So this was released a few days ago.
Oh, live action Jem and the Holograms movie, you never cease to disappoint. I have already waxed on about how the plot of the original cartoon has been stripped to the bones and then put through a blender poured out and preformed shaped product. They took filet mignon and turned it into Spam. I have already dissected the plot elements here. Go check it out.
My first thought was that if the movie is as terrible as it seems maybe the music is good. There might be some pop gems that rise to the surface as some kind of saving grace. After all the majority of the cartoon was cheesy-fun music videos featuring Jem and the girls traveling the world, fighting to save Starlight House, or facing off in a battle royale against the Misfits. If the above video is any indication, this new movie is sadly lacking in dynamic music as well.
Nothing against the talent of these young girls. I have seen Audrey Peebles in other venues and she is a fine performer in her own right. In this video she just looks bored. (I’m looking at you Production Team!) Maybe it is because the audience is full of extras and she knows that the cheers are not genuine. Maybe she is trying not to externalize her reaction to the cringe worthy sleepover karaoke antics that they have the girls doing on stage. In the original cartoon the girls actually PLAYED the instruments, instead of flouncing around in front of random other people.
Jem and the Holograms are supposed to be the only ones on the stage, because they DOMINATED the stage. I can’t for the life of me figure out WHY Universal has stripped this movie of everything that appealed about it. Time and time again audiences had proven that a strong female lead CAN carry a movie. Have we learned nothing from Mad Max: Fury Road, The Hunger Games, Divergent?
I don’t know what they are thinking, but every time I read a plot summary of the new movie it is unrecognizable. IMDB describes the plot as follows:
“As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.”
Let’s compare it to the plot summary of the original.
“Jerrica Benton is secretly the leader of the glamorous and exciting music group, Jem and the Holograms.”
In just these few words one can already see the difference. Universal has taken a character and pigeon-holed her from a dynamic active participant in charge of her own fate, to one that is passive. She “catapults” , literally thrown into stardom. “Journey of discovering”, internal and emotional. The cartoon describes Jem as a “leader”, “glamorous and exciting”. The thing is, children watched the original show because Jem already knew who she was. None of this namby-pamby find yourself nonsense. Plus the added dynamic of having to face off against Eric Raymond and his band of evil Misfits, with the added pressure of trying to save a house full of foster children. All of this paired with the recent loss of her father, and any teenage girl would have crumbled under the pressure.
Jem did not.
She rose to the occasion and she looked good doing it. There was not internal struggle about “oh can I handle being famous” or “oh should I betray my sisters and go solo”. No. The previews so far show this portrayal of Jem crumbling at the first sign of pressure. In fact that is the whole conflict of the film. Audrey Peebles is a talented girl, as I am sure the rest of them are too. I can only hope that she finds another star vehicle to show off her skills after this movie fades into oblivion. This movie will not do well, and I am sad to say so. I had high hopes.