During the Eighties Jem was a popular animated television show. In this era in which everything Eighties is cool again it was only a matter of time before an adaptation was brought to the big screen. Makes even more sense in a time where films for teenagers have plenty of female directed stories. Films like The Hunger Games series and the Divergent series have been hugely popular despite (?) having female leads. This plus the fact that Pitch Perfect films have brought back musical films that again are directed towards females has brought about Jem and the Holograms.
This is thankfully not an animated version rather live action. It features that well-worn story of someone from a small town becoming a worldwide sensation. Popular one that as we all like underdogs and the idea that anyone can become famous. Plays even more to the crowd as it brings in the family element as Jerrica/Jem (played by Aubrey Peeples) is accompanied on her journey of self-discovery and perseverance by her sister, Kimber (played by Stefanie Scott), and foster sisters, Shana (played by Aurora Perrineau) and Aja (played by Hayley Kyoko).
The story is a rather simple one that we have seen many times before of someone getting caught up in the crazy music business but odd little elements like a robot named Synergy are tossed in for good measure. In a film like this the story is not really all that important.
I was hoping for plenty ‘o fun (which is all you can rightfully expect from a film of this sort) with Jem and the Holograms. And it is there is in this film that has its heart in the right place in regards to sentiment and energy level. You can tell that director Jon M. Chu was a fan of the original series and this genre of film. He tries to keep the action going and the messing about at a decent level. What was a little disappointing was the music in that it was not as catchy or the type that will make you want to sing-a-along. Aubrey Peeples realistically portrays the lead character that transforms from a shy small town girl to a global singing star. The other three young actresses really don’t have much to do and what they are given are basic two dimensional characters. For older folks dragged along to see the film there is the chance to see Molly Ringwald and Juliette Lewis chew up some scenery.
- Gag Reel
- “Youngblood” Music Video
- Glam, Glitter, Fashion, and Fame: The Reinvention of Jem
- Feature Commentary with Producer/Director Jon M. Chu