By Derek Lawrence
July 21, 2021 at 01:34 PM EDT
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We've found one of those haters LeBron James recently said hi to: Space Jam director Joe Pytka.

The filmmaker behind the beloved 1996 film has long been against the idea of a follow-up, telling EW back in 2016 that "it's ridiculous to try and make a different movie out of it." Well, he has now seen James' Space Jam: A New Legacy, or at least tried to see it, as Pytka shared with TMZ that it took him five sittings to finish. Among his complaints were the "insignificant" soundtrack and that Bugs Bunny "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 is no stranger to blowing the whistle on anyone attempting to step into the shoes of his Space Jam star, Michael Jordan. He previously shared with EW that representatives for Philadelphia 76ers center Dwight Howard approached him to helm a sequel, but he turned down that overture due to his belief that a new film wouldn't work without the unprecedented global reach and appeal of the original production's MVP.

"I've worked with three people that have this magical quality that they affect people no matter what; they see them and some light goes on," Pytka (seen below with Jordan on Space Jam set) told EW last year. "Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. All three have this quality where people connect immediately without understanding anything about them. And nobody else has that quality. LeBron is a fantastic basketball player, he's a top-20 basketball player of all time. He is not Michael. Maybe they should call it something else. They should not call it Space Jam 2, or whatever. It should be another movie. It's not Space Jam. Space Jam is Michael Jordan. No matter how much LeBron wants to be a great player — and he is a great player — he's not Michael Jordan. There will never be another Michael Jordan."

Michael Jordan and Joe Pytka

Speaking to EW earlier this year for our New Legacy first look cover, James revealed that he passed on offers to star in a new Space Jam earlier in his career, believing he wasn't ready for such an opportunity. "In my younger days, part of my thinking was 'Space Jam was so good, how can I top this?' " James said. "There's always going to be conversations about LeBron trying to do everything Michael [did]. But I've gotten older, and you know who you are. You know what you stand for... It's something Mike created and is his. I held that with a lot of responsibility."

And if we — and Pytka — are being honest, the filmmaker, who knows his Space Jam is not necessarily a "great movie," clearly has some bias in his criticism.

"I don't see how it could work," he admitted to EW in 2016. "Plus, I don't want them to make it. That's probably the real reason, isn't it?"

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