Cinematic Hell: Jem and The Holograms (2015)
Here we have a classic case of "if it's not broke, don't fix it". Before we talk about this cinematic embarrassment, we need to talk about the TV show it's based on. The TV version of Jem and the Holograms was a very cheesy cartoon show in the 80's. It was silly, dorky, filled with dated 80's POP music videos and... it was kind of cool. All of the faults I listed actually worked to the show's advantage. Yeah it was dorky and dated, but Jem completely owned it and made the show work. Jem and The Holograms had it's own little world and made any ordinary thing seem completely outrageous. So with all that being said... how did Hollywood fuck it up? Well that depends, how much time do you have?
Not only did this movie come way too late, but it desperately wants to fix all the faults that the show had. Needless to say, this completely backfired when the film version of Jem was only in theaters for two weeks. This film was a huge bomb profiting only 2 million dollars on a 5 million dollar budget. It was hated by both Jem fans and regular movie goers alike. I would ask why it was so hated, but not only did I watch this piece of shit in it's entirety but just like Fantastic 4 (2015) everyone somehow just knew this movie was going to suck based on the trailer. Seriously, check out the trailer on YouTube and look at the dislike bar. Anyway, enough pussy footing around the issue. Let's look at something truly outrageous (not in the good way) this is the movie Jem and The Holograms. ,
Jerrica Benton lives with her sister Kimber, her foster sisters Shana and Aja, and her Aunt Bailey (Molly Ringwald). Jerrica is a shy girl with a decent enough singing voice (I guess) and secretly dreams to be something "more". Quite randomly out of nowhere, she puts on a wig, make up and calls herself Jem. She records herself singing a song about being alone (amazing right?) and Kimber uploads it to YouTube. The video goes viral of course and grabs the attention of Starlight music producer Erica Raymond (Juliette Lewis). Soon, Jerrica and her friends form a band and go through many music star cliché's. And... I guess that's it. Oh yeah, then there's this really stupid mystery surrounding Jerrica's dead dad's invention Synergy. We'll tackle the whole synergy part of the film first. To put it simply, Synergy is not needed in this movie. Yeah, Synergy who was originally the super computer that helped Jerrica transform into Jem in the show is completely useless in the movie adaptation. Synergy's entire role is to basically put Jerrica into some stupid Scavenger hunt her dad made before he died. And what does this stupid mystery reveal? Well it reveals Jerrica's dad loved her and... that's it. You can cut out this entire subplot and not lose a damn thing.
There's not much to say about the characters or the acting in this movie. Everyone in the cast just plays their badly written roles with nothing really good or bad about their performances. Though I will say Juliette Lewis is the only one in the cast having any fun in this movie. She obviously knows what kind of movie this is and knows what cliché role she's playing. I would say without any sarcasm that even though the Eric Raymond role is gender swapped in this movie, that particular villain role is the only thing this movie does right by the show. Everything else in this movie shows no loyalty and no love for the original Jem and The Holograms.
Now I know we probably haven't talked much about adaptation here so I'll get this out of the way first. I understand when you're adapting something for any medium you do have to change things. TV and Film are obviously two completely different mediums so yes change is inevitable. However, the changes have to make sense and you do have to show some kind of respect for the source material. Nothing makes any real sense in this movie. Yes, the original Jem show had a lot of goofy things about it but those goofy and silly things are what made the show work. The movie version of Jem is desperately trying so hard to be "cool". The producers are basically trying to fix something that was never broken. Their really stupid attempts at being cool backfire in the worst way. The once mature and strong women of the show are now vapid teenage idiots who love clothes, shoes and Instagram. The once catchy Pop songs from the show are now generic pop tunes that sometimes take forever to just end. BH Productions and Universal, your movie is not cool or hip. It's stupid, vapid, shallow, clichéd, and utterly insufferable.
But there's still one question that remains. Does this movie work as a stand alone film despite being a total insult to the source material? NO! Absolutely not, no way in Hell or in this case Cinematic Hell. Even if you try to separate the show's connection, this film is still paint by numbers boring and shallow. Whether you're a fan of Jem or not, this movie has nothing to offer. This Jem movie was totally ridiculous when it should've been truly outrageous. Score: 1/10.