'Space Jam' director slams the new sequel and says it took him 5 tries just to get through it

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LeBron James with Daffy Duck, Lola Bunny and Tweety in Space Jam: A New Legacy"
The "Space Jam" director Joe Pytka reportedly told TMZ "LeBron ain't Michael." Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
  • The "Space Jam" director Joe Pytka says it took him five tries to finish watching "A New Legacy."

  • Pytka criticized LeBron James as the leading man as well as the sequel's Bugs Bunny story line.

  • "The truth is that LeBron ain't Michael," Pytka told TMZ, according to a story published Wednesday.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Joe Pytka, who directed 1996's original "Space Jam" movie, said it took him five tries just to finish watching the sequel, "A New Legacy."

The director slammed the LeBron James-led sequel in a reported conversation with TMZ, published on Wednesday. According to the publication, Pytka thought the 2021 film was boring and an uninteresting mess.

Pytka also wasn't particularly impressed with the sequel's choice to cast James in the main role.

"The truth is that LeBron ain't Michael," Pytka reportedly told TMZ.

Pytka pointed out to TMZ that the 1996 film's plot contained references to Jordan's personal life (like the NBA star's brief professional baseball career) while the sequel didn't get as intimate in its portrayal of James.

michael jordan stands on the court with Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny and Bill Murray in the 1996 space jam
Michael Jordan in the 1996 "Space Jam." Space Jam

Even though Pytka might argue that "Space Jam" and "A New Legacy" have different approaches in how they treated their main characters, the two movies actually have remarkably similar plots. Both revolve around NBA superstars trapped in alternate dimensions, forced to play basketball in exchange for their freedom.

More importantly, both the 1996 movie and the 2021 sequel feature Bugs Bunny and the rest of the beloved Looney Tunes crew - although Pytka told TMZ that he thought Bugs' story line in "A New Legacy" is "heartbreaking."

Pytka told the publication that he thought the new sequel makes Bugs look "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."

The "Space Jam" director's criticism of the sequel doesn't stop with James and Bugs.

He also told TMZ that he wasn't impressed with the movie's soundtrack or the supporting cast in "A New Legacy," including the NBA stars Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis. (The Pytka-directed "Space Jam" included Bill Murray and NBA greats like Charles Barkley and Larry Bird in supporting roles alongside Jordan.)

A frightened bugs bunny in space jam: a new legacy
Bugs Bunny in "A New Legacy." Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Pytka isn't "New Legacy's" only critic (although this reporter personally thought the 2021 movie was an entertaining one-time watch with a solid acting effort from James).

Movie critics at large have panned the sequel's weak plot, with some even calling it a "two-hour commercial" for Warner Bros., the movie studio behind it, because it's packed with dozens of references to other WB-owned movies and TV shows, like "Harry Potter," "Games of Thrones," and even "Casablanca."

Beyond Pytka's and critics' complaints, fans of the original also didn't like how the new movie desexualized the cartoon character Lola Bunny (who spent most of the first "Space Jam" in tiny shorts and a crop top), calling her less-sexy redesign an example of "cancel culture."

For his part, the "New Legacy" director Malcolm D. Lee defended Lola's new toned-down look earlier this month, telling Entertainment Weekly he "had no idea that people would be that up in arms about a bunny not having boobs."

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