To say that my nieces and nephew, and sister and I, were excited to see this is an understatement. There was a great screeching and waving of arms – and that was just me because I knew that Ms12, Mr9 and Ms5 were hanging to see it and to be able to take them to see this would make me the world’s greatest auntie.
For 90s kids, and plenty of other kids as time has gone on, the original Space Jam is one of those movies that is generally loved, no matter how many plot holes or advertising references were in it.
In this iteration, we see how LeBron James grew up to be the most amazing player by learning that success in basketball is achieved by focus and hard work. He then seeks to pass this on to his children, and while his oldest child follows in his footsteps, his younger son Dom is not really interested in basketball except as a fun past-time and his main passion is designing video games. It is this video game that is found and used by the film’s evil villain Al-G Rhythm to kidnap Dom then drag the world in to the Warner Brothers Serververse. The Serververse is run from the Warner Brothers main computer room and this is where all the Looney Toons characters and everything else from Warner Brothers lives. Al-G Rhythm is determined to take over the worlds, and it all comes down to a basketball match against the Goon Squad. If LeBron & the Tune Squad win, everyone goes back to their world, otherwise they are stuck in the Serververse forever.
Don Cheadle’s over-acting as Al-G Rhythm did make me roll my eyes, but he is the stereotypical evil villain. LeBron James is actually quite good – many sports-starts-turned-actors are wooden or one-dimensional but James seems relaxed and realistic… though he is acting as himself! There are great interactions with the cartoon characters, too. If anything, I’d have liked to see more of the characters, as really they are there to support James look awesome. In particular, not enough Marvin the Martian!
There have been a few reviews sledging this film and to me, and to the kids, this seems like it is because the reviewers have looked at it from a different angle. In the eyes of adults, sure, we see the gaping plot holes, laugh “at” rather than “with” some of the corny jokes and roll our eyes more, but kids see it all as great fun. They are the target audience, they love the silly jokes, interactions with cartoon characters, mad basketball moves and links to video games.
My nieces and nephew’s highlights were the jokes, the cameos from other characters from Warner Brothers (spotting them during the basketball match was a bit like Where’s Wally? And Mr9 is really good at it) and just the general sense of fun. We all walked out of the cinema laughing and as an auntie, there’s nothing better than knowing you’ve successfully entertained kids for nearly two hours.