Words by Karan Teli
It’s been 25 years since Space Jam. A film that for so many of people, myself included, was a big part of their childhood. I loved that movie growing up, but because of what it meant to me. Merging a super-duper star athlete like Michael Jordan (super-duper is only reserved for a select few) with Looney Tunes, the cartoon that pretty much epitomises what it was like growing up as a child in that era, was something new and exciting, and as a child, it‘s that feeling you cherish about the movie. You wouldn’t rewatch Space Jam because it’s a “great movie”, but because it reminds you of the first time you saw Looney Tunes play basketball with Michael Jordan.
The great thing about Space Jam though, 25 years later, it’s not a corny movie. Watching it back as an adult, it’s not cringeworthy at all. It’s still a fun and enjoyable movie that really has lasted the test of time. Which begs the question… why a sequel?
They said he would be the next Michael Jordan when he was 16 years old, but even this was something that seem far fetched. I’ve heard rumblings of ‘Space Jam 2’ for years, but never actually imagined it would exist one day. But here we are.
I’ll be the first to admit, going into this, I was worried. I was very worried. LeBron already gets enough criticism for anything he does for some weird reason. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone said he’s not the GOAT because Michael’s Space Jam is better than his.
I’m expecting some cringeworthy moments during the movie and some not so great acting, but that’s to be expected. I just hope there isn’t too many.
Considering the Looney Tunes aren’t exactly the most revel at cartoon characters on TV these days, it was always a question of how would they introduced into the movie, but I thought that was nailed perfectly. The movie even poked fun at the fact that Looney Tunes aren’t as popular as they once were when LeBron was ordered into the ‘Wasteland’ which is how he’s introduced to Bugs Bunny. Making fun of yourself is always funny, so I thought that initial challenge of bringing the gang back was nailed perfectly.
Looney Tunes aside, the movie does capture the current times very well. Everything from the astounding amount of technology used to the fact that LeBron’s follower count is a contributing factor as to why he’s chosen by King Al-G-Rhythm, in 25 years, will remind people how life was in 2021. As you would expect, being a children’s movie, the plot is not overly complicated and easy to follow, but if I had 100 guesses, I never would have guessed a plot like this one. That’s all I will say on that.
Those cringeworthy scenes I knew were coming and was so worried about, in all honesty, weren’t too bad. There’s a few moments where it’s painfully obvious LeBron is not an actor, but I rarely found myself cringing or wishing a moment would just be over because it’s just too painful.
The overarching theme of a family bond, along with encouraging children creatively express themselves and make their own decisions, is a great touch, and as a child watching, or even a father, is always a great lesson to learn.
Even now, in 2021, Looney Tunes are still funny. I guess they just always will be. They provided pretty much most of the humour throughout the movie (Khris Davis as Lebron’s agent was also hilarious). The way Lillard, Davis and co. we’re used as stars as ‘Goon Squad’ was fun and unique.
Sitting here as a 25 year old, of course this movie isn’t going to be ‘Space Jam’. It’s not even fair to compare the two. But as the title appropriately suggests, this is about creating a New Legacy. If I hear ‘Space Jam’, I’ll always see Michael flying through the air for the dunk. I’m sure that will always be the same for many of us. But the next generation, they get to see them both.