Word Is Out: The 'Jem & The Holograms' Film Looks Truly & Outrageously Terrible


Have you seen my childhood? Because it is not in this trailer for the cinematic reboot of '80s cult cartoon, Jem & The Holograms.


Burnt to glittery ashes my childhood has become as the campy cartoon which followed the adventures of Starlight Music owner/manager Jerrica Benton as she morphed into rock goddess Jem thanks to her holographic computer named Synergy, has been altered into an angsty and ~cerebral~ hipster narrative that has little to do with the cartoon, and a lot to do with how Hollywood just loves to crush our nostalgia dreams as they dig into our wallets.


Instead of serving up electric eighties glow, the film has gone 21st century politically correct as the Holograms are now YouTube sensations (*groan*), who with one video upload are rocketed to stardom, and thus have to deal with the downside of corporate corruption and the grueling struggles of fame. The trailer shows Jerrica (Audrey Peeples) inking a deal with Starlight Enterprises, after a video of her singing goes viral. Along with younger sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott), and adopted siblings, Shana (Aurora Perrineau) and Aja (Hayley Kiyoko), the Holograms quartet is formed, and with a little bit of flashy eye make-up and Photoshop, they become megastars. Trouble brews when Jerrica is singled out as as solo act and forced to drop her backing band of sisters, thus forcing her to make a decision on if the price of fame is worth sacrificing who she truly loves and who she truly is.

The film, written by Ryan Landels, and directed by Jon M. Chu is scheduled to premiere on October 23rd, but you can bet your "Showtime Synergy" that I'm not partaking in this mess of a film, that also stars Molly Ringwald as someone called "Aunt Bailey", and Juliette Lewis as the smirking, somewhat villainous manager of the Holograms, "Erica Raymond" (I see what you did there...).

While I am all for girls picking up instruments and rawking out, I knew some foolery was up when the cast was announced last year and some rightful anger swelled over the casting choices for the characters of Aja and Shana. One of the things that made the cartoon was the fact that it was filled with diverse characters, and this film seems devoid of that especially with the absence of the Mexican-American keyboardist, Raya, who added to the Holograms melting pot of cultures. Also what is jarringly (and truly unforgivable) is the absent of the bratty trio (later turned quartet) The Misfits, who in the cartoon, thwarted Jem & The Holograms at every turn, bringing grief and a whole lotta mischief and rioting rock n' roll to our neon music crusaders. Also missing from the film is other rival band, The Stingers, the Starlight foster girls who were in Jerrica's care, Synergy and the magic earrings that signaled for her, and Jem's beau and the Holograms road manager, Rio sporting purple hair.

Rio is not here for you messing up his hair game...
Look. I don't like jumping gun when it comes to movie trailers, but in my feelings I am about what I viewed, as this film extracts what everybody knows and loves about the series, including the highly-important fact that Jem and her Holograms were adults who were in control of their own lives and careers.

The cartoon always stayed true to the fact that the Holograms were adult women who owned and managed their own businesses, utilized their music for philanthropic reasons, and all the while stepped in as mothers and caretakers becoming positive influences towards the girls in their foster care. While, yeah, I need to calm down, because it's just a fluffy cartoon being turned into a frivolous movie, but those things were empowering to view growing up, and to turn these girls into teenagers who have little to no control over their lives just kills all that girl power fervor, and trivializes the important roles that women who are in the music industry at current play. Lest we forget that representation is everything, and to leave this out is just glaring and misleading.

And don't get me started on the music, as while the cartoon tunes were syrupy pop froth at best (okay..."Like A Dream", "Who Is He Kissing", and "I Got My Eye On You" are dope), for this film the music sounds too generic even for a Disney pop tart to bleat out. Oh, and terrible move at having a One Direction song nestled in this trailer and not the amazing theme song. #RAGE


Before I pop a blood vessel over a damn movie trailer, let me just say that you are much better served to watch the original cartoon series which is streaming now on Netflix as I give this flick a premature HARD PASS.

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