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(Credit: Warner)

Space Jam 2: A sickening new legacy for commercial cinema?

Being invented in the dark, gothic, candle-lit drawing rooms of film industry board rooms across Hollywood is a new type of movie. Compiling characters, kingdoms and random properties, these pieces of commercial propaganda take a loose core concept, then take the icons of this concept on a tour across pop culture. The Wreck-It Ralph sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet took us on an infuriating trip of Disney’s hottest properties, whilst the hellish Emoji Movie seemed to lead us on a sickeningly frenetic tour of ‘the latest hottest apps’. Though the latest unlikely film to sign its name in blood to this soulless concept is Space Jam: A New Legacy, taking Looney Tunes’ iconic roster to become the latest sacrificial birds and bunnies.

Hollywood may have existed as a headquarters of commercial entertainment for over a century, though never have their business intentions been so insultingly transparent as in the list of aforementioned films. Taking audiences on an ‘adoring’ tour through their most famous properties, Warner Brothers lock viewers in for a rollercoaster ride of appearances and callbacks to irrelevant franchises in Space Jam: A New Legacy, seemingly just to show the power of their library. You can scream to go faster all you want but the film lasts an agonising two hours.

Bugs Bunny, Tweety and Daffy Duck, once iconic characters of the Looney Tunes are reduced to being lame mascots for the more profitable properties of Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and Mad Max. Though whilst it may appear for Warner Bros. as a successful advertisement for their company, in reality, it is a desperate attempt to appear modern and relevant, after all, franchises like Harry Potter and Game of Thrones have long since departed from the public eye, with the latter disappearing to flaming torches and the shouts of a raging mob.

Following in the footsteps of the original 1996 classic, Space Jam: A New Legacy copies the core plotline whilst muscling in as many cameos as possible, no matter the irrelevance. Tunes gather from around Warner Brothers’ dystopian commercial world to play basketball against LeBron James and the animated team of characters, including the deserts of Mad Max’s Australia and the jungles of Wonder Woman’s Themyscira. If this wasn’t bad enough, crowded shoulder-to-shoulder within the bright neon basketball stadium is a cascade of random Warner Bros. characters watching on in pointless jubilation. 

The appearance of Pennywise the clown from Stephen King’s It, The Droogs from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, and astonishingly the possessed nuns from the controversial The Devils (famously loathed by Warner Brothers) are there as supposed trophies in Warner Brothers cabinet, though instead appear as ancient relics to a once respectable company. Their arrogance and pretence of charm is perhaps the most infuriating aspect, for how can they claim to respect such icons of cinema history when it is Warner Bros themselves who condemned the cinematic medium by striking a deal with HBO Max in 2020. 

If you want a picture of cinema’s future, imagine not the Orwellian boot stamping on a face, but the image of metallic green Beats headphones dangling around Daffy Duck’s neck. 

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