That cinema is big business, especially in Hollywood, nobody can doubt it. The tug of war between artistic directors who want to defend the ideas of their creativity and producers who seek to make money seems like the bread and butter of every day. However, with a project like Space Jam: New Legends (Malcolm D. Lee, 2021), starring basketball player LeBron James, such a thing does not happen because the only purpose in the mind of the team is the commercial one.
Especially with the basic ingredient of nostalgia of viewers for a little movie like Space jam (Joe Pytka, 1996), which Warner Bros. has decided to exploit twenty-five years after its release. Then, it tripled its final budget at the planetary box office and was the tenth with the highest grossing, surpassing other successful proposals such as The English Patient, scream or Trainspotting (Anthony Minghella, Wes Craven, Danny Boyle, 1996).
A more logical director for ‘Space Jam: New Legends’
However, if the choice of LeBron James as the main character involves the same logic as that of the famous Michael Jordan a quarter of a century ago, that of the American Joe Pytka as director was much more shocking than now that of his compatriot Malcolm D. Lee for that position in Space Jam: New Legends.
One has hardly ever left the video clips, while the other had already taken care of up to ten sorry comedy feature films; nine of them with a majority of African-American actors, just like the new Looney Tunes adventure. Since Best friend of the groom (1999), going through Secret brother (2002), On wheels (2005), Welcome home, Roscoe Jenkins; Soul men (2008), Scary Movie 5, The Reunion (2013), Barbershop 3: Everybody Needs a Haircut (2016) and Girls plan (2017), up to School for failures (2018). So we could imagine what this would lead to.
A bigger show than its predecessor
None of the four original screenwriters repeats in this sequel, in whose libretto up to six people have put their hands, among which Juel Taylor (Creed 2: The Legend of Rocky). However, we found that the continuation of Space jam respect the spirit that defines the latter; a simple entertainment with a premise that never goes beyond its reduced borders, and that reproduces its same structure and elements.
And while it’s not consistent with the Looney Tunes home, the storytellers know they need to offer something more colorful than its predecessor. Thus, the show in which LeBron James intervenes is greater and the tricks on the court, more varied, with timely but never brilliant planning. On the other hand, the tribulations of the athlete in fiction they surpass those of Michael Jordan with absolute clarity in their emotional aspect, determining the development of the plot.
LeBron James’ court collapses
With these wickers, Space Jam: New Legends it could have been a Joe Pytka-like trifle, an acceptable popcorn pastime bordering on tasteless. But it rushes into a few arbitrariness, jokes that rarely hit the mark, stomachache speeches fat brush, implausibilities that cannot be ignored, characters that are a comic I want and cannot and a villain, the Al G. Rhythm that he embodies an awkward Don Cheadle (Mission to mars), which would have required a more histrionic interpreter or with a debasing charisma to which the face of James Rhodes cannot choose no matter how much it proposes.
All this makes the late sequel to Space jam with LeBron James collapses, and that serves as a confirmation that appealing to the public’s cinematic nostalgia to fill their pockets, without taking care of the details of the product for fear of screwing it up like that, it’s never enough. And neither the parodies of Looney Tunes nor the thousand and one movie references manage to save it.