As a proud graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, home of Michael Jordan, aka the G.O.A.T., I am contractually obligated to acknowledge the 1996 film “Space Jam” as a cinematic masterpiece. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for this year’s follow up film, “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” starring the modern G.O.A.T. in LeBron James and the Looney Tune crew.
After hitting theaters and HBO Max back in mid-July, the sequel is now heading home on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. While the home releases may enhance the audio and video experiences of the film, they can’t do anything to rescue the absolute mess of a storyline.
When LeBron’s son, Dom (Cedric Joe), is dragged into the “Server-verse
of the evil A.I. Al G. Rhythm, the NBA star must follow his son into the digital world to rescue him. What LeBron finds inside the Server-verse is Bugs Bunny and the iconic Looney Tunes crew, alongside a mishmash of Warner Bros. intellectual property, which ultimately leads to a final showdown on the basketball court.
To clarify a few things: my thoughts on this film are in no way part of a pro-Jordan, anti-LeBron agenda. I truly could not care less about the G.O.A.T. debate, which “Space Jam” movie is better, or any other debate around the two. Additionally, I am well aware that “A New Legacy” is a children’s movie, and I am a 24-year-old film critic. Regardless, even the guise of a movie made for kids cannot justify this mess.
Instead of building off the meta nature of its predecessor, “A New Legacy” swaps out wit and charm for an IP-driven, feature-length advertisement for the Warner catalogue. With appearances from film and TV, LeBron finds himself alongside characters from “Harry Potter,” “Game of Thrones,” “King Kong,” “The Iron Giant,” and any other Warner property to have ever existed. There’s simply no way to justify this. In no world is a child watching this film going to be entertained by in-depth references to “The Matrix,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Casablanca,” or any other number of films they’ve never even heard of.
In terms of what the home release gets right, at least the sound and visuals can’t be harmed by the IP overflow. The cartoon nature of much of the film lends itself to a wide range of vivid colors, and the film carries this over well. The dialogue is crisp and clear, and the music and sound effects are impressive.
As far as bonus features, the featurettes are inspired by an NBA basketball game and split into four brief quarters. Let’s take a look!
Special Features on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital
- First Quarter: Game On – Hear straight from LeBron and director Malcolm D. Lee how this long-rumored project finally came to be.
- Second Quarter: Teamwork – Take a look with special effects and makeup creator Howard Berger at the creation of each character in “A New Legacy.”
- Third Quarter: Out of This World – Get a behind the scenes look at the motion-capture process that brought the biggest NBA stars onto the big screen.
- Fourth Quarter: The Looniest – Dive into the songs and score of the film.
- Deleted Scenes – Seven minutes of deleted scenes from the film.
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.