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Space Jam: A New Legacy


‘…Space Jam: A New Legacy is an abomination of a movie, one so bad as to make you recall the Michael Jordan/Bill Murray version with nostalgia…’

Triple yikes! We haven’t had a good old-fashioned hate-watch for a while, but Warner Brothers’ benighted attempt to stage an IP gang show loosely based around their Space Jam property absolutely deserves all the hate it gets. While on it’s initial general release, I’d point blank refused to review this objectionable, creatively bankrupt hybrid of animation, live action and molten excrement, on the grounds that the relentless pillaging of intellectual property was beyond comprehension; the truly obscene sight of the rapist Droogs from Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and the sexually-repressed nuns of Loudon, as featured in Aldous Huxley’s book and Ken Russells’ film, somehow cheering on Bugs Bunny in a interplanetary basketball game shows just how low we’ve gone in the race to the bottom in terms of getting kids to watch movies.

This desecration is squarely the responsibility of director Malcolm D Lee and producer Ryan Coogler, whose seriousness about his own work is not amplified by his wholesale mis-handling of anyone elses. Thus we chuck in original footage, character skins or animations of characters from Casablanca, Harry Potterland, George Miller’s Mad Max; Fury Road, Gremlins, Austin Powers, Pennywise, The Mask and more, all rendered as game-level court-side figures, a constant distraction for anyone attempting to watch the main story. That central narrative, for some reason, doesn’t involve space in any way, or even jam, but is about a basketball player called LeBron James and his annoying game-designer son who get sucked into a sucky AI universe by sucky AI Al G Rhythm, played in one of the worst single performances in this or any recorded year by a bug-eyed, mugging Don Cheadle.

That first twenty five minutes of Legacy feature no animated characters at all, just LeBron James repeatedly telling other people (including Steven Yuen and Sarah Silverman) that making a film with Warners would turn out to be a terrible idea and he’s proved right by the ensuing sh*tshow of crass ideas, lousy animation and beloved IP pressed into service in a way that disturbed and upset pretty much all who saw this travesty. ‘This isn’t basketball,’ voices one character, and it’s not. It’s not cinema either, and it’s not even entertainment, it’s just craven gibberish. ‘Winter is coming’ screams Foghorn Leghorn as he files past on a rocket; why would a cartoon chicken love Game of Thrones? Why does a cartoon like Bugs Bunny know who LeBron James is when I’ve never heard of him? Why would LeBron James know fairly old-school animated properties like ‘Marvin the Martian?’ We’ve somehow got soldiers from Dunkirk running around her; surely Dunkirk is a genuine human tragedy as well as a film?

If Ready Player One at least had some kind of reason to put The Iron Giant and King Kong into the same frame, the same trick doesn’t work at all here; Space Jam: A New Legacy is an abomination of a movie, one so bad as to make you recall the Michael Jordan/Bill Murray version with nostalgia. ‘You remember fun don’t you?’ cries one character, but after Space Jam; A New Legacy, you probably won’t remember fun, LeBron James or even your own name under questioning.

‘You gotta make him respect you,’ is the moral lesson here; yup, forcing people to do something they have no reason to do is the takeaway, and I’m here for it. In that spirit, taking all of Coogler’s previous films from Fruitvale Station to Creed to Black Panther, then editing them into one disrespectful mess that sells out everything the writer/director and producer every said or stood for, would be an appropriate punishment for this crime against humanity; when it comes to respecting other people’s IP, it’s Game Over, man. And for anyone thinking of making a film with Warners, understand that you are selling your creativity for future use in the disgraceful film like this.


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  1. What especially got on my tits about this one was how it was just such a commercial branding exercise, for Warners but especially for Lebron. It’s like they don’t understand that the most successful branding would be to just make a good movie. Instead they just want to hammer you with how great they are. Awful!

    I have heard of Lebron James, but had never heard of Gazza until recently. The pond still marks a real dividing line.

    • Yup, I thought about making a Gazza joke when I read your Moat piece, but there’s not much funny about what Gazza became.

      Totally agree that James comes out of this horribly. Everyone professing to be huge fans of his comes over as desperately self serving. Everyone comes off worse by the end of this utter muck.

  2. The first one was bad enough. But this? I haven’t heard one good thing, from anybody. I am surprised you were able to make it through the whole thing though. It sounds like a complete waste of time.
    I hope you were able to multi-task and do something to redeem the time, like clip your toe nails or something.

    • The first one was a masterpiece compared to this. I was fuelled by injustice which compelled me to the bitter end. Horrid to think of what writers like Huxley and Burgess would make of their writings being used for this; that’s what a contract with Warners gets you…

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