Timed to coincide with the release of Space Jam: A New Legacy, Teen Titans GO! see Space Jam is a new feature-length film starring DC’s super group the Teen Titans. The film – which is available digitally from July 26th – sees the Titans watch and discuss the 1996 movie, Space Jam.
In the film, the Titans are visited by the aliens known as the Nerdlucks, who bring with them a copy of Space Jam on VHS. This prompts the Titans to host a watch party, resulting in both the Titans and the Nerdlucks revisiting the 25-year-old film to discuss and dissect it.
Set out in a similar style to Mystery Science Theater 3000, Teen Titans GO! see Space Jam is essentially a 90-minute feature wherein Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven provide a running commentary to the popular movie. The film features new animated sequences of the Titans, spliced together with an abridged version of Space Jam, and boasts the vocal talents of Tara Strong, Scott Menville, Greg Cipes, Khary Payton, and Hynden Walch.
Those who adore the Teen Titans GO! TV show may wish to check it out, but be warned, it is going to take a super-fan to truly fall in love with this film. While there is plenty of fun to be had in this new movie, and the premise is a hoot, the end result falls considerably short.
On paper, having the Teen Titans watch and comment on Space Jam sounds like a great way to pass the time. The Titans are funny, they have experience in making metatextual gags, and combining them with a film loaded with Looney Tunes characters seems like a no-brainer.
The problem is, take this concept off the paper and onto the screen and it quickly becomes clear that this idea runs out of steam rather rapidly. Oh, the Titans remain consistently humorous throughout this adventure, but this whole project is essentially a way to repackage a watered-down version of Space Jam, with a handful of Teen Titans scenes slapped on to make it seem shiny and new.
At no point do you get a solid Teen Titans GO! movie, and you don’t get the full version of Space Jam either. What is offered up is a bizarre hybrid which is neither one thing, nor the other.
In terms of the Teen Titans material, the content is a mix of short animated sequences and voice-over commentary. All of it is good stuff, but there simply isn’t enough of it.
As for Space Jam, it is a slightly condensed and altered version of the film. Some of it is cut for time, and all of the original songs are missing, presumably due to licensing issues.
But songs or no songs, ultimately the sticking point here is that there is too much Jam, not enough Titans. The whole thing is out of balance.
Had Teen Titans GO! see Space Jam been a 50/50 split between the two properties, it would have made more sense. And had this been an 80/20 split in favour of the Titans, it would have been a better film – after all, isn’t this supposed to be a Titans movie?!
I ask that question even though I know the answer. This isn’t really a Titans movie, it’s just a new way to re-sell Space Jam to fans.
The frustrating thing about Teen Titans GO! see Space Jam is the fact that when it works well, this movie is a joy to watch. The animated scenes are filled with the mirth and merriment the show is known for, while the commentary is very good.
Cyborg pops up to provide trivia about the film, Beast Boy keeps track of the copious amounts of ‘butt’ shots in the movie, and Starfire is on hand to point out all the plot holes. There are also some fun observations about the parts of Space Jam that by today’s standards would be considered socially unacceptable, including scenes featuring smoking and guns.
So, the potential for a witty romp is all here, it is just entirely overshadowed by too much of one thing, and not enough of the other. And this isn’t me dumping on Space Jam – I love the film – I just want to see it repackaged in a much better way.
Despite some enjoyable moments, Teen Titans GO! see Space Jam is largely an excuse to capitalise on the release of Space Jam: A New Legacy with an unusual re-release of the original movie. I wouldn’t have a huge problem with this had this version been better executed, but as it stands it is the equivalent of giving an old car a lick of paint, then claiming it is a new model.
If this concept is revisited in the future (i.e. the Titans watching more classic movies), the format needs to be reworked so that only small sections of the old movie is shown. I do think there is something here, but it simply doesn’t work like this.
Teen Titans GO! see Space Jam could have been great, but it’s not. If you are a fan of Teen Titans GO! then you may want to give it a watch, but for everyone else skip it and check out the previous Teen Titans movies or just watch Space Jam!