Friday, July 16, 2021

Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)


Streaming Services: HBO Max
Movie Name/Year: Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)
Genre: Animation. Adventure, Comedy
Length:  115 minutes
Rating: PG
Production/Distribution: Warner Bros., Warner Animation Group, SpringHill Entertainment, Aero Mock-Ups, Proximity, Warner Bros. Animation, HBO Max, Karo Premiere, Kinomania, Warner Bros. Pictures Germany, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Singapore
Director: Malcolm D. Lee 
Writers: Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keenan Coogler, Terence Nance, Jesse Gordon, Celeste Ballard, Timothy Harris, Steve Rudnick, Herschel Weingrod, Leo Benvenuti
Actors:  Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keenan Coogler, Terence Nance, Jesse Gordon, Celeste Ballard, Timothy Harris, Steve Rudnick, Herschel Weingrod, Leo Benvenuti
Actors: Anna Sofie Christensen, Bob Bergen, Bryan Scamman, Cassandra Starr, Cedric Joe, Ceyair J Wright, Charles Barkley, Chiney Ogwumike, Daria Johns, Derrick Gilbert, Don Cheadle, Eric Bauza, Erin Flannery, Flanagan John, Fred Tatasciore, Gabriel Iglesias, Gerald 'Slink' Johnson, Greice Santo, Harper Leigh Alexander, Harrison White, J. Michael Tatum, Jalyn Hall, Jared Sullinger, Jeff Bergman, Jess Harnell, Jim Cummings, Julyah Rose, Kath Soucie, Katie McCabe, Khris Davis, LeBron James, Lil Pump, Martin Klebba, Nicole Kornet, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Peter Cornell, Rob Paulsen, Rocio Vidal, Shawn Bradley, Skyler Bible, Sonequa Martin, Stephen Kankole, Tacko Fall, Tress MacNeille, Whitney Coleman, Xosha Roquemore, Zendaya
Blurb from IMDb:  
A rogue artificial intelligence kidnaps the son of famed basketball player LeBron James, who then has to work with Bugs Bunny to win a basketball game.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have to tell you, I was fairly giddy as I sat down with my daughter to watch Space Jam: A New Legacy. I feel a little old, though, considering I was approximately her age when the original Space Jam (1996) hit screens. I look back on the original with fond memories. Looney Tunes + beloved basketball icon Michael Jordan (NBA Hardwood Classics, The Last Dance, Bugs Bunny's 80th What's Up, Doc-umentary!) was the equation for box office gold back then.
Of course, I don’t remember a lot about the plot aside from the fact that Jordan and some of his fellow players were abducted by aliens and forced to play basketball. I don’t remember what was at risk if Jordan’s team lost. It’s really not all that important. The point is that Space Jam was a fun movie with a cute premise and a great soundtrack. No one went to see that film expecting an Oscar run from it (though, I’m sure the studio was hoping the Academy would throw them a bone for the mix of live-action and animation).

The stakes were higher in this sequel. They always have to be, otherwise what’s the point right? Space Jam: A New Legacy was obviously a passion project for LeBron James (Future of Flight, More Than an Athlete, Legends of the Court) and a love letter to the Warner Brothers cinematic landscape. I’m not sure how much of that came from James, the writers, or director Malcolm D. Lee (Undercover Brother, Girls Trip, Night School), but I applaud it.
Space Jam: A New Legacy had a story full of heart with a good family movie message, wrapped in a fun-filled blend of digital wizardry and tried-and-true cartoon tropes. It felt like a warm hug, and it was a fun ride. I adored all the homages to the various productions that have spanned the near-century of Warner Brothers Studios. My daughter and I had a blast picking out the various cameos. I felt just about as giddy as when watching the big battle scene in Ready Player One (2018).

I adored the premise used to bring the Tune Squad together, and the fact that the adventure took us through the 2D cartoon world just as much as it explored the digital graphics for both setting and the 3D character renderings. The animation was actually better than I was anticipating. I could honestly babble on forever about how elated I was experiencing Gabriel Iglesias’s (The Nut Job, Coco, Ugly Dolls) performance as the underrated Speedy Gonzales or the sinister charisma of Don Cheadle’s (Flight, Kevin Hart: What Now?, No Sudden Move) villain – among many other things. I’ll spare you, though.
If anyone watched Space Jam: A New Legacy expecting to see a master class in acting or the like, they were watching the wrong movie. This was a pure and simple medicinal dose of fun that the world is needing at the moment. Critics might be trashing Space Jam: A New Legacy left and right, but I think they’re missing the point. Big Time.
In any other ‘regular’ month, Space Jam: A New Legacy would have scored higher than #5 on my Top 20 list. Unfortunately, there’s just a lot of blockbuster-level competition releasing around the same timeframe. I think Space Jam has a bit of an advantage in that it’s streaming on HBO Max as well as hitting theater screens. I would recommend this one to everyone. Even if you don’t like sports movies, it is well worth the price of a ticket and the two hours spent.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 34%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 81%
Metascore – 36%
Metacritic User Score – 2.9/10
IMDB Score – 3.7/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4.5/5 
Movie Trailer: 

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