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Film Review: Space Jam: A New Legacy

11:00 July 23, 2021
By: Fritz Esker

Full disclosure: I was a college freshman when Space Jam came out in 1996, so it's not a movie that inspires feelings of nostalgia in me. The sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy mildly improves on the original, but is nothing more than an acceptable matinee for families.

Instead of Michael Jordan, the new film's hero is Cavaliers/Heat/Lakers star LeBron James. While on the Warner Bros lot to discuss future prospects, LeBron and one of his children (his son Dom, who wants to be a video game designer instead of a basketball player) are sucked into the computer's servers by a vengeful algorithm (Don Cheadle).

Inside the servers, the algorithm challenges LeBron to a basketball game in order to win his and his son's freedom back. LeBron ends up recruiting Looney Tunes characters to play against a team full of video game ringers.

While it's not an in-depth character study, the new film does at least give LeBron more of a character arc than Michael Jordan received in the original. LeBron has to learn to let his son follow his dreams and that what worked for him as a child might not work for his son. There's also a genuinely funny star cameo about 2/3 of the way through the film.

However, much like the original Space Jam, the animated portions of the film never achieve the dizzying creativity and cleverness of the best Looney Tunes shorts. It's not bad and small children may enjoy it, but it never rises above the level of "fine."

Space Jam: A New Legacy is in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

**1/2 stars (out of four)

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