Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Cast: LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Khris Davis
Release Date: October 5, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
This transformational journey is a manic mashup of two worlds that reveals just how far some parents will go to connect with their kids. When LeBron and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.’s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of professional basketball stars as you’ve never seen them before. It’s Tunes versus Goons in the highest-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron’s bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself. The ready-for-action Tunes destroy convention, supercharge their unique talents and surprise even “King” James by playing the game their own way.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ once again merges the worlds of basketball and Looney Tunes for a new take on the popular 1996 film. This time around the story follows NBA icon LeBron James and joins him and his son Dom who after attending a pitch meeting at Warner Studios become trapped inside a digital world by a rogue AI interface. Locking his son away, the AI agrees to let LeBron compete in a digital basketball game for the chance to get his son back. Now he’ll have to journey throughout different Warner properties in this digital realm along with some assistance from Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes allies in order to build a team for the game and hopefully save his kid as well as himself.
Directed this time around by Malcolm D. Lee (Girl’s Trip, Barbershop: The Next Cut) from a screenplay by Juel Taylor & Tony Rettenmaier & Keenan Coogler & Terence Nance and Jesse Gordon and Celeste Ballard. Lee does a pretty solid job at the helm of ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ doing his best with the material and always keeping things looking gorgeous and stylish throughout. The film’s cast includes NBA icon LeBron James, plus Don Cheadle (Avengers: Endgame), Khris Davis (Judas and the Black Messiah), Sonequa Martin-Green (TV’s Star Trek: Discover), Cedric Joe (TV’s Modern Family), and the voice talents of Jeff Bergman, Eric Bauza, Zendaya and Gabriel Iglesias along with more, many of which offer capable or at least fitting performances in their respective roles.
‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ is a mixed bag of a film in many ways. While it doesn’t ever manage to achieve the unique charm and lovable style of the original film twenty-five years ago and doesn’t have many clever ideas to keep things fresh or overly inventive, it does still serve up a pretty fun, humorous and easy-going ride that never fails to entertain or elicit its share of grins throughout, with plenty of rewarding moments and quite hilarious gags sprinkled throughout. LeBron does a pretty decent job in the lead role of our sports star this time around and while he’s not at all unlikable, he doesn’t quite match that easygoing charm that Jordan so effortlessly embodied in the original film. Fortunately, most of the Looney Tunes characters in addition to the almost surprising quantity of characters from other Warner owned properties in the crowd at the game, along with some other notable elements manage to create enough fun and excitement to keep things from ever becoming dull.
Fans of the original ‘Space Jam’ film, along with diehard fans of Looney Tunes and/or LeBron will probably want to try and find the chance to give this one a whirl and make up your own mind on it. It may not be outstanding, but it’s not nearly as horrendous as some would like you to believe and it definitely manages to deliver some fun and laughs along the way. While many newcomers will be understandably hesitant to drop the money on a blind purchase of the Blu-ray release, it’s probably worth the price of a rental if you’re looking forward to it and at the very least is worth checking out whenever it makes a return to HBO Max in the foreseeable future for subscribers.
Overall, ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ is an enjoyable and frequently funny adventure for the whole family with plenty of familiar characters and a new basketball game with dire consequences on the line for our sports hero and his Looney teammates to win. It has its heart in the right place and is quite a lot of fun most of the time, but it never manages to achieve the same level of heart and style as the original and some of the characters and content within definitely works better than others. ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ is recommended to anyone who enjoyed the first film or is a fan of LeBron and/or Looney Tunes who could certainly do far worse if seeking a humorous and easy-going film to relax with one evening at home, especially if you can manage to go in with your expectations somewhat in check. It may not be perfect, but it’s by no means terrible either and is worth taking the time to give a fair chance whenever it might be convenient.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and offers a clean, sharp and colorful presentation from start to finish that does a great job of balancing the various forms of content, jumping from animation to live action and in between without any negative effects arising. It holds up impressively throughout even during the various heavily populated, darkly lit and fast moving moments and never allows anything that’s occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or problematic along the way. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation from Warner Bros. what delivers nicely every step of the way and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack sounds equally impressive and provides a clean, crisp and immersive audio presentation throughout. It repeatedly takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send music, action, sports and cartoon effects along with crowd chatter and a great deal more zipping throughout the various speakers quite regularly and never resulting in any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously becoming distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a great Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that more than holds up throughout and contributes some extra fun to the viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ includes a handful of enjoyable extras. Included on the release are some ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 8 minutes in length altogether), along with a few Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the film to life and featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are ‘First Quarter: Game On’ (running approximately 7 minutes), ‘Second Quarter: Teamwork’ (approximately 8 minutes), ‘Third Quarter: Out of This World’ (8 minutes) and ‘Fourth Quarter: The Looniest’ (7 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
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