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

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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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Guillermo Del Toro’s PINOCCHIO | Official Teaser | Netflix

A darker version of the classic children’s fairy tale of a wooden puppet that transforms into a real living boy.

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Genre:

Action, Drama, Family

Release Date:

2022

Director:

Guillermo del Toro

Cast:

Cate Blanchett, Finn Wolfhard, Ewan McGregor, Gregory Mann

Plot Summary:

A darker version of the classic children’s fairy tale of a wooden puppet that transforms into a real living boy.

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Hotel Transylvania: Transformania: Film Review

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Drac and the pack are back like you’ve never seen them before in Hotel Transylvania: Transformania. The fourth and final instalment in the popular Sony Animation franchise is a monster fun-sized epic adventure that’s great for the whole family. It takes the story in new exciting directions whilst still retaining the classic witty and silly humour that the franchise is well known for.

We reunite with our favourite monsters for an all-new story that presents Drac (Brian Hull) with his most terrifying task yet. When Van Helsing’s (Jim Gaffigan) mysterious invention, the “Monsterfication Ray’, goes haywire, Drac and his monster pals are all transformed into humans, and Johnny (Andy Samberg) becomes a monster!. In their new mismatched bodies, it becomes a freaky Friday situation but on a Tuesday. Drac now stripped of his powers, and an exuberant Johnny, loving life as a monster, must team up and race across the globe to find a cure before it’s too late and before they drive each other crazy.

With the help of Mavis (Selena Gomez) and the hilariously human Drac Pack, the heat is on to find a way to switch themselves back before their transformations become permanent.

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It has been a long time since Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation was released, as the fourth instalment in the beloved franchise was delayed due to the ongoing pandemic. But now releasing as an Amazon Original, Hotel Transylvania returns with Transformania. A noteworthy improvement from its predecessor and truly a heartfelt addition to the franchise. What I loved about the film was that through the comedy and gags it showcases wholesome messages and discussions such as coming of age, valuing differences, ageing, and ultimately looking for the good in everything. Animation is a fantastic way to convey these themes to the target audience as it has larger-than-life lovable and goofy characters.

The humour is absolutely funny. Hotel Transylvania has always been a good source of laughter as it’s filled with gags galore. kids will be cracking up non-stop as jokes for all ages feature, even some for the adults.

The animation is just mesmerising as the franchise maintains its gift for well-crafted, creepy silliness. It maintains the durability and gives Transformania an upgrade as each sequence is visually stunning. The Hotel full of monsters includes different textures such as fur, scales and slime and in contrast to that is the lush green South American Jungle Drac and Johnny find themselves in when they head off on the quest to find the cure to transform back. Along the way, though they encounter pollen, piranha, and mosquitoes, getting to see these two characters work together after the last three films establishing their differences was great and surprisingly good.

SONY PICTURES ANIMATION

Transformania also shakes things up a little with some sufficiently goofy body-swap transformations which allow the story to take a sufficient turn and perspective, especially seeing each character’s reactions and ultimately how they now view their counterparts. I loved the Human Drac design which is essentially a stripped-down Dracula who’s become instantly more vulnerable and in Dad-mode but stills retain the hilariousness of the character. Turning Drac’s Pack into humans was also a funny sub-plot as its an interesting turn of events, with Frank (Brad Abrell), Wayne (Steve Buscemi), Griffin the invisible man (David Spade), Murray (Keegan-Michael Key) and Blobby all transformed into humans and Jell-O truly make for an entertaining fun watch.

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The film features gleefully kinetic visuals with action sequences and the storyline showcases that progress can be made when different types of people/monsters work together.

Youtuber turned professional voice-actor Brian Hull who previously voiced Drac in the Hotel Transylvania short “Monster Pets” does such a good job throughout the movie and manages to grow into the role rather well.

For the final chapter of the Hotel Transylvania film series, franchise creator Genndy Tartakovsky returns as one of the screenwriters and executive producers. Selena Gomez will also serve as an executive producer, while reprising her role as Drac’s daughter, Mavis, alongside Andy Samberg, returning as Johnny. The film also features Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Brian Hull, Fran Drescher, Brad Abrell and Asher Blinkoff. Directed by Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska.

Overall Hotel Transylvania: Transformania was a fun pleasant spooktacular surprise and perfect for the whole family to enjoy. Featuring great life lessons for the young audience and adult fans of animation alike.

Amazon Studios will release Hotel Transylvania: Transformania this Friday, January 14th globally on Prime Video.

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Blade Runner: Black Lotus | Official Trailer – Adult Swim

Los Angeles 2032. A young woman wakes up with no memories, and possessing deadly skills. The only clues to her mystery are a locked data device and a tattoo of a black lotus. Putting together the pieces, she must hunt down the people responsible for her brutal and bloody past to find the truth of her lost identity.

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Genre:

Animation, Action, Crime

Release Date:

November 13, 2021

Director:

Shinji Aramaki, Kenji Kamiyama

Cast:

Jessica Henwick, Brian Cox, Wes Bentley, Peyton List

Plot Summary:

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