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Mario Is Dead…So What Is Next?

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March 31st signified the end of the reign of Mario and his 35 years of existence. Depending on your preference, you were either happy for the extra attention the red plumber received – or like some, you were more than ready for his time in the spotlight to come to a halt. Especially considering a particular Nintendo mascot (hint: A little man in green) did not get the same love for their 35th anniversary of another popular Nintendo franchise.

We have moved past the death of Mario and are sitting here pondering what is next for Nintendo. Nintendo recently gave us a new Monster Hunter game to gush about and it is indeed a solid entry; nevertheless we are still wondering what bigger moves are to come for Nintendo?

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD remaster will surely be a huge hit for Nintendo in July as well as other unreleased titles including a few new Pokémon titles, but what about E3? Also, what about the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro? Maybe Nintendo did such a fantastic job over the last two years, as gamers we have become spoiled, but with so much in terms of library availability should we not expect more?

Maybe I am a being a bit hasty here, but 2020 was such a magnetic and massive year for the Switch that I am clamoring for much more. Maybe more secrets will trickle out during the E3 conference in June, but with a lack of love for the Legend of Zelda series, and a few new competitors in tow with the new next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft; it is time Nintendo drops a bomb that will keep it in the ranks among the other console elites.

The stagnant movement of Nintendo has been this way for most of the year. With a lack of major triple AAA titles, it seems the company is in a minor flux. Also let’s be honest, who wouldn’t pay the extra $3.99 to play Earthbound on the virtual console? It is time Nintendo pays attention to it’s consumers. It’s free money to port a title over when you have the rights, or maybe Nintendo is just playing hardball here.

Don’t get me wrong, Nintendo has done a spectacular job with the Switch and has totally closed the gap on it’s more “Prettier” console competition, but with the silence from Nintendo recently, we are ready to see what 2021 has in store. Maybe 2020 wrote a check that 2021 for Nintendo can’t cash? Well only time will tell…The ball is in your court Nintendo, make your move.

 

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Space Jam: A New Legacy – Review | Sadly not a Slam-dunk

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As a child of the nineties, I’m gonna hold my hands up and say that I was onboard the hype-train for Space Jam: A New Legacy – the sequel to one of Warner Bros most bizarre properties. In the 1996 Space Jam, basketball player Michael Jordan (at the peak of his fame) gets pulled through a golf hole into the animated Looney Tunes world and must compete in a basketball game against some aliens in order to save Bugs Bunny and the gang from a lifetime of slave labour as nightclub entertainment… for real, that was the plot.

I would say only something as ridonkulous as Space Jam could’ve been made in the 90’s. But here we are 25 years later and we have WB’s cashing in on the nostalgia of 30 year old millennials like myself, bashing out a CGI-upgraded rehash – only with LeBron James heading to Toon World this time.

Does it posses the same magic of the first film? Let’s just say some ideas are better off left in the nineties. 

The plot of New Legacy sees Lebron pushing his son Dom (Cedric Joe) down the basketball path but Dom would rather spend his summer designing video games. After a father/son spat, LeBron and Dom are sucked into the Warner Brothers Serververse by a malevolent artificial intelligence known as Al G Rhythm (a gleeful Don Cheadle), where LeBron is forced to compete in a livestream basketball game with the Looney Tunes – which he must win if he wants his kidnapped son back. It’s not a copy-and-paste job of the first film but it certainly hits all the beats you expect it to.

Naturally the visual effects have come a long way in the last quarter of a century, so the film is more visually dynamic and detailed than the predecessor. But still, there’s an artificiality to New Legacy. It’s got the looks and the moves but it lacks heart. Sure, there’s fun sequences to enjoy – a trippy world-hopping scene, making pitstops at numerous WB intellectual properties is a standout but the final product left me feeling empty.

What gave the first Space Jam its distinct flavours was its epic soundtrack. To this day I still attest it’s one of the most underrated film soundtracks of all time. With its collection of smooth R&B tracks from Seal, Barry White, Robin S, and ahem R Kelly, it resulted in Space Jam having an unexpected amount of soul. I can’t say the same thing with New Legacy. The music choices are functional but the most effective were the nods to the previous film like 2 Unlimited’s Get Ready and Technotronic’s Pump Up the Jam. Everything else was merely background noise. 

LeBron James’ acting leaves a lot to be desired. It’s clear he’s giving the task of carrying a movie his best attempt but the audience is very aware that we’re watching a performance. A pitch-meeting scene where LeBron even says “Athletes doing acting never goes well” would’ve been funny, if it not for James’ inability to nuance his delivery of the line with some irony. Best stick to hoops LeBron.

What was even more surprising was the lack of personality in Zendaya’s voice work as Lola Bunny. Comparatively to Kath Soucie who previously voiced the spunky basket-dunking-bunny, Zendaya felt rather unremarkable in the role.

Also how does a film with a recycled plot manage to be almost half an hour longer than the original? Where the first film was a brisk 90 minutes, New Legacy certainly overstays its welcome clocking in at nearly 2 hours. 

Space Jam: A New Legacy proves that lightening doesn’t strike twice. There’s enough entertaining sequences and zany moments for kids to enjoy and adults are sure to get a kick out of the Warner Brothers Easter Eggs hiding in the mise-en-scène. Who knows, perhaps the 5 – 12 year olds of today will be speaking with fond nostalgia of New Legacy when they hit 30 but from the perspective of this bitter millennial this unnecessary sequel is merely a glossy and soulless cash-cow. 

★★☆☆☆

Space Jam: A New Legacy is in Cinemas worldwide on July 16th and also available on HBO Max in some regions.

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Wagman Studios | 2021 Summer Movies Mashup

Summer blockbusters are back! Take a look at this short mashup containing over 20 of the summer’s hottest movies

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Summer blockbusters are back! Take a look at this short mashup containing over 20 of the summer’s hottest movies

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Netflix | Stranger Things: Season 4 – Teases Eleven’s Back Story

The upcoming fourth season of the American science fiction horror television series Stranger Things, titled Stranger Things 4, was announced by Netflix in September 2019. The fourth season has continued to be produced by the show’s creators the Duffer Brothers, along with Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen, and Iain Paterson.

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The upcoming fourth season of the American science fiction horror television series Stranger Things, titled Stranger Things 4, was announced by Netflix in September 2019. The fourth season has continued to be produced by the show’s creators the Duffer Brothers, along with Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen, and Iain Paterson.

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