Jem and the Most Ridiculous Movie Trailer Ever
So I know this has been old news, but honestly, it really took me this long to even want to talk about the atrocity that is the trailer for the live action movie version of Jem and the Holograms. Let us start by discussing my own personal history and love for the original 80’s cartoon.
As a kid I loved a lot of things and watched a lot of stuff. Having an older brother, I was exposed to a variety that I would probably never thought to watch like Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, G.I. Joe, and Transformers. The two shows that I loved the most growing up was She-Ra Princess of Power and Jem and the Holograms. These two shows inspired so much for me as a kid that when I grew up and fell in love with writing, I knew I wanted to create something that would inspire that same imagination and enjoyment for other generations. Jem and the Holograms has always been more than just a show for me for this very reason. It’s colorful look and music solidifies what the 80’s mean, and probably a massive reason why I am obsessed with the decade still. Even the toys were more than just dolls. They came with cassette tapes of the theme song and a bonus song. I would wear those tapes out. It was a great show that embraced variety and culture.
For years, I have been teased with the dream of a live action version of Jem and the Holograms ever since Hasbro announced that the movie rights were bought shortly after the box office success of the first Transformers movie. Those rights were held onto for a few years, until they announced that they planned on going forward in shopping around for scripts and directors. Exciting for a nerd, I know, but that still meant we would be waiting awhile. Then about a year ago it was officially announced that director, John Chu, best known for the Step Up films and the last G.I. Joe, was going to take up the helm and make this movie happen. As much as I was unimpressed with the last G.I. Joe movie, I figured his work with concert films and the Step Up franchise would have sufficed enough as qualifications for the nature of Jem and the Holograms.
Once Chu took over and got screenwriters on board, they started spamming the fan base. They even made it believable that the fans could actually get an opportunity to become a part of the film. They declared that they were just as big fans as the rest of us. They opened auditions, but honestly it seemed that regardless of the outpouring of interest from the fandom, they still ended up picking lesser known actors, but actors in the trade nonetheless.
After all of the love, support, and excitement that was given to this project, we were shortly thereafter told that the film was completed a few months after officially hiring the actresses. Not a great sign, but it is possible that a labor of love could have been easy to achieve if the drive and passion was there. The film began to receive backlash for this after already dealing with the backlash of casting choices particularly for the character of Shana. This wasn’t really a great way to start the program, but I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. I still believed in hope.
Then that fateful Wednesday happened, and they dropped the trailer for what was supposed to be the Jem and the Holograms movie. I have no idea what the hell John Chu intended for this movie, but he sure as hell didn’t make a Jem and the Holograms movie. To say I was upset after watching it, is putting it lightly. I was devastated. Please understand that I personally allow for variations of material when adapted for the big screen. I get that film adaptations have to make changes especially due to time constraints, but the only thing resembling the original 80’s cartoon is the damn title and the names of the characters. This may actually be cute or entertaining for someone who has no idea what Jem and the Holograms is really about. For a fan, this is what happened in the trailer. Someone took something as entertaining and fun as the show Friends and simply changed Monica’s name to Jerrica.
Jem and the Holograms is the story of Jerrica inheriting her father’s music business after his passing. While dealing with his death and the untrustworthy issues her father’s business partner, one of her father’s greatest passions in life was helping out the orphans of the Starlight Foundation. Unfortunately, her father’s business partner put an end to funding for the foundation leaving the orphans in dire need. Her father had one last gift, and it was one very large and sophisticated computer, named Synergy. This computer allowed her to create her own band with the power of holograms to win a contest for a mansion, a mansion that they needed for the future home of the Starlight orphans.
Watch the trailer again. Don’t be surprised if nothing about that trailer resembles the above. If you want to have an idea of what good change and modernization of a story looks like, then check out IDW’s comic revival of Jem and the Holograms. There are some changes and variations from the original story, but nothing that takes away from the actual heart of the story. I wish they would have moved from the shy storyline and kept the badass record producer, but I get that they are trying to intrigue teen audiences. The other changes actually help the original nature of the story as far as representing our current and modern culture. Only three issues and it is clear someone knows what they are doing. Now, if only someone from IDW can let John Chu know why he f@#$ed up so badly.