Today’s younger generation might not be familiar with the first Space Jam movie, having premiered a quarter of a century ago. Some might not even be familiar with Warner Bros’ Looney Tunes property, its characters no longer holding as much power as they did decades ago. What never fades, however, are stories of family, self-discovery, perseverance, and basketball legends. And Space Jam 2, more formally “Space Jam: A New Legacy” promises to deliver loads of those, courtesy of LeBron “King” James.
The first Space Jam in 1996 had basketball legend Michael Jordan sharing screen time with popular cartoon characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the whole whacky cast of the Looney Tunes franchise. Back then, the movie received mixed feedback but was mostly hailed for its fluid mixed 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: A New Legacy sees four-time NBA champ LeBron James playing as himself trying to do right by his onscreen son Dom and failing. Like any other film of this kind, it takes the kidnapping of said son into a virtual world to set the father off into a journey of discovery and understanding. Of course, with a little help from The Tune Squad.
Unlike in the first film, LeBron himself takes on an animated form but it seems only for a while. Pretty soon, it is the Tunes that get sucked up into a 3D world while retaining their unrealistic elasticity. Just as Space Jam ’96 was pretty much a demonstration of the cinematographic technology of that period, Space Jam 2 also boasts of modern developments as well as tropes and memes that would have probably looked just as alien decades ago as the original’s antagonists.
Space Jam: A New Legacy premieres in theaters on July 16, 2021. Just like with almost any movie during these pandemic days, the film will be available for streaming on HBO Max but only 31 days after its theatrical release.