Space Jam: A New Legacy
The nation lurches from one sporting disappointment to another with the return of Space Jam, and this time it’s LeBron James’s turn to enshrine his legacy with the help of the Looney Tunes, the Flinstones, The Mask, the Justice League, the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange, Pennywise the clown, the White Walkers and literally every other Warner Brothers property from the last 100 years.
Most of these familiar faces (and James’s wife) are relegated to the sidelines, a sea of theme park-style costumed characters distracting the eye from the final basketball match, which cannot compete with the sight of Mr Freeze cheering alongside Baby Jane Hudson. This seems counterintuitive, considering the movie starts by saying that the NBA star was able to achieve his level of success by avoiding distraction, but Space Jam: A New Legacy is built on contradictions. Its villain is a computer programme called Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle), who has the idea of integrating LeBron James into every piece of Warner Bros content, like a migraine-inducing version of SeinfeldVision from 30 Rock. “This idea’s just straight up bad,” says James – an assessment that proves correct over the following two hours.
Having already told viewers it is bad, and established LeBron’s acting credentials by having him pretend to possess a modicum of integrity, the movie sucks the basketball player into the Warner Bros server, where he must assemble a basketball team for the game against Al-G Rhythm. It should be stated at this point that this is the actual plot of a real film – or at least a product posing as a film – cramming every ounce of IP into its tedious replay of a premise. Also worth noting is that six people wrote the script and nobody thought to say LeTron James. Aware that children no longer know who the Looney Tunes are (James has to audibly identify them whenever they appear), the sequel casts its net of references wider than Ready Player One, The Lego Movie 2 and Stranger Things 3 combined.
Space Jam: A New Legacy is the logical endpoint of a culture that has spent the last decade eating itself, so fixated on the past that we woke up one day and realised that new films were just old films literally being played out in front of our eyes. It is an experience of physical and cultural numbing, where the only emotional response is sympathy for the poor hacks who have to compile “all the pop culture references in Space Jam: A New Legacy” lists. It is an exhaustive and exhausting journey through the looking glass of writhing, naked nostalgia – a backlot tour of hell itself.
Space Jam: A New Legacy is released nationwide on 16th July 2021.
Watch the trailer for Space Jam: A New Legacy here: