“ATHLETES ACTING, that never goes well.” This throwaway joke uttered by LeBron James in Space Jam: A New Legacy may be the film’s only pseudo acknowledgment that the original Space Jam wasn’t an unimpeachable masterpiece. For years, the 1996 hit, in which Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and a variety of Looney Tunes characters are forced to play an intergalactic game of basketball, was one of those movies kids adored and parents forced themselves to sit through. James, who was 11 when Space Jam came out, was reportedly one of those kids and has now replaced Jordan as the star of the franchise, perhaps setting the stage for a lucrative post-NBA career.
Here’s the good news for King James: Questions about who’s the better player aside, he is certainly a better actor than His Airness ever was. He also has the advantage of working with journeyman director Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man, Undercover Brother, Girls Trip), an underappreciated pro who keeps things bouncing along—a step up from the first film’s Joe Pytka, who, despite being an acclaimed commercial director, couldn’t properly frame a close-up.
The film’s basic idea has value too. Those of us who became parents in the subsequent years have discovered that the combination of NBA superstars and classic cartoon characters remains potent to this day. This may be why the premise of Space Jam: A New Legacy hasn’t steered far from that of its predecessor: Our hero must assemble a team with Bugs, Daffy, and the rest of the Looney Tunes crew for a high-stakes game against some intimidating creatures who have been given the skills of real-life basketball stars (including Klay Thompson, Diana Taurasi, and James’s own Lakers teammate Anthony Davis).
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Ruth Ozeki, Amplifier
Her latest novel teems with voices—most of them belonging to what she might call “nonhuman persons.” The book of form and emptiness is out September 21.
The ‘Bingo' Heiress's Fantastical Duplex
With its Fragonard staircase, koi-pond bathroom, and rodeo-themed kitchen, Gail Ann Lowe Maidman’s apartment is like nothing else on the Upper East Side. Or anywhere else, really.
THE POPE OF GLOOP
For 60 years, Gaetano Pesce has been preaching the gospel of uncertainty in design. Finally, the world has caught up.
The Group Portrait: Emerson String Quartet
They’re moving into the coda of a peerless 47-year run.
The Money Game: Jen Wieczner
The Antiquarian’s Approach to Crypto Wall Street’s top cop wants to police new finance with old rules.
The National Interest: Jonathan Chait
Democrats for Rent The wealth lobby is buying them up to defeat Biden’s tax reform.
You've Heard This One Before
Maggie Nelson believes we react too quickly and think ungenerously. In her new book, she’s guilty of doing both.
Ride Like Hell
Exploited by apps. Attacked by thieves. Unprotected by police. The city’s 65,000 bikers have only themselves to count on.
Jessica Chastain and Liv Ullmann – Same Role, 48 Years Apart
Jessica Chastain reprises Liv Ullmann’s part in the Ingmar Bergman classic Scenes From a Marriage. Their approaches couldn’t be more different.
The U.N.'s Own Humanitarian Crisis
Four years after promising to address its internal “scourge” of sexual assault and abuse, the massive, multinational, extralegal institution remains in conflict with itself.