Jem and the Holograms (2015)
Jem and the Holograms is a 2015 American musical fantasy drama film starring Aubrey Peeples as the title character, Stefanie Scott, Hayley Kiyoko, Aurora Perrineau, Juliette Lewis, Ryan Guzman and Molly Ringwald.
Loosely based on the 1985-88 animated television series Jem by Christy Marx, the film is produced by Hasbro Studios and Blumhouse Productions, co-produced and directed by Jon M. Chu and written by Ryan Landels. Chu had been interested in working on the film as he grew up watching the original animated Jem series with his sisters and became a fan of it as a result.
Teenage songwriter Jerrica Benton and her younger sister Kimber live with their Aunt Bailey and two foster sisters, Aja and Shana. Jerrica learns that their house will be auctioned, and vents her emotions by recording a song using Kimber's video camera that she uses to post blogs, but she uses a disguise, calling herself Jem, a nickname given to her by her deceased father.
She accidentally forgets to delete the video, and Kimber posts it onto YouTube, garnering millions of views in a single day. Jerrica and her sisters travel to Los Angeles because Jerrica earns a record deal with Starlight productions, meeting producer Erica Raymond and her son Rio. In the process, they come across a small robot called Synergy built by the Benton sisters' deceased father, Emmett, which leads them on a scavenger hunt where each clue represents something Jerrica wanted to do with her father.
On the way, Rio and Jerrica develop feelings, much to Erica's dismay, who signs Rio off to another singer. Aunt Bailey tells Jerrica via FaceTime that their house is going for auction in a few days, and Jerrica asks for an advance. Erica happily obliges, but she says that she wants Jerrica to leave her sisters and start a solo contract, which Jerrica signs thinking that she is doing it for the family. Her sisters soon find out about the contract and leave. Jerrica goes to visit the house in Los Angeles she used to live in with Kimber and her father.
Her sisters end up coming back to finish the scavenger hunt with her, and Rio comes along as well. Jerrica soon realizes that the last piece is the earrings that her dad told her to wear, but Erica told her to take them off when she first went to Starlight. Rio and the girls break into Starlight, almost getting caught by Erica, but they succeed. The reward for finishing the hunt is a final hologram message video from Jerrica and Kimber's father (which he tells how much he loves Jerrica, but strangely not her sister Kimber). At the end of the movie, Rio and Jem kiss, Erica is fired, the house is safe, and everyone is happy.
In a mid-credits scene, Erica arrives in a seedy junkyard, where she attempts to recruit a group of punkish young women into a band to rival the Holograms. Initially, they decline, but when the leader, Pizzazz, overhears that Rio is dating Jem, they agree and take Erica inside. The graffiti on the side of their trailer reveals that they're the Misfits.
Why It Sucks
- The movie has very, very, VERY poor grasp of the source material:
- The main characters are portrayed as teenage girls in the film but in the show, they're young women.
- Synergy in the movie is a small robot that's a blatant ripoff of R2-D2, while in the TV show, it's a giant super-computer.
- There are no Misfits in the movie (except in the mid-credits scene).
- Eric Raymond is male in the show, but in the film, Eric Raymond is a woman named Erica Raymond, which makes absolutely no sense.
- The songs are nothing more than generic mass-produced pop music, and it’s absolutely dreadful. While the music in the cartoon wasn’t always great either, they at least put some EFFORT into them, and they only put in at least a song or two in each episode. For the movie’s soundtrack, there are SIX songs. Only Young Blood was good, the other 5 were not.
- Most of the film is covered up with YouTube videos of people playing instruments.
- The creators of the film had a supposed contest where if fans of the original spoke of what they liked about the original Jem cartoon on YouTube, they would have a part in the movie. However, rather than follow through with the contest, the film creators edited the YouTube videos to make them state that the audience loved the movie instead of the show. Some of these videos even show the original Jem cartoon, showing an even more poor effort.
- Awful generic plot about teenagers becoming pop stars, and it’s a story that you’ve heard a million times before in other much better movies.
- For map transitions, the film uses Google Earth. In fact, you can even actually find the logo at the bottom right of the screen in some shots. (Crank and its sequel, High Voltage, (both written and directed by Neveldine/Taylor) intentionally used Google Earth for map transitions)
- Despite Jem and her band being hyped in the film as one of the biggest musicians in the world, we only see them perform in clubs and warehouses, meaning they are not really that popular.
- Hypocritical messages.
- Pointless celebrity cameos. Instead of actually getting them to cameo in the film, the creators of the film instead used archived videos of them and edited them from their original context to make it look like they were talking about this film's Jem, and it's also done poorly too: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was originally talking about Taylor Swift's song "Bad Blood" instead of this film's song "Young Blood" (he also spoke about Taylor Swift in Central Intelligence), while Chris Pratt's joke about dating Jem was actually from an interview for The LEGO Movie where he joked about pretending to date his sister's Jem dolls.
- The movie had been in development for 10 years. Let that sink in.
- In a scene that shows Jem as a small child playing with My Little Pony toys, she is playing with the recent FiM-era toys, even though the date the tape was recorded says it was filmed in the 1990s, while the FiM-era toys didn't come out until the 2010s.
Jem and the Holograms was theatrically released on October 23, 2015 by Universal Pictures. The film received incredibly negative reviews from critics, audiences and fans of the original TV series. The film currently holds a 22% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 3.7 out of 10 and a critic consensus that reads "Jem and the Holograms ignores its source material's goofy charm in favor of bland by-the-numbers drama."
The film was both a critical and commercial failure, grossing $2.3 million worldwide on a $5 million budget. The movie was pulled from theaters after only two weeks of release.
- Christy Marx, creator of Jem (1985), said she had no idea a film was going to be made, and was upset that Hasbro did not inform her about it.
- This film was released on the 30th anniversary of Jem (1985).
- Aubrey Peeples was unfamiliar with Jem (1985), but became a fan of it during production.
- Film debut of Aurora Perrineau, Ke$ha and Isabella Kai Rice.
- There were plans for a sequel. However, the film bombed at the box office and the sequel was cancelled.