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Flagrant foul

Bugs Bunny basketball adventure Space Jam: A New Legacy features a nonsensical plot and inappropriate references for a family film

Warner Bros. Pictures

Flagrant foul
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Toward the beginning of Space Jam: A New Legacy, Warner Bros. executives try to convince LeBron James (played by LeBron James) to make a movie. “Athletes acting—that never goes well,” responds LeBron. “This idea is just straight up bad.”

Yes, LeBron, it is. The studio must have included the self-referential scene as a sly wink at the audience telling us not to expect too much from this cash grab. They should have warned us that, despite its marketing, this movie isn’t for the whole family.

The film is ostensibly a reboot of the 1996 Space Jam starring Michael Jordan. In both movies an NBA superstar plays basketball with Bugs Bunny. Similarities end there.

In this version, LeBron and his son Dom (Cedric Joe) get sucked into a supercomputer at Warner Bros. If LeBron doesn’t beat an evil algorithm named Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle) in a game of basketball, he and his son will be stuck in the computer forever, so Bugs Bunny helps LeBron learn to win. None of this makes sense, but maybe Warner Bros. doesn’t think kids’ movies need to make sense.

But I’m disappointed to say A New Legacy isn’t for kids. It’s actually for millennials with nostalgic attachment to the 1996 version—few Americans under the age of 20 have ever watched Looney Tunes. To make up for the lack of a story, the film tries to entertain millennials with references to other franchises in the Warner Bros. catalog, like King Kong, Harry Potter, and Batman.

Apart from Looney Tunes, much of that catalog shouldn’t appear in what’s billed as a family movie. The film includes long sequences from Mad Max: Fury Road and The Matrix. Foghorn Leghorn introduces youngsters to Game of Thrones. And who thought it was a good idea to put characters from A Clockwork Orange on the sideline of the basketball game? The film’s language also stretches its PG rating to the limit with a bleeped-out tirade that leaves little to the imagination.

In Space Jam: A New Legacy, Warner Bros. has created a two-hour commercial encouraging kids make a list of all the R-rated movies they need to catch up on. As Porky Pig would say, “That’s all, folks.”

Collin Garbarino

Collin is a correspondent and movie reviewer for WORLD. He is a World Journalism Institute, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Louisiana State University graduate, and he teaches at Houston Baptist University. Collin resides with his wife and four children in Sugar Land, Texas.



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Even the general public is panning this. Boo hiss, again, WB.


Lebron who?
I mean who cares.
Thanks for review. I am not surprised.