Space Jam: A New Legacy plays the same game as its predecessor, but this time around with a new star basketball player and virtually every single Warner Bros. property entering the court. It's funny at times, delivers a sweet family message, and is eye candy for everyone. The downfall is that it's a staggering two hours and takes entirely too long to cross the finish ling. This 4K with an HDR10 video presentation and its Dolby Atmos audio track are both fantastic and perhaps demo-worthy. The few bonus features are pretty good too. Worth A Look.
It was all whacky basketball games in 1996's hit film Space Jam, that featured the champ of the sport at the time - Michael Jordan, who teamed up with the Looney Tunes characters to play a game of basketball. The sequel has finally hit some years later with Space Jam: A New Legacy that now has the new best baller, LeBron James, in the same situation. There are enough fun and cameo appearances that will appeal to all ages this time around, but the added thirty-minute runtime did nobody any favors here. The film is silly, dumb, and over-the-top, but one would be hard-pressed to not laugh along and enjoy the insanity of virtually all Warner Bros. properties converging to watch LeBron play basketball with the likes of Bugs Bunny. Space Jam: A New Legacy is definitely worth a watch.
Back in 1996, Space Jam featured everyone's favorite sports player, Michael Jordan, which allowed everyone to see his sense of humor and genuine playful attitude. The cast was filled with legendary comedians the likes of Bill Murray, Wayne Knight, and Danny DeVito. That film went on to make over $250 million, which way surpassed its budget. It's puzzling that it took more than twenty-five years to make a sequel with that kind of success. Nevertheless, Space Jam: A New Legacy is here and capitalizes off the winks and nods of Ready Player One, which had numerous other characters and properties from other films and video games, show up in one movie. Through some decent family drama that conveys a good message to kids and adults, along with some pretty hilarious mash-ups - this new Space Jam is entertaining, despite its long runtime.
Like the first film, the movie follows real-life basketball player LeBron James and a fictional version of his family. His youngest son Dom is more interested in video game development than playing basketball, which causes friction between father and son. After a mishap where Dom allows his dad to play. the new video game he created, LeBron takes his son to the Warner Lot for a meeting. At this meeting, Warner Bros. displays a new venture called Warner 3000 that would have LeBron's likeness be inserted into any Warner Bros. property by the way of a new artificial intelligence system called Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle).
Soon after this, LeBron and his son are literally transferred into a Matrix-like-system inside the Warner server room, much like how the Oasis worked in Ready Player One, but in real life. Al G. Rhythm persuades young Dom to turn against his father and play him in a 5-on-5 basketball game where the losers will have to stay inside the virtual world forever. Dom teams up with NBA and WNBA players while LeBron gets the Looney Tunes, all while every single Warner Bros. movie character watches from the sidelines - even Jack Nicholson dressed as the 1989 Joker.
The trouble with this film is that it is entirely too long. It runs at 120 minutes and it has no business doing this. The first film was 88 minutes long and did everything it needed to by the end. With Malcolm D. Lee's (Girl's Trip, Night School) film, the movie wants to deal with the father/son melodrama more than it should. It takes 30 minutes for any Looney Tune to pop on screen and more than an hour for any real basketball to be played. It didn't help that there were six credited writers for this screenplay either, which felt at times like a jumbled-up mess that got off course. In these elements, the film suffers greatly as it tries to be something more than it is.
On the flip side of this coin are some pretty spectacular mash-ups. Who knew that what the world needed was Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote running around in Mad Max: Fury Road - complete with a Witness Me scene. As LeBron is recruiting the rest of the Looney Tunes on other Warner property planets, the laughs keep coming were the favorite Looney characters are conversing with the likes of Austin Powers or even Wonder Woman. Of course, it's exciting to see other characters like a Goonie or Pennywise the evil clown watching basketball too, but the real showdown is how chaotic and silly a game of basketball can be when there are no rules and Looney Tunes are in charge.
By the predictable end, there's a decent message in there for parents and children about following one's dreams and cherishing one's individuality. Cheadle and the rest of the voice cast are great, where LeBron James is mostly wooden, but can let out a bit of comedic timing here and there. The visuals are outstanding and full of life as well. The song list will excite any kid as well that plays through the film. But again, this just didn't need to be two hours long. That being said, this is still worth a watch, even if it's just for the amazing mash-ups of different Warner Bros. properties.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Space Jam: A New Legacy shoots its way to a 2-disc 4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital set courtesy of Warner Bros. The discs are housed inside a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve, featuring the artwork of LeBron James and the Looney Tunes. There is an insert for the digital code as well.
Space Jam: A New Legacy comes with a 2160p UHD transfer with HDR10 with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 that looks vivid and bright from start to finish.
The wagon wheel of color in this movie is insane. There are millions upon millions of colors in every scene, especially inside the Warner server universe. Bright pops of neon coloring, explosions of fireworks or bright pinks, light blues, purples, bright lime greens, and more all populate the screen. When in Looney Tune world, the colors of the 2D animation look warmer with tons of oranges, yellows, reds, and more. But elsewhere the color palette is much cooler with darker colors. This is a utopia of bubblegum pop coloring and it oozes every chance it gets. Black levels are deep and inky and skin tones are natural. The HDR10 enhances those darker levels without losing any detail and the extreme amount of neon colors are nuanced that burst everywhere.
The detail on the humans is excellent with closeups that reveal facial pores, beads of sweat, individual hairs, and the little bubbles on the basketball. The CGI and 2D animation are both detailed as well, such as when the Tunes go 3D and all of their textures, fur, and glistening eyeballs reveal their fine detail. It's hard to keep up with all the cameos in the background because it happens so fast and they're constantly moving, but it all looks amazing. There are no major issues of banding, aliasing, or video noise either.
This release comes with an impressive Dolby Atmos track and rightfully so. This film and its audio mix fully utilize the Dolby Atmos setup. Sound effects are turned up to eleven and have some excellent directionality. Explosions, spaceships, debris falling, and the physical brutality of player vs player is simply outstanding. Each of these big moments comes with a hefty had of bass that has a roaring rumble that never crosses into rocky territory.
Surround speakers allow for crowd cheers, claps, and other Looney noises. The height speakers are fully immersive and sound off a lot of the time with various sound effects, making for a completely whacky soundtrack. It's a lot of fun for sure. The song list and score always add to the insanity and energy too. The dialogue is clean and clear, free of any pops, cracks, and hiss. This could be a demo-worthy track for sure.
There is 39 minutes worth of bonus material here. The behind-the-scenes are better than expected. Not too much else here.
Space Jam: A New Legacy is a corny, fun, entertaining movie. There is something for just about everyone here, whether it be action sequences, a decent family message, or seeing favorite Warner properties show up for a silly adventure. The trouble is that it lasts entirely too long than it needs to. Still, it's always a good time to see that rascally rabbit and his friends have a ball. The 4K image with HDR10 and the Dolby Atmos track is both exquisite and a couple of extras are better than the average EPK. Worth A Watch.