Today’s younger generation may not be familiar with the first Space Jam movie, which debuted a quarter of a century ago. Some may not even be familiar with Warner Bros. Looney Tunes property. What never disappears, however, are family stories, self-discovery, perseverance and basketball legends. And Space Jam 2, more formally “Space Jam: A New Legacy” promises to deliver a lot of them, courtesy of LeBron “King” James.
The first Space Jam in 1996 had basketball legend Michael Jordan sharing screen time with the popular cartoon characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the whole crazy cast of the Looney Tunes franchise. At that time, the film received mixed feedback, but it was acclaimed mainly for its fluid mix of live action characters and animation. For the second Space Jam, Warner Bros. is taking it to the next level with, you guessed it, 3D CGI.
Space Jam: New Legacy sees four-time NBA champion LeBron James playing as himself trying to do the right thing for his son Dom on the screen and failing. Like any other film of this type, it takes the kidnapping of said son to a virtual world to launch the father in a journey of discovery and understanding. Of course, with a little help from The Tune Squad.
Unlike the first film, LeBron himself takes on an animated form, but it seems only for a while. Soon, it is the songs that are sucked into a 3D world, maintaining its unreal elasticity. Just as Space Jam ’96 was practically a demonstration of the cinematographic technology of that period, Space Jam 2 is also proud of modern developments, as well as tropes and memes that probably would have looked as strange decades ago as the antagonists of the original.
Space Jam: The New Legacy opens in theaters on July 16, 2021. Like almost any film during these pandemic days, the film will be available for streaming on HBO Max, but only 31 days after its theatrical release.