Space Jam: A New Legacy

image for Space Jam: A New Legacy

Short takes

Not suitable under 7; parental guidance to 10 (scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Space Jam: A New Legacy
  • a review of Space Jam: A New Legacy completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 July 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not suitable due to scary scenes.
Children aged 7–10 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes.
Children over the age of 10 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Space Jam: A New Legacy
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, animated violence and coarse language
Length: 116 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Space Jam: A New Legacy is a stand-alone sequel to the 1998 film, Space Jam. Like the original, this sequel is a mix of live action and animation and stars famous NBL Basketball player, Le Bron James, as well as the original Warner Brothers Looney Toons characters (Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Daffy Duck, etc.). In this reboot, Le Bron James (playing himself) and his 12-year-old son, Dom (Cedric Joe), are having some relationship issues. Dom is a talented video game designer, who has created an amazing and very popular online basketball game. Le Bron doesn’t understand why Dom can’t just be into playing real basketball and isn’t impressed. One day, on a trip to the Warner Brothers’ studios, the two become trapped in the digital world of the Warner Brothers’ computer server. They have been sucked into the server by a rogue AI character called AI-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle) who wants to trap Le Bron inside the server forever. AI-G Rhythm offers them the chance to return to real life, but only if Le Bron can defeat his son in a basketball match. The only catch is that the match will be played according to the rules of Dom’s videogame version of basketball. Le Bron is sent off to the Looney Toon ‘planet’ to assemble a basketball team and prepare for the game, whilst Dom (who has no idea that if he wins, he and his father will be stuck in the server forever) is coached by AI-G Rhythm to create the meanest and most talented line-up of digital basketball players that he can. When it’s finally time for the game, the stakes are suddenly higher than they originally thought.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Basketball; Gaming; Father and Son relationship; Media; Digital Privacy; Artificial Intelligence; Classic cartoons.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Many examples of slapstick cartoon violence, such as, falling into canyons, crashing into walls, being blown up by TNT dynamite etc.
  • Many scenes which have either laser guns being fired or being used to threaten. Some scenes with firearms being shot.
  • A scene where bullets are fired and we watch the bullet go in slow motion through the air whilst Speedy Gonzales leaps over them.
  • Granny Karate kicks and chops, martial arts moves.
  • AI-G Rhythm throws a chair in anger and smashes things.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The character of AI-G Rhythm is quite sinister. He often transforms from a friendly and smiling man into something much meaner and nastier, with a scary booming electronic computer voice, glowing eyes, and electric circuits glowing under his skin. The most disturbing thing about this character is that he obviously has evil intentions, but he is constantly lying and manipulating and pretending to be a good person with good intentions. Small children could find this confusing and distressing.
  • In one scene, AI-G Rhythm scares the boy Dom by transforming/shapeshifting himself into Dom’s father, Le Bron.
  • Dom feels a little worried that he has been separated from his father, even though AI-G Rhythm keeps reassuring him that everything will be fine.
  • Le Bron and the Looney Toons have to go through a pit of snakes and then over some hot, spitting Lava. They almost fall from the edge of a cliff into the lava but are rescued at the last minute.
  • When the basketball game is about to start, the stadium begins to assemble out of thin air and the rest of the Looney Toon world looks like it is collapsing and crumbling all around them.
  • When the game begins and people in the real world log in to start streaming, they are sucked into their phones and find themselves trapped in the digital world.
  • There are some scary characters on Dom’s basketball team, for example, a digital hybrid of a famous basketball player with a snake, and another crossed with a tarantula. They are very menacing and mean.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Children in this age group are likely to find the above scenes scary or disturbing.
  • In this age bracket, children are also more likely to be sensitive to the tensions felt between Dom and his father. All Dom wants is for his dad to appreciate him and be proud of him.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Younger children in this age group (8-10) are likely to find some of the above-mentioned scenes scary or disturbing.
  • Dom is confused about why AI-G Rhythm knows so much about him – and AI-G rhythm explains that he can spy on people through their electronic devices. He says, in a sinister voice, “If it’s got a camera…I can see you….If it’s got a mic, I can hear you….. This theme is brought up several times and in this age bracket, as children are starting to have more autonomy and control over their own digital lives, the suggestion about online digital privacy violations could cause some concern and may be worth discussing.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Warner Brothers’ products: Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, The Matrix, King Kong, The Iron Giant. These are plugged relentlessly, and it is unclear why adult rated television series such as Game of Thrones, or movies like The Matrix are being referenced in a children’s film. It feels like children are being targeted and primed to be future consumers of these Warner Brother products.
  • Nike
  • Nintendo
  • Siri
  • Apple.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Granny is shown sipping from a martini glass and pouring herself another glass from a bottle she has stashed.
  • Bugs Bunny gets ‘drunk’ on carrot juice.

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Butt
  • Loser
  • Stupid
  • What in the Hell?
  • Shut up.

In a nutshell

Space Jam: A New Legacy is a light and easy film that is likely to appeal mostly to children in the 8-10 age bracket, especially those who are aspiring basketball players or game designers. The seamless mix of animation, live-action and CGI is quite impressive and there is enough humour and nostalgia to keep adults interested. Le Bron James is great in this role, not only as a basketball player, but a loving father who must learn some lessons on how to be a good Dad. Many children will be able to empathise on some level with Dom’s frustration that his dad just doesn’t understand his passions!

The only frustrating thing with this film was the blatant and constant cross-promotion of other Warner Brothers’ products, some of which are entirely unsuitable for advertising to children, such as the R-rated TV series, Game of Thrones.

The main message from this movie is that we need to appreciate that everyone has their own set of strengths and weaknesses – someone else’s talents might not be like our own, but that doesn’t mean they are any less valuable.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Learning to appreciate the unique talents of other people.
  • Standing up for your own dreams and desires.
  • Being honest and true to yourself and others.

 

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The character of AI-G Rhythm talks about digital privacy violations. This could be a great opportunity to discuss online privacy with your children and the consequences of privacy violations.