he cries for his friends (including a ridiculously bad tug near the end). Porky Pig raps. Steven Yeun and Lil Rel Howery are here for some reason. Everything is the same inhuman clean. It runs a pseudo-basketball sequence that has zero logic cinematically or narratively (one could argue that this is part of the Looney Tunes' anarchic style, except how does one break rules that don't seem to exist? At least they do seem to exist but we don't know what those are, no frame of reference for how wacky they are truly being). Man, I totally understand Lebron not getting this fucking video game of his kid.

I lament for the fact that we could have had this movie made by Terence Nance and what a brilliant slam dunk that could have been. But Warner Bros. weren't looking for art, they were looking for an HBOMax commercial and they made it and it is hideous.

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