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Space Jam: A New Legacy (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

While I missed the boat on the original Space Jam, I understand the idea of trying to cash in on it again, generations later with LeBron James. Its a sort of cute and harmless little bit of nostalgia, kind of like the original was in just coming into existence. The film wound up finding itself some nice success, finishing in the top 10 global earners for the summer and had decent numbers stateside as well as its day and date streaming on HBO Max. Now the fourth quarter is here for the film’s release and its arriving on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray. It’ll be in a combo pack with the Blu-ray version and have a digital code. Space Jam: A New Legacy will have 4 featurettes and deleted scenes to round out the bonus material. You can pre-order yourself a copy by using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review down below.

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Film

This transformational journey is a manic mashup of two worlds that reveals just how far some parents will go to connect with their kids. When LeBron and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.’s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of professional basketball stars as you’ve never seen them before. It’s Tunes versus Goons in the highest-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron’s bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself. The ready-for-action Tunes destroy convention, supercharge their unique talents and surprise even “King” James by playing the game their own way.

I don’t want to sit here and just dunk on Space Jam: Legacy over and over again, but this is quite a tough movie to power through once, let alone twice. An at almost two hours, for what this movie is, that is an absurd length. A swift 90 minutes would have been one thing to jump in, disappoint and get out. But, two hours is grueling and almost an offense that is looking for some sort of conflict to brew. Yes, I know, bigger problems in the world. In the movie world though, Space Jam: A New Legacy being that long is a problem.

There’s a clear and easy story to tell, whether good or not, that’s just merely fine and what you need to bounce back through and do the original all over again for today. Instead, the film gets too swept up in showing off as much Warner Bros IP as it possibly can that its beyond distracting. There are many moments where you’ll find yourself wondering if there’s even going to be some sort of story to latch on to again. Its side step after side step when this film easily could have been a layup. I’m not really sure who this is catering to, but its the equivalent of having a sugar rush button that keeps getting pressed for someone REALLY REALLY into Warner Bros movie history.

I’m not some big LeBron James fan or anything, but the guy has been better than this, been in better than this and deserves A LOT better than this movie. Go check out Trainwreck, he legitimately has some big screen potential in terms of talent. Plus, you’ve seen him in dozens of commercials over the years. Space Jam: A New Legacy was a chance to carve a new legacy for that of a not so well received film from the 90s, but wound up looking like Shaq shooting a free throw (Though, at least Shaq had a the super goofy and watchable Steel that lies in the Warner Bros IP vaults).

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Space Jam: A New Legacy looks quite lovely on its debut on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray. There are many a sequence with lovely, rich and vivid colors that really glow and rise up off the screen. This transfer features a good deal of texture and details. The animation holds on quite strong and carries a bold appearance. While the movie might not be fun to watch, its still pretty to look at on this disc a lot of the time.

Depth:  Some really nice depth of field and 3 dimensional zest occurs with the movie thanks to a lot of CG animated arenas and sequences. There is good spacing and plenty of nice little pushback. Movements are smooth and natural with no issues regarding any motion jitter or blurring occurring.

Black Levels: Blacks are rich and very natural in their appearance. In the animation they do well to outline and contrast. The live action has some really nice shadow work to it. No information is lost in dark tones and no crushing occurs.

Color Reproduction: This movie is quite vivid and features lots of pop from any animation or animation type. There is great saturation and filtering that really resonates and glows from the HDR applied on the 4K disc. Even just the uniform LeBron is wearing is quite bold and striking.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures come through pretty clear as day from any given distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio (US), English Descriptive Audio (UK), French 5.1 Dolby Digital, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, German Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Danish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Finnish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Hindi 5.1 Dolby Digital, Hungarian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Norwegian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Romanian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Swedish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Hungarian, Norwegian, Romanian, Swedish

Dynamics: Space Jam: A New Legacy features a rather rocking and busy Dolby Atmos track. It takes every opportunity to impress and fills up the room. There is a good blend of vocals, music and effects that really feel powerful and balanced. Great attention to layering with good depth in the mix. Overall, its gives this movie some nice pop.

Height: There are characters, voices, crowds, music, ships and a more that emanate from the ceiling channel. And the film keeps it busy as well, with good accuracy.

Low Frequency Extension: There is a lot of pounding from the subwoofer, with good arcade-like passion and deep tones as bounces, stomps, crashing, crowds and more give you a feel.

Surround Sound Presentation: As busy as the movie is, so are the channels. Stuff is moving and coming out of any given place, especially during the games. Sound has some good power to it as it rolls and travels around the room.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp and always part of their environment. Human and animation voices mesh seamlessly, feeling on the same playing field…or court.

Extras

Space Jam: A New Legacy comes with the standard Blu-ray edition an a redeemable digital code of the film. All bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

First Quarter: Game On (HD, 7:36) – LeBron and some of the cast and director talk about the crux of the new iteration and how it came to be.

Second Quarter: Teamwork (HD, 7:49) – This goes over the make-up process and such for all of the background characters and such in the film with Howard Berger giving us the lowdown.

Third Quarter: Out of This World (HD, 8:09) – This part goes over the motion capture and animation process of the film with green screen, balls and visual effects.

Fourth Quarter: The Looniest (HD, 7:08) – The last featurette is about the songs and score for the film.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 7:38)

Summary

Space Jam: A New Legacy is a really tough one to get through. Its stunning that this movie turned out like this and feels just like the worst possible product of nostalgic impulses. Luckily for LeBron, his BRON company seems to be attaching itself to a lot of high quality projects and people, so this will merely be a blip in his Hollywood career. The disc however, features terrific audio and video while having some rather breezy, EPK friendly extras. The movie is not a recommend, but the disc for those out there that enjoyed this movie is solid.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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