The beloved ’80s animated series “Jem and the Holograms” is being adapted for the big screen, and a newly released trailer for the live-action film gives us a sense of what changes to expect in the revamp.
We’ve had mixed feelings about the “Jem” reboot since it was first announced. While we’re always happy to see women-centric films get greenlit, we were disappointed by Hasbro’s treatment of Christy Marx, the woman behind Jerrica Benton and her rockstar persona Jem. The creator and head writer of “Jem and the Holograms” wasn’t even notified about plans to bring her neon-loving brainchild to the big screen until days before the official announcement was made.
Not a single woman is involved on the creative side of this project.
As we previously wrote, “The director is John M. Chu, who directed ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation.’ A movie about a girl band [is] to be completely [re]created by men [and] to be directed by a dude who directed ‘G.I. Joe.’ So fucking typical.”
If you’ve seen the television series, which ran from 1985 to 1988, you’ve come to know “Jem” as delightfully weird entertainment. In the show, Jerrica Benton, the manager of Starlight Music, rises to stardom via her alter ego Jem. A holographic computer called Synergy helps Jerrica retain her anonymity by altering her appearance, while Jem dominates the charts.
“That version of me that they want — it doesn’t exist,” says Jerrica in the trailer for the film. “Jem” traditionalists will likely feel that line encapsulates their feelings about the reboot, which seems to be loosely adapted from the source material.
This version of the story is very different from the original, and finds an unassuming teenager Jerrica (Audrey Peeples, “Sharknado”) becoming famous after her sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott, “Insidious: Chapter 3”) uploads a video of her singing and playing the guitar onto a streaming site.
The video receives millions of views, and Jerrica — who doesn’t like being on camera — is taken under the overbearing wings of Starlight Enterprises, the biggest record company in the world, and given a makeover. As a record exec (Juliette Lewis) tells her, “You are no longer Jerrica. Jem. That’s what we call you now.” Jerrica is pressured to change the way she walks, talks, and looks.
“Jem and the Holograms” looks like it will ultimately espouse the empowering message that girls should stay true to themselves — and loyal to their real friends — despite pressure to conform. This is obviously a great message to send, but we can’t help finding it strange that a movie encouraging girls to speak up and stand up for themselves silenced the characters’ own creator.
Jem and Co. will be making their way to theatres on October 23.