Space Jam: A New Legacy sees audiences refamiliarise themselves with the Looney Tunes and an unsuspecting basketball legend to save the Earth once more 25 years after Michael Jordan.
Starring Los Angeles’ Lakers player LeBron James, the latest Space Jam sees the basketballer facing against Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle), an omnipresent algorithm created by the Warner Bros studio.
Initially created as an algorithm to predict and create the best selling films for the studio, Al G. Rhythm chooses LeBron to become the face for the studio as King of Earth. However, when LeBron declines the invite to be the face for all Warner Bros releases Rhythm seeks vengeance capturing him and his son. Challenging LeBron to basketball, and capturing LeBron’s son, Rhythm provides an ultimatum: the winner takes freedom and the boy.
It should be known that Warner Bros studios have a history to self-reference their own intellectual property as introduced in the Animaniacs with the characters being Yakko and Wakko Warner Brothers, with their sister being named Dot referencing the full-stop at in the Warner Bros. name.
Though given the most recent films released by Warner Bros. Animated: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies and Scoob! the studio has become reliant on referring to properties owned by themselves. Personally it indicates that the only thing Warner Bros. know how to tell a story about is themselves.
To contextualise this within Space Jam: A New Legacy LeBron and Bugs Bunny recruit the scattered members of the Tune Squad; seeing the film travel through Gotham and Metropolis from the DC Universe; Westeros from Game of Thrones; and Elmer Fudd replaces Verne Troyer’s iconic Mini-Me in Austin Powers. A truly chaotic mix up of varying franchises never once adding anything to tell the story.
That’s Not All Folks
In fact, Rick and Morty dump the Tasmanian Devil in space after announcing to audiences that they had finished ‘investigating’ Taz, which maturer fans will instinctively assume to mean that the childish whirlwind beast received an anal probing that proved pointless.
Moreover, this bonkers dump of Warner Bros intellectual property doesn’t stop there. At the basketball game that Space Jam hypes over, more inappropriate cameos can be spotted in the background. Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King’s IT and the Droogs from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange buddy up with Voldemort and King Kong to root for our heroes’ victory.
Both examples of IT and A Clockwork Orange have proved controversial examples of Warner Bros cameos as both instances feature adult mature content within their stories. The novelisation of IT portrays an underage gang rape, while the Droogs are a hyper-criminal group of rapists and thugs that perform the Ludovico Technique.
So to feature these in Space Jam portrays bad decision making and oversight on what audiences are after from the Space Jam storyline aside from the cartoon slapstick.
Warner Bros really went all out flexing their intellectual property, and completely lose focus on the story, with the only element tying the sequel to its original being basketball, Lola Bunny (Zendaya) and the Looney Tunes. As mentioned, there is a story with LeBron and his son but realistically audiences only care for the comedy and/or the basketball.
Ironically, for a story about an algorithm best predicting what film will work best to make Warner Bros the most amount of money, Space Jam: A New Legacy certainly proved its point even if its story and amalgamation of cameos were mind-numbingly awful that we may as well have been experiencing the Ludovico Technique.