The original Space Jam director was asked about the new sequel and he was quick to tear the new film to shreds with his criticism.
Joe Pytka, the director of the original 1996 Space Jam starring Michael Jordan, was asked about his opinion about this year’s Space Jam: A New Legacy, starring Lebron James, and he was not shy in tearing apart the new movie.
Pytka’s take on the newer project was solicited by TMZ and he seemed quite happy to explain all the things that he didn’t think worked about the new film, especially the differences between their respective stars.
Pytka explained that the big difference between Jordan and Lebron is that when “Space Jam was made in 1996, MJ wasn’t just the best basketball player … he was the biggest celebrity in the world.” Pytka actually compliments Lebron’s acting abilities, but argues “The truth is that LeBron ain’t Michael.”
Moreover, Pytka argues that the Jordan tie-in to Space Jam was better because it was based in reality, as it referenced Jordan’s then-recent brief retirement from basketball, while the back story for Lebron in Space Jam 2 is entirely fictional.
Pytka’s criticism wasn’t just for the change from Jordan to Lebron, as he felt that the entire film was an uninteresting mess. He explained that he found the sequel so boring that he couldn’t finish it in a single sitting. It took him five separate attempts to finally get through the film.
Ptyka also had a problem with the real life basketball players in the film. The director explained that the original Space Jam got charismatic performances out of stars like Charles Barkley and Muggsy Bogues, plus a bravura performance by Bill Murray, all playing comedic versions of themselves, while he can’t even remember anything of note that Anthony Davis or Damian Lillard did in the film.
He also had problems with the soundtrack and the film’s depiction of Bugs Bunny, but in the end, he summed things up by saying that the new film, “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.”
Starring LeBron James, the Looney Tunes and a whole plethora of Warner Bros. staples, Space Jam: A New Legacy is now playing in theaters and on HBO Max.
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