Space Jam: A New Legacy

Space Jam: A New Legacy

Remember when people were worried The Lego Movie was going to be a feature-length commercial? I mean, it was, but it was also fresh, inventive, and very very funny. As odd as this might sound, it was organic the way Lord & Miller smooshed together the various Warner Bros. properties at their disposal. Of course kids playing with Legos would have a party with C-3PO, the Ninja Turtles, and Batman.

Well, WB is back at it, revving up the IP blender once more, offering a stark reminder that not all corporate product is created equal. Fueled by the fond memories of aging millennials, Looney Tunes bastardization Space Jam is back with a 25-years-late sequel. And this time, it's worse! As bad as the first Space Jam was, there was a certain Roger Rabbit charm to Michael Jordan interacting with a hand-drawn Bugs Bunny in a live-action environment.

LeBron James has no such luck. Stuck in a soulless digital world called the Serververse, created by Don Cheadle's villainous Al-G Rhythm, all James can do is mug while the Tunes go up against braindead CGI monsters. There's a 20-minute stretch where all A New Legacy does is cycle through various IPs, cutting and pasting Tunes into classic movies and TV shows. When they got to Yosemite Sam playing "As Time Goes By" at Rick's, I sighed heavier than I ever have in my life.

There's a scene early on where WB execs try to pitch LeBron on the capabilities of the Serververse. Essentially, they want to buy his persona and likeness for all eternity, digitally inserting him into whatever project they want. This is something we know is actually happening in our real world--the idea has been in the air for decades, holograms of Whitney Houston and Frank Zappa have gone on tour, and some stupid sons of bitches are still trying to make a new James Dean vehicle called Finding Jack. LeBron is understandably repulsed; the algorithm quite literally becomes the villain of the piece. Yet the entire rest of the movie goes on to do exactly what Al-G Rhythm is proposing, without any degree of self-awareness that it's an extended demo for this disgusting new tech.

Space Jam: A New Legacy is one of the more cynical and soulless movies I've seen in some time. Frankly, it left me feeling depressed about the state of Hollywood and the future of cinema in a way a gajillion superhero movies never have. Also, they had to hire six guys to voice all the characters Mel Blanc used to do, and not one of them is even a hare as good.

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