After more than two decades, the sequel to Micheal Jordan’s beloved Spam Jam is going down. Space Jam 2: New Legacy, is set to release July 16, 2021, and this time around, LeBron James is expected to lead a squad in defending Earth. And he has an All-Star cast behind him.
Also in the movie will be stars Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson, and James’ Lakers teammate Anthony Davis. It won’t be a men’s only affair, as WNBA stars Diana Taurasi and Nneka Ogwumike will also be in the film.
Sources: Space Jam 2, starring LeBron James, is expected to feature key roles for Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis and Klay Thompson and WNBA stars Diana Taurasi and Nneka Ogwumike. Several more NBA and WNBA players, including Chiney Ogwumike, are expected to play roles in film.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 20, 2019
Chasing the ghost of Michael Jordan hasn’t been easy for LeBron James. Despite Space Jam 2’s hype, James might fall short of stepping out of the original’s shadow.
3- Space Jam 2 visuals already lacking
One of the more beloved factors of the first Space Jam was the jerseys Jordan and crew sported in their game against the Monstars. Decades after Space Jam’s release, men and women of all age groups still rock the originals jerseys.
These new jersey’s don’t hit the same.
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) August 18, 2020
The teal and orange combination is loud, failing to mesh together. But therein lies the problem when recreating classics: there are always too many additions.
The original jerseys were simple and clean. Of course, there could’ve been additions, but there weren’t many needed. For some reason, they scrapped the entire blueprint and did way too much to the jerseys.
That could be a very bad omen.
2- Sequels are never better than the original
There is a common saying that sequels are never better than the original. Generally speaking, the saying is true.
As movies become sequels there’s a weird, inherit need to reference their original — whether it’s inside jokes for fans or recreating scenes. This takes away from the specialness of the movie, turning it into fan fiction.
Finally, some movies weren’t written with a sequel in mind. Space Jam is one of those movies. It was based on Michael Jordan leaving the NBA and playing baseball. LeBron James, though he has toured the NBA, has never left. Jordan playing with the Looney Tunes helped him realize that he loves playing basketball, resulting in MJ going back to the NBA. There isn’t a correlation– unless in a strange turn of events the movie will reveal James’ desire to retire.
On top of that, Looney Tunes aren’t as popular as they were in the ’90s. Kids of today didn’t grow up on Looney Tunes, or even the Baby Looney Tunes. Instead, they play Fortnite and watch Spongebob. It would be surprising if kids know who Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck are. Could you imagine asking kids who Elmer Fudd is or Road Runner was to children in this day and age?
Space Jam was written to be a one-time thing. Creating a new concept will be very hard for the writer.
1- The first Space Jam wasn’t that good
Space Jam is a millennial cult favorite, but if honesty is the policy, it wasn’t the Avengers or even Marley and Me.
Nostalgia plays a large role in current adults’ memories of the beloved movie. Space Jam added to the cultural legacy of Micheal Jordan and the Looney Tunes. It had a legendary soundtrack and was forever bound with the memory of Jordan’s early retirement then legendary return.
But the movie itself wasn’t a masterpiece. To start, the acting was underwhelming. If you are going to use real-life athletes, you need to balance them out with actors who can save a scene and create laughs — think about LeBron James’ other film Trainwreck.
There’s a reason Uncle Drew added more comic relief characters to counterpoint their cast of basketball stars. Bill Murray and Wayne Knight work admirably opposite Jordan here, but the other basketball players aren’t given any big-name actors to save their tragically unfunny beats that comprise far more of the film than you remember.
Even more, the movie stretched out certain scenes longer than it needed to. While Space Jam is meant to be Michael Jordan’s story, he isn’t even brought into the world of the Looney Tunes until a half-hour into the film. Until then, audiences are bored to tears by a plot involving Jordan’s short-lived baseball career and far too much exposition.
Once Jordan is brought into the world of Looney Tunes, the film struggled to fill time until the showdown between the Tunes and aliens. Instead, there a ton of unnecessary scenes, like that of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck going back to the real world to get gym shorts Michael forgot, even though he is going to be given a uniform by the team mere minutes later.
Space Jam wasn’t a masterpiece but served as cultural nostalgia for an entire generation. LeBron James and company’s margin for error is very slim in living up to the legacy of Space Jam, and by the looks of it, they do not have the proper playbook.