Space Jam : A New Legacy. Novelty That Works For No One.

There’s a sense of organic magnetism to the original Space Jam. It’s the kind of truly bizarre marketing man fever dream conceived between lines of cocaine that could only exist in 1996. It’s not good in any way but also the kind of bizarre artefact that is hard to ignore once seen. 25 years later audiences finally get a sequel. The new entry is even less shameless in how much of a marketing tool it is. This time LeBron James has to go save his son from an evil AI played with pantomime gusto by Don Cheadle. He and the Looney Toons effectively take a guided tour of a selection within the Warner Brothers content library. This is done through the construction of the so-called server verse.
Here’s the thing with the sequel. It’s neither as bad nor anything as interesting compared to the original. The simultaneous US release on HBO Max creates an opportunity. Various viral #filmtwitter accounts to take the various Warner Brothers paradise and crossovers out of context. Then they present them as the worst, most algorithmically generated piece of content in existence. Certain alternative accounts will then respond to these posters claiming they are overthinking a film that is primarily aimed at kids. Both of these reactions have some level of validity. There are some genuinely amusing moments in some of the cross-promotion the creative team was able to pull off. The majority of these run exclusively on novelty value. This adult viewer got a major laugh out of seeing Road Runner and Wile E Coyote in Mad Max: Fury Road ( In part because he has always considered that film hugely overrated.) All of the crossover elements here were never going to be smart enough to gain anything other than ironic appreciation from adults. Frankly, that’s not worth looking for in a sequel to Space Jam. The problem is that the reference points are so wide-ranging A large chunk will fly completely over the heads of the kids in the audience. How can it be said the film is successful as children’s entertainment when said audience won’t understand a selection of what the film offers. Not in the way that your animated film of choice might have a selection of double entendres for the adults and fart jokes for the kids. Space Jam: A New Legacy is effectively his feature-length game of “ I recognise that thing.” Kids can only participate to a certain extent is a prime example of a film That has no idea who its audience is.
This writer could end this piece by simply summarising what has come before. The Space Jam sequel represents one of the most soulless corporate moves in recent filmmaking. It has surprisingly limited appeal for both kids and adults. That said it didn’t need to be this way. The original Lego Movie exists and has established itself as a contemporary animated classic Even films that look corporate on the surface don’t need to be with genuinely passionate creatives in place. This viewer will never forget seeing The LEGO Movie for the first time. Going in with zero expectations and witnessing pure brilliance before his eyes. All Space Jam: A New Legacy offers is a glossy studio content/ franchise real. Perhaps Emmit and his friends from the town of Bricksburg are in the crowd at the central basketball game. The creative arts don’t get any less creative than that.
4/10

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