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Film Review: “Space Jam: A New Legacy” (2021)


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Who does not like hand-drawn animation? I would watch them over digitalized characters any time of the day. Even though the cinematic universe keeps evolving, as you may expect, there is still an urgent need for old and beloved characters and their usual appearance, because it’s refreshing, after all.

“Space Jam: A New Legacy” follows basketball megastar LeBron James, who fails at parenting when he misses his son Dominic’s (Cedric Joe) desire to become a game developer instead. Certainly, to play basketball the same way his father does is a dream come true for a parent like LeBron James. The two get an opportunity to revisit their relationship when they get kidnapped by artificial intelligence, AL (Don Cheadle), who wants our hero to participate in a tournament, in which the fate of his son will get decided. Having no other options available, LeBron agrees, not realizing the situation he will soon find himself in, and one of them becoming an animated version of himself in the world of Looney Tunes.

Malcolm D. Lee’s film has many issues, whether it’s the direction or holes in the storyline. However, as soon as you see the mix of hand-drawn animated characters and 3D CGI effects, the film turns into a pleasant ride, whether some of us agree or not, becomes an undeniable fact. When we first meet LeBron, he dismisses his son’s desire to develop a computer game. But once we learn about Dom’s game, it turns out to be quite decent. Despite seeing his son’s obvious talent, LeBron continues pushing him towards his own dream, putting his child’s interest aside.

When LeBron gets an invitation to the Warner Brothers studios with an offer no other individual would dare to refuse, LeBron finds it hilarious and ridiculous at the same time by rejecting it without giving it a second thought. With that, he unknowingly insults AL, which makes him go rogue on LeBron. From that moment on, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” turns into a wild ride full of funny scenes as it storms WB’s archive, including the classic “Casablanca” and so much more.

That said, Lee’s film deserves to be seen as it will renew interest in the younger generation towards the old films and characters otherwise they would not be aware of. Of course, as a film critic, I have to point out the negative side of the film. However, in this case, it won’t impact the actual outcome because it’s absolutely fun to watch. At the end of the day, it was not made for adults to like or dislike it – children are the judge. We have to go with what they say. And if it brings laughter to them and joy (and it actually did), there is nothing much that can be said other than “well done”.

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