I remember on a late-night talk show years ago, Matt Damon was recounting rumors he had heard on the set of Fat Man and Little Boy that the cast and crew thought they were making the big Oscar winner of the year and were debating how many nominations versus wins they would receive.
That movie released in 1989 was directed by Roland Joffe before he became a wasted talent and starred Paul Newman, John Cusack, Laura Dern, and Dwight Schultz (!?!?) as those who worked out in the southwest on the Manhattan Project. The movie got awful reviews and bombed (no pun intended) at the box office. Even worse, the big moment when they test the bomb, all you can see is the reflection in a character’s goggles.
So, where am I go with this? Well, the new Space Jam sequel has the presumptive subtitle A New Legacy. I’m not really sure they understand what that implies. Are they saying that this sequel will be as loved as the original or are they saying that since they’ve basically redid the plot with a different NBA star, it’s a new version?
I never cared for the original. Maybe I saw it once or twice. But Michael Jordan by 1996 had pretty much done a Hello Larry in the NBA after some rumors of misconduct that led to him quitting the Chicago Bulls to go play minor-league basketball for a while, which was in the first movie.
While mixing animation with live-action has been done since before Gene Kelly danced with Jerry The Mouse, the movie inspired by a Nike ad found a fan base over the years. This was partially thanks to its soundtrack. And let’s not forget some weird furry sexual fetish people had with Lola Bunny before Judy Hopps cocked her head to the side and moved her hips and suddenly and took XXX fan art to a whole new level.
When the best thing you can say about a sequel is that an accused sexual predator isn’t on the soundtrack, that’s bad. Yes, that infamous R. Kelly song “I Believe I Can Fly” which became almost every damn graduation theme song for a while as well as sung in churches, gospel choirs, and repeatedly on news reports of Kelly’s alleged sexual assaults and perversions.
I feel at one time, after Jordan refused to come back, Kobe Bryant was approached but he was not immune to allegations of sexual attacks himself, which put to his role in the end to a sequel. Now, they went with the next NBA megastar in line, LeBron James, or LBJ as he’s called.
Personally, LBJ is a POS. His prima donna off-court antics seem almost identical to Jordan, who has reportedly refused to tip waiters after driving tabs up into the thousands. At one time, Jordan was reportedly refusing to attend an event unless the police shut down the streets so no one could take pictures of him.
LBJ has done some bad things in his private life, I’m told. He might be great on the court, but his back and forth between the Cavaliers and the Lakers proves he’s really about the money. I don’t think LBJ would live within 500 miles of Cleveland unless someone was paying him an outrageous paycheck.
And honestly, for a NBA star who was handed the keys to the castle at such a young age, he doesn’t know any better. We treat athletes as if they can do no wrong. Believe me, I’ve covered sports and I’ve covered sports athletes who have done bad things, i.e. sexual assaults, harassment and so forth. We build young people up to make them think the world revolves around them, so it’s only naturally they think throwing a ball into a elevated hole is someway on par with curing cancer.
Even Al Michaels foolish saying, “Do you believe in miracles?” is very pretentious when you consider that the hockey match between U.S. and the Soviet Union was pretty much lame during the third period and the wasn’t even for the gold.
So, what about this movie?
Well, it sucks. It is terrible. It is a two-hour movie for HBO Max, which I like and I saw this movie on, but the movie is loaded with way too fucking much pop culture. I mean, it makes Ready Player One look like a Golden Girls joke as it seems to make a pop culture reference throughout the movie, you get bored.
Naturally, all the pop cultures are the property of Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema, DC Comics and HBO itself.
When Coca-Cola used to own Columbia Pictures in the 1980s, you’d expect to find a Coke bottle or can in a refrigerator or on a table in one of their movies. Even that infamously bad scene in Leonard Part 6 where Bill Cosby’s character holds a Coke bottle during a scene to make sure we see it’s a Coke bottle doesn’t compare to all the placements.
Granted, the old Looney Tunes cartoons did make pop culture references but they were used in a way that went with the cartoons. Here, it’s just throwing actors who look like Beetlejuice, Pennywise The Clown or even King Kong in the stands of the basketball game which doesn’t seem at all thrilling as much as boring.
There are two good references. One is when Elmer Fudd appears as Mini-Me. The other is when Sylvester the Cat confuses Michael B. Jordan with the basketball player Michael Jordan. And Daffy Duck says, “You couldn’t find Michael A. Jordan, so you got Michael B. Jordan.”
That’s it! That’s the best jokes of this movie. You’re welcome.
There’s a plot similar to Hook in which LBJ’s son, Dom, is more or less kidnapped by Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle) a personification of an artificial intelligence, forcing the basketball game in the Serververse.
And LBJ and Dom are at odds because LBJ wants Dom to play real basketball and Dom is more interested in computers. And LBJ, still stuck in 1996, is like, “What computers? Why?”
This movie is so lazy in its writing, it can’t come up with original plots. The old “You’re son doesn’t want sports, he’s more involved in the arts, or the academia, or this or that” is so old-fashioned and cliched South Park parodied it years ago.
Of course, everything works out for LBJ and Dom and the Loony Tunes and LBJ takes his son to computer camp.
For a movie calling itself A New Legacy, there are a lot of things we’ve seen before and done better.
Even the animation in this movie looks cheap. I’m talking about the the 2D animation. The 3D is a little impressive but call me old-fashioned when I think the Looney Tunes should remain in that 2D world.