Space Jam: A New Legacy Review: LeBron Jam against the machine

To be fair to all, and to soften the blow that's coming, I'd like to let you know that I experienced the exact same reaction when I saw the first trailer for Malcolm D. Lee’s.

Space Jam: A New Legacy Review: LeBron Jam against the machine

Space Jam: A New LegacyIt was dropped a few weeks ago. It was the sort of film you would expect to see in an AT&T executive. Already excited about the potential performance of Warner Bros.' recent acquisition, AT&T, and eager to boost the Tune Squad for a new generation, he walked into a pitch meeting armed with a variety of facts and figures, including those derived from focus group data, social media metrics, as well as a tackle bag full of stimulants. It's hard to believe that Warner Bros. has the fortitude to not be cynical about this enterprise.RefrainWhile I did not mention HBO Max in the movie's text, I was intrigued by the question mid-watch.Thisa particular movie's fault or, even more specifically, the original sinSpace Jam. Both are mildly amusing exercises of brand management. The original helps to soften Michael Jordan's image.CuddlyThe league was not created in the '80s or '90s. However, it did ensure the continued existence of theLooney TunesStable would be relevant throughout the '90s and remain close to every Jordanian fan who left those theaters in 1996. ItWorked like gangbustersHe made sure you would see Bugs Bunny and the Tazmanian Devil wearing t-shirts over the next ten years. These shirts could have been purchased at the WB Store in your local mall.

It's easy to forget that most of the Tunes output from the 1980s and 1990s was theatrically released, hastily-cut cartoon compilations. These nostalgiac revivals in The That's Entertainment vein never tried to prove their worth and also devalued legitimately great cinema. Space Jam helped them to regain prominence in the culture after Back in Action failed at the box office. From a financial perspective, the Tunes stable looks very similar to the Muppets. Their parent company has no idea what to do with them (though Disney did the smart thing by making their most important work, The Muppet Show, available for streaming). A new Space Jam that could take advantage of the growing love for basketball worldwide, as well as a new audience that loves these characters, seemed like a great idea, especially with LeBron James at its core. This is all fine and dandy: You are buying a ticket to a Space Jam movie. Unless you want it to be about martian jelly-making (which, well, I'm sorry Hollywood has not been able to cater for your particular taste), it is what you are getting. Space Jam - A New Legacy fails because it tries to extend the deep-seated love of the Looney Tunes to all of Warner Bros. This causes the film to lose any amount of focus and makes it unbearable.

Lee's film has an amusing, if not completely cogent, conceit: LeBron James (James), a well-known basketball player is sucked into a world of the Tunes because an algorithm required it. Don Cheadle has anthropomorphized the algorithm, which is at the heart Warner Bros.' digital multimedia library. All the fictional characters live in server farm like they are post-human consciousnesses, in Black Mirror. He sees James as a chance: It can leverage its superstardom and other properties to "become a true King" or something. The film is aware of what it's doing. There's an amusing contrast in the visceral connections and emotional connections we have with the works mentioned here -- Casablanca and Mad Max: Fury Road -- and the procedurally generated horseshit that Cheadle comes up with. All that talent, all the computing power and you only get a basketball video. The basketball game is actually stolen from James' fictional son Dom (Cedric Joseph), who wants to make a video basketball (or basketball) game instead of playing like his patriarch and brother. Cheadle kidnaps Dom to make James play the game, and then offers the kid the opportunity to teach his father at his own game. Faustian bargains are a great deal for nine-year-olds.

James is sent to Tune World. The inhabitants have abandoned the place except for Bugs who is trying to keep his sanity while being The Last Tune on Earth. Akron's favorite boy recruits the Rabbit in order to get a team together. This involves removing the gang's properties from which they have been pawned. They visit many worlds and it is quite amusing. James's form changes depending on where he is: in Tune World, he is a cartoon, while in DC World, his role is that of the Robin to Bugs' Batman. The problem is that there's only an hour left of the movie before everyone gathers and starts montage-ing. Even the most passionate LeBron fans -- the ones who thought The Decision was great prime-time viewing -- will be bored by the time that various costumed characters from Warner Bros.' films and television programs start streaming in Ready Player One-style. This allows James and the Tune Squad to face off against CGI-superpowered versions of Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, and others. The digital effects begin to overwhelm everything and the few moments of fake-cel animation scattered throughout the movie start to feel like a half-forgotten dream compared with the CGI monstrosities the Tune Squad becomes due to Cheadle's character. Even though the film is expensive, there's some recognition of its ugly side. This is just as true for these characters as it was for the Loonatics back in 2003 when they attempted to make X-Treme Goth Tune Heroes a reality.

There's also the argument for authenticity. Where the first Space Jam was all about having a little bit of MJ in your system, A New Legacy is about being authentic and real for yourself and others. James' achievements on the court are just as impressive and unimpeachable than those of animation gurus Chuck Jones or Tex Avery, or George Miller and Michael Curtiz films, or the work and accomplishments of Joe Shuster. And contrivance is no way properly to pay tribute to these great feats of art and/or works. It is a difficult choice to make your thesis statement your undoing. I admire Lee and his company for recognizing the futility of this undertaking in the grand scheme. It's a refreshing counter-intuitive to see the ethoses and motivations of these executives in our IP-saturated age. I found it legitimately surprising that a Space Jam movie would be so utterly useless. While I don't think this movie is worth the effort, it is a worthwhile film for those who aren't Lakers fans or under 15-year-olds. However, Space Jam isn’t the antichrist. (Besides, would that not be a director who uses their indie credentials to get a chance at a Marvel movie? It is not something to be mad about. It is also profitable and meets the original's standards, but I doubt that it will have the same cultural appeal as MJ's.

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