Space Jam: A New Legacy brought the Looney Tunes and basketball together one more time, but it made a huge mistake by sidelining Bugs and friends.
Space Jam: A New Legacy hasn’t been safe from criticism, and while one of the most divisive aspects of it has been its use of CGI, its real mistake was sidelining the Looney Tunes. Bugs Bunny and his friends have been around for decades, which has allowed them to go on a variety of adventures, but the most unique one so far is definitely Space Jam, back in 1996. Directed by Joe Pytka, Space Jam mixed two worlds unlikely to cross paths in the real world: the Looney Tunes and professional basketball, through a combination of live-action and animation.
Space Jam told a fictionalized version of what happened during Michael Jordan’s initial retirement in 1993 and his return in 1995, during which he helped the Looney Tunes win a basketball game against a team of aliens known as Monstars. Over two decades later, a proper sequel has arrived, titled Space Jam: A New Legacy, which takes the basic premise of the first movie with a basketball game between the Looney Tunes and another team, with the Tune Squad now led by Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James. Although Space Jam 2 was a long-awaited movie, it hasn’t had the desired impact on the audience, and its biggest mistake is not the use of CGI on the Looney Tunes and many other characters, but how it sidelined Bugs Bunny and company.
Space Jam: A New Legacy follows LeBron James as he rescues his son, Dom (Cedric Joe), from the Warner Bros.’ serververse, overseen by an evil A.I. called Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle). LeBron has to lead the Tune Squad in a basketball game against Rhythm’s Goon Squad, formed by digitized and enhanced versions of other NBA stars, and if his team loses, not only will he and Dom stay in the serververse but also everyone else brought there by Rhythm. Due to the “digital era” concept in it, the Looney Tunes went through a quick makeover and got a CGI look, which many viewers weren’t on board with, but the biggest mistake of Space Jam 2 was sidelining the Tune Squad and not letting them lead the story as the did in the first movie, instead leaving that important task to LeBron James, who failed at it.
Although Michael Jordan was the star of Space Jam and the one who led the Tune Squad to victory, the Looney Tunes were the ones who carried the story. It was their conflict with the Monstars that drove them to recruit (or more like kidnap) Michael Jordan and form their basketball team. In Space Jam 2, the story is all about LeBron and his relationship with Dom, and the role of the Looney Tunes was reduced significantly, serving only as LeBron’s way to defeat Al-G Rhythm. While an NBA star like Michael Jordan or LeBron James is a big hook to catch the audience’s attention, in the end, the essence of the universe of Space Jam are the Looney Tunes and their peculiar sense of humor, and Space Jam 2 didn’t have enough faith in these characters to carry the story, even if they easily fit the “family-oriented” vibe that the writers were looking for.
Sadly, this isn’t the only big problem in Space Jam: A New Legacy, as the movie also relied too much on the Warner Bros. franchise with the presence of a number of characters from different universes and its villain failed to make an impression with the audience. However, its biggest flaw it’s definitely how it left the Looney Tunes aside and only used them for the big game instead of making them part of the story, just like the original movie did.
Next: Space Jam 2: Everything That Went Wrong With A New Legacy
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