Space Jam: A New Legacy
Genre Animated comedy
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee
Cast: LeBron James (LeBron James), Don Cheadle (Al-G Rhythm), Cedric Joe (Dominic “Dom” James), Sayair J Wright (Darius James), Sonicua Martin-Green (Kamalia James), Chris Davis (Malik) and etc.
Студии Warner Bros., Warner Animation Group, SpringHill Entertainment
Release year 2021
The first Space Jam was released in 1996. At the same time, the story of the NBA player, who makes friends with the characters of the animated series Looney Tunes, began a few years earlier. It appeared in 1992 thanks to a one-minute commercial filmed especially for breaks during the broadcast of the Super Bowl.
While waiting for the final game of the US National Football League, viewers saw a funny commercial from Nike – in which Bugs Bunny befriends Michael Jordan to play basketball, declaring war on annoying hooligans. Soon another short video was released in which Jordan faces Marvin the Martian and enters the battle for sneakers, tossing the ball on the space platform. Actually, it was from here that the idea for the feature film arose, which a few years later was released by Warner Bros.
At the time, Space Jam was a fun family-friendly movie that combined the real world with animation. And, most importantly, comedy was introduced to many beloved cartoon characters who fooled around with a living legend of basketball. True, film critics met this tape without much enthusiasm, but the audience, judging by the reviews, enjoyed watching it.
The plot of the film turned out to be rather unusual – Michael Jordan, who reached the peak of his basketball career, decided to leave for baseball. Just at this time, the heroes of Looney Tunes turned to him for help, who are threatened by alien slavery. Michael Jordan saves Bugs Bunny and his friends by agreeing to participate in a basketball game with aliens who stole the powers of famous NBA players (due to this, athletes Charles Barkley, Sean Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Mugsy Bogues starred in funny cameo roles).
The film studio had plans to continue the film, which could change the main theme. The producers wanted to involve racing driver Jeff Gordon, golfer Tiger Woods and skateboarder Tony Hawk, even Jackie Chan was considered. All these ideas were never realized, and the Space Jam remained true to basketball – Warner Bros. signed a contact with LeBron James, who agreed to shoot in the sequel.
A lot has changed since the first tape, especially the animation, which has moved forward. In Space Jam: The New Legends, the Looney Tunes characters are expected to appear in 3D. Oddly enough, they do not lose their charm and visually remain themselves (well, except that they become more detailed in the woolen cover). True, the viewer does not see them right away. First, LeBron James enters the world of hand-drawn animation, where he encounters old-fashioned cartoon friends, and the athlete himself temporarily becomes a 2D character (who reproduces famous tricks from old cartoons, while remaining invulnerable).
And it all starts in the real world, where LeBron James barely finds a common language with his youngest son Dominic (by the way, the basketball player’s relatives are played by professional actors, not real family members). LeBron insists that the boy put all his energy into training, and Dominic wants to play basketball just for fun, so he is much more interested in throwing the ball in video games. Their conflict is exploited by the artificial intelligence Al-G Rhythm (appearing on screen in the guise of actor Don Cheadle) – the villain tricks the family into a virtual world, forcing father and son to compete with each other. But they will not meet soon, first LeBron James needs to assemble his team, with which he will enter the basketball court.
The first and second parts of “Space Jam” are very similar in plot structure. They have an episode from the main character’s childhood, a mundane real-time plot and a jump to another dimension, where an incredible basketball game will take place. The first film was limited to the transition of the basketball player into the portal to the cartoon characters of Warner Bros., and the sequel threw the hero into the vast world of Warner Media, which includes fantasy, science fiction and horror universes. Therefore, it is not surprising that the duration of the second “Space Jam” stretched for two hours (the first film successfully fit in one and a half) – the scriptwriters were carried away by references to famous films and TV shows. It is unlikely that anyone could expect that one day he would see Pennywise, Harry Potter and the dragons of Daenerys in the same film with LeBron James. This is where everything becomes possible.
Some intrusions into other MCUs seem really fun (such as a brief visit to The Matrix). However, the creators do not stop there and bring all the characters to the stands, which ultimately resembles a crowd of cosplayers who gathered at Comic-Con, during which they launched the broadcast of a basketball game.
Of course, “Space Jam: New Legends” cannot be taken seriously. Yes, and LeBron James himself in the film jokes that inviting a basketball player to the main roles in a movie is not the best idea. Although it is this concept that will attract viewers who recall the first film from the 90s with a smile. Most likely, it is for them that the sequel is designed. It, by the way, may also appeal to a children’s audience, which probably encountered Looney Tunes much less than previous generations.
Pros: LeBron James and all Looney Tunes characters; famous tricks from old cartoons; there are funny references to other movie universes Cons: the idea to collect all the heroes of Warner Media in one place; stretched timing Output:
a film for those who love the first part of “Space Jam” and expect a similar plot from the sequel.