SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY may have pulled off a stronger than expected $31.1 million opening weekend to top Black Widow at the box office but there is one person that is having none of the sequel starring NBA superstar LeBron James. Joe Pytka, the director of the original Space Jam that starred Michael Jordan, has some harsh words for the sequel and he is not mincing words.
During a chat with “TMZ“, Pytka called the film an “uninteresting mess” and said Space Jam: A New Legacy is so boring that he couldn’t complete it in one sitting. In fact, Pytka said it took five separate watches for him to complete the film’s 2-hour runtime. Pytka praises LeBron James as an incredible athlete, and even calls him a pretty good actor, but those compliments seem to stop there.
Pytka is quick to point out that when Space Jam was released in 1996, Michael Jordan was not only the best basketball player in the NBA but he was also the biggest celebrity in the world. Pytka seems to believe that LeBron James is lacking that status by saying, “The truth is that LeBron ain’t Michael.” The director also believes that the sequel is missing a personal connection to LeBron that would make it more grounded. In the original film, a lot of the movie’s plot is tied to Michael Jordan’s personal life, including his desire to retire from basketball to play baseball.
The director also feels that the supporting cast of Space Jam: A New Legacy is lacking. The 1996 film featured the likes of Charles Barkley, Muggsy Bogues, Shawn Bradley, and Bill Murray. In another example of shade against the sequel, Pytka says he can’t remember anything that Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, and the other supporting cast of cameos did in the film.
Pytka also took aim at the film’s soundtrack, calling it “insignificant”, while Space Jam’s tunes were classics. I’m not going to lie, the best thing about the original Space Jam was the soundtrack. Who doesn’t get down to “Space Jam” by Quad City DJ’s or get pumped up by “Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars Anthem)”? Also, if you’re feeling something a bit more smooth, there is “Fly Like an Eagle” by Seal or “For You I Will” by Monica. If R. Kelly wasn’t canceled we could freely enjoy “I Believe I Can Fly” but instead you have to determine your own personal relationship with that song. At the end of the day, I agree with Pytka that the new film’s soundtrack doesn’t touch the original.
The director also doesn’t like the film’s treatment of Bugs Bunny, calling it “heartbreaking.” Pytka cites that this version of Bugs Bunny has no connection to previous depictions and said he, “looked like one of those fluffy dolls you buy at an airport gift shop to bring your kid when your business trip has taken too long.” Pytka believes that his version of Bugs was tied closely to the original integrity of the character.
Tell us how you really feel! To clarify, Joe Pytka says he has no problem with Space Jam: A New Legacy, he just thinks it’s not good. It should be noted that Pytka’s Space Jam, despite being very successful at the box office, didn’t receive good reviews from critics and is mostly loved by fans who are rooted deep in its nostalgia. Space Jam: A New Legacy also got mediocre reviews but it’s likely going to perform similarly at the box office and I’m sure this generation will think it’s a classic many years from now too.
Do YOU agree with Joe Pytka’s opinion on Space Jam: A New Legacy?