So here you have a mixture of live action and animation featuring a star more known for his basketball skills than his acting with endless references. Beyond dumb, overlong and filled with references and jokes….I still somewhat enjoyed SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY, the long-delayed sequel to the 1996, Joe Pytka directed cult classic that really has had more of a life AFTER its theatrical release. LEGACY itself was also delayed for a while due to the pandemic and was met with excitement and good (if not great) box office upon its release this summer.
Instead of Michael Jordan, LeBron James is the star and playing himself and the story opens on him as a kid in school in 1998. Already touting a Warner backpack and wanting to be a basketball star, we see his passion early on even though he gets hooked on a GameBoy (just seeing this image makes me want to order one!). It then cuts to present day and he is also wanting his sons to get into basketball, but one of them is wanting to be a video game developer. He takes his son along with him to Warner studios in Burbank after LeBron is invited to a film deal. After an altercation, they are then placed right into Warner’s own servers called “Warner 3000” and wackiness ensues with many film worlds and Warner properties coming to life, including our friendly WB toons.
“Warner 3000” is a big joke on how “IP’s” or “Intellectual Property” is becoming the more mainstream form of entertainment, while also doing the same thing in the movie itself. Don Cheadle has a lot of fun playing the heavy here, and it all results in a big game and bringing all of the Looney Tunes back. There’s lots of meta-humour here, endless references and too many colourful characters to count. It’s also fun to see the voice work of original WB animated characters come back, even though some of it really doesn’t sound like the original characters.
There are so many typical “plot” moments of movies like this, and the more you don’t pick apart the strange developments and just go with the main game and the Looney Tunes jokes, the more fun it is. This really is all about the big game that we are here for, and it does really parallel with the first one in this case. Using more modern animation tech, it is lacking that traditional 2D animation that I love AND at 116 minutes it gets a bit overlong and I felt the big game dragged out longer than it should have, but I can’t say that I was bored while watching it, and it gets the job done.
About the 4k release:
Speaking of getting the job done, this is really a stunning 4k release for a new movie. While the majority of SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY was shot digitally, there is also a few moments shot on film for effect. I saw this theatrically a few months ago in a very good theatre and this is an accurate representation of the transfer on disc. I’m also really pleased to see more Warner transfers in the 1.85 aspect ratio, rather than in 16×9 which has been a standard for the company for many years. On smaller monitors it’s not as noticeable, but on my 65” 4k monitor the proper theatrical framing comes across much stronger. I sampled some of the included Blu Ray feature and it also looks great on my screen, but the 4k definitely shines.
The soundtrack is very loud and lively in Dolby Atmos. Good surrounds and heavy split surrounds in some sequences and as well the soundtrack really thumps at times. Keep the volume level high as the end credits play as there is some great music here too!
A small assortment of production featurettes broken into four “quarters” shows some behind the scenes and interviews, along with a few deleted scenes. All of these features are on the Blu Ray only. There is also a Digital Copy that redeems to Google Play in Canada; the copy redeems in HD but upgrades to 4k in a few days, as per usual, even though the packaging does not note this.
If you already have the first SPACE JAM on 4k disc, this is an easy purchase to double bill it in your collection. While it’s flawed, overall it’s still a fun and colourful blend of old and new with many in-jokes and references that will entertain the family.
SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY is now available on 4k disc, Blu Ray and Digital. As always, our thanks to Warner PR for sending along a copy for review.