It’s kind of ironic that the villain of the sequel to 1996’s “Space Jam” is named Al G. Rhythm, the physical manifestation of an algorithm who decides the fate of not just star Lebron James but of the Looney Tunes. “A New Legacy” (Or “Space Jam 2”) feels like it was directed not by a person, but a committee of people that followed algorithms about what was appealing to modern audiences, and what was “hip.” The film doubles as a two hour EPK for the HBO Max Streaming Service. “A New Legacy” premieres on the aforementioned streaming service (and theaters), so Warner takes full advantage of exploiting every single (repeat: every single) IP that they have at their disposal.
As a hardcore Looney Tunes fan, it’s heartbreaking to see how low the character gallery sank in the latter years. With the aging and inevitable death of Mel Blanc, the Looney Tunes basically tread water for years. With this movie, the Looney Tunes gang shares a marquee with a group of goofy monsters that get in all sorts of mishaps and adventures. What ensues is a dull, grating (the Looney Tunes don’t need no stinkin’ laugh track), and absolutely bizarre outing for the gang from Termite Terrace.
BOOTLEG FILES 736: “Tokio Jokio” (1943 Looney Tunes cartoon).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright allows anyone to make dupes of this animated short.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: The folks at Warner Bros. aren’t particularly proud of this one!
Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of V-J Day, when Japan’s surrender to the Allied forces brought World War II to a long-overdue close. To help observe this important occasion, we are presenting a short film that generated relatively little attention when it was first released during World War II but has since taken on greater visibility for some of the most impolite examples of political incorrectness captured in an animated short.
I’ve seen so many hours of Looney Tunes that it’s obscene. My mom bought my brother and I about five or six Looney Tunes compilations on VHS when we were kids and I saw them at least eighty times a week. When I got cable television, I watched looney tunes almost obsessively. From the “Bugs & Tweety Show” Saturday mornings, to various hour blocks on Cartoon Network like “Toonheads” and “Acme Hour,” to twenty two day blocks of Bugs Bunny called “June Bugs” my appetite was insatiable. One of the big things you learn being a Looney Tunes fanatic is that Bugs Bunny was not the OG of the Warner animated gallery, it was in fact Porky Pig.
It’s Halloween and Daffy Duck’s Nephew encounters Witch Hazel while trick or treating. Terrified he runs away screaming and insisting to Daffy that he saw a witch. Determined to prove him wrong he takes him to her house. Meanwhile Bugs turns up in the same costume Daffy’s nephew is wearing and has his own adventure with Witch Hazel. As always with these Looney Tunes “movies,” they’re really just bare boned one page premises serving as frames for craftily edited montages that count as big movies. If you hadn’t seen these Looney Tunes shorts a million times like yours truly, you’d never really be able to tell much a difference.
BOOTLEG FILES 609: “Angel Puss” (1944 Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Chuck Jones).
LAST SEEN: The cartoon can be found on DailyMotion.com and Vimeo.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It has been removed from all commercial channels.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.
When you think of family-friendly entertainment, it is not likely that you would consider productions full of attempted murder, emotional torture and racial intolerance. Back in 1944, the cartoon “Angel Puss” incorporated those unfortunate elements into its story – and even in that distant era, its excessive unpleasantness created controversy.
Your enjoyment of “Space Jam” may depend on your nostalgia factor and your love for Michael Jordan. Ultimately, “Space Jam” is a serviceable kids and family animation hybrid that teams up one of the most iconic sports heroes of the nineties with one of the most iconic animated characters of all time. Michael Jordan’s popularity was somewhat waning in 1996 thanks to his stint playing baseball, and “Space Jam” is something of an image boost that also happened to be a pretty huge marketing success during the mid-nineties. With toys, music, VHS tapes, and everything else, “Space Jam” was a pretty big pop culture storm that built a larger and loyal audience.
IN SELECT THEATERS — If you haven’t had a massive amount of nostalgia to frame the memories for “Space Jam,” then odds are you won’t really enjoy the mix of Michael Jordan, The Looney Tunes, and Bill Murray, for some reason. Without the nostalgia, “Space Jam” is just a mediocre animated comedy that is made by a committee, and used to boast the waning popularity of Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes. There’s also Bill Murray for some reason. Back in the mid nineties, Michael Jordan was sports royalty and was playing baseball professionally; someone had the bright idea to give him a movie co-starring timeless cartoon characters because that’s how stuff works. For all its faults (and there are a lot of them) “Space Jam” is a perfect storm of urban appeal, and family appeal that managed to make it a veritable marketing juggernaut in 1996.