I’m going to spoil the tip of Space Jam: A New Legacy. I’m very sorry. Space Jam, as a franchise, is identified for its intricate plotting that closely foreshadows fastidiously constructed climaxes, because the Jungian archetype that every Looney Tunes character represents performs off the extra Freudian psychology of the NBA gamers they’re juxtaposed in opposition to for a end that’s each satisfying and thematically wealthy. It’s additionally a film for kids, and should due to this fact conclude with an ending that speaks to the kid in all of us: By being nice and in addition completely predictable.
So in fact, Space Jam: A New Legacy kills Bugs Bunny.
In the tip, video video games do the wily hare in. Unlike the unique movie, the climactic sports activities showdown in Space Jam: A New Legacy isn’t actually a basketball sport. Instead, LeBron James and the Toon Squad are dealing with off in opposition to the Goon Squad in Dom Ball, a online game made by LeBron’s son, Dom. Dom calls it “basketball, but better,” which (1) offends LeBron deeply and (2) is form of true. There aren’t any power-ups within the NBA (simply cool sneakers), and whereas I feel basketball is already fairly candy, it may be even higher if, like Dom Ball, it had a little bit of Mario Kart thrown in there.
Other than the obscure notion of video game-style power-ups, there aren’t any clear guidelines to Dom Ball — however not in a enjoyable method. More in a complicated, how-do-we-know-who’s-going-to-win? method. (The finest and worst second of that is when a thousand-point deficit is closed with a reasonably nice Wile E. Coyote gag involving a ball-multiplier machine that comes out of nowhere just because it’s time for the sport to finish.) The solely factor that’s clear is that, because the sport is happening within the Warner Bros. ServerVerse managed by the sentient algorithm Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle), the complete sport is dictated by his whims. Thus, it’s unattainable to really beat Al-G, as a result of he can at all times cheat.
There is, nevertheless, a flaw in Dom Ball: Dom, desirous to pay tribute to his star father, included a signature transfer LeBron taught him, and put it within the sport. Dom wasn’t in a position to end although, and doing the transfer causes Dom Ball to glitch out, and the character who carried out it to be deleted without end. In the climax of A New Legacy, Dom thinks this may be true of Al-G’s model of Dom Ball too, and that inflicting the glitch will trigger Al-G to lose management — on the expense of 1 participant being deleted without end.
LeBron desires to be the one to sacrifice himself, however simply earlier than he’s about to catch the ball, Bugs intercepts it and performs The Move as an alternative. And the gambit works! The Toons win, the day is saved, and Bugs is mourned on Toon World as he appears to ascend to the heavens in what’s perhaps essentially the most weird scene in a completely weird film.
Space Jam: A New Legacy performs this entire factor with lethal seriousness, too! There’s no wink on the digital camera, no gag undercutting the second. It’s a Bugs Bunny loss of life scene, full cease. Of course, a couple of minutes later, we discover out that Bugs Bunny is now in the true world visiting LeBron, which, if they’re like me, will ship viewers on an existential spiral.
Do Toons go to the true world once they die? If so, is our world heaven or hell? Bugs later tells LeBron that he’s not alone, and different Toons got here with him. Does that imply in addition they needed to die? How did that occur, provided that their entire schtick is surviving issues that kill them, like a number of metric tons of dynamite? Are the Looney Tunes now a loss of life cult? Or is that actually Bugs Bunny on the finish of the movie? Maybe he’s a Cylon? Or a Cylon equal primarily based on no matter Warner Bros. franchise is closest to Battlestar Galactica? Maybe video video games are unhealthy as a result of they killed Bugs Bunny?
This final query is maybe essentially the most fascinating ethical quandary Space Jam: A New Legacy presents audiences with, a conflict between the id of gaming and the ego of the scheming rabbit, suggesting, on the very terrace of one thing referred to as the “E3 Summer Game Camp” that the latter will at all times subsume the previous, and that this Werner Herzog impression I’ve half-committed to illustrates how unmooring it’s to observe a film that works very exhausting to render the whole lot it depicts completely meaningless.
Of course, the Space Jam franchise can redeem itself in a sequel that I do know higher than to dread. No, one other Space Jam could be a chance, a film that would actually tackle the Big Questions instructed right here, one which lays apart the cowardice and provides us, as soon as and for all, a showdown between the Looney Tunes and the King of Gaming: Gerard Butler, star of Gamer. And this time, the bunny stays lifeless.