Review by Cathal Eustace
Space Jam: A New Legacy (Malcom D. Lee, 2021) is astonishing. Going into the film it’s important for the audience to know how to temper their expectations: Will Space Jam 2 change the way you see cinema? No. Will it appeal to the cymbal crashing monkey we have between our ears? Yes. Space Jam 2 appeals to our lizard brains on the most primal level. Sit back with your eyes focused, mouth and ears open wide as you ingest 2 hours straight of intense CGI, dramatic scores, moments of mediocre poignancy and an oddly alluring Don Cheadle as the lead villain.
Space Jam: A New Legacy jumps between visual mediums, embracing newer styles of animation not found in its predecessor. Instead of Bugs Bunny (Jeff Bergman) being 2D and LeBron being in 3D, the pair are usually occupying the same form: two dimensional or three dimensional. This ultimately creates a far less jarring visual experience. It gives us time to enjoy the finer aspects of the classical cartoonish style of the Looney Tunes and primes us for being comfortable with their 3 dimensional forms (which surprisingly avoided the uncanny valley which many 3D animated animals fall into)
Space Jam 2 features guest appearances and easter eggs from most of ‘Warner Bros’ other franchises. This can be construed as corporate vanity and an attempt at promoting their vast collection of films and television shows, however my inner optimist wouldn’t bother with too much cynicism regarding the film’s ulterior motives. With a running length of 2 hours, you can choose to shut down your cranium and succumb to A New Legacy’s psychedelic, family friendly charm or you can criticise with contempt the film’s many shortcomings apparent in its plot and performances.
I cannot recommend you spend money to see Space Jam: A New Legacy. However if you feel bold or brave or curious enough to walk through those cinema doors, strap in and prepare yourself, adapt and overcome,if you’re lucky, maybe you will walk out with a feeling of… astonishment.