Jem and the Holograms

*Released: October 23, 2015

*Director: Jon M. Chu

*Producer(s): enough to know better and too many for one of them not to ask, “You guys did WHAT with our money?!”

*Writer: Ryan Landis

*Distributor: Universal Studios

     There was once a cartoon series called Jem and the Holograms that had its heyday back in the mid-80’s along with other cartoons like He-Man, Thundercats, Transformers, and G.I. Joe. It’s the only show that I can think of from that era that was aimed toward girls. Does anyone else besides me find that odd?

     Anyway, Jem and the Holograms follows the truly outrageous adventures of a young woman named Jerrica whose father has just mysteriously passed away, leaving her the sole (or partial. Whatevs.) heir of Starlight Music. She also inherits the badass super computer known as Synergy. The supercomputer sort of cares for Jerrica in the place of her late father and acts a mentor to her friends. Synergy’s main purpose in the series is to produce holographic projections so that they can become Jem and the Holograms, international pop superstars using Jerrica’s special earrings which are basically remote receivers for Synergy’s signal. It reach Jerrica just about anywhere. And for some strange reason, almost no one outside of Starlight Music is able to see that both Jerrica and Jem are the same person. It’s a straight-up Clark Kent/Superman kind of situation.

     I first came across this little TV show about two years ago during its really brief stint on Netflix. I watched a few episodes, and learned a few interesting facts about it.

  1. Jem had three seasons and ran from 1983 to 1987.
  2. Each season had a different opening theme. The first was iconic, the second one was garbage, and the third one was pretty much a remix of the first theme. It was okay.
  3. Jem and the Holograms didn’t rule the pop charts unopposed. There was a rival band in the series called the misfits. No, I’m not talking about the post-punk/goth rock band from around that same time. I mean these chicks. “We are the Misfits, our songs are better. We are the Misfits . . .and we’re gonna get her!” I like that part.
  4. 4. Despite all the really neat stuff I’ve shared about Jem, no one that I’ve asked seems to remember or even have heard about this show. I find that quite bizarre. I find it even more bizarre that the person I could have sworn told me about it in the first place is now saying that they don’t remember it either. Perhaps I have the wrong person . . .
  5. 5. Even though hardly anyone ever hearing of the truly, truly, truly outrageous Jem and her wacky adventures, this franchise recently got a live-action film adaptation. No one was asking for it so why does it exist?

          To be totally honest, I only wrote about the pretty decent cartoon show so that I could justify writing about the horrible, horrible movie. I have heard nothing but bad things about it. The biggest complaint that critics have is that it was a pale, low-budget imitation of a beloved and nostalgic franchise. And it wasn’t just the Jem fans who were calling this movie out for the hot garbage that it was − Universal Studios pulled it from theatres entirely on November 10, 2015. That was just two weeks after it had been released. Jem and the Holograms the movie only made a little more than half of its initial $5 million budget, about $2.2 million worldwide. That has got to be some sort of record. EPIC FAIL!! If you would like to know more about why this film was so dang awful, such a slap in the face, then check out this video. The Black Nerd does an awesome job explaining both its premise and everything that’s wrong with it.

     After seeing the Black Nerd’s video, plus another one from Rebel Taxi (NSFW, by the way), I found myself wondering why the hell anyone would ever greenlight such a crappy excuse of an adaptation right along with the rest of humanity. Well, there are several reasons a production company will churn BS adaptation after sub par remake after lousy “reimagining.” (Damn you, Tim Burton! Look at what you started!)

  • It’s probably a tax write-off. I’m not too sure about how all that works, but I do know that German director Uwe Boll would be the man to ask. He’s the . . .um . . .genius behind laughably bad video game movies like Bloodrayne, Alone in the Dark, and House of the Dead.
  • The rights to the property were about to expire. I’ve only recently learned about this. When a production company or a motion picture studio owns the rights to an intellectual property, they only have but so long to use them. Once that time passes, that property is wide open to be snatched up by another corporate entity. In order to stop that from happening . . .we all know the rest.
  • We’ve seen it time and time again: movies that just suck beyond all belief and reason.
  • To remind us all of how awesome the original was in comparison. Hearing about this mess of a movie from The Black Nerd and Rebel Taxi made me want to get reacquainted with the 80’s original, watch a few episodes, listen to that kick-ass theme song and hum it while performing my cashiering duties, etc. You know, if it wasn’t for the lame-ass adaptation in question, I never would have found this totally sweet live-action Jem and the Holograms music video! These chicks rock! THIS is what the film should have looked and sounded like. Why couldn’t these girls have been in the movie instead?
  • Open the door to new possibilities for Jem as a franchise. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for. After this horribleness, I think that people would be dying to see Jem get some justice. A no-holds-barred sequel would do nicely. Oooh! Or maybe a brand-new, updated cartoon show. Hell, put the original back on Netflix or some cable channel somewhere.

     Come on, Universal, you owe the Jem fans of the world a sincere apology and any gesture of atonement for the tragedy that you allowed to happen would be most appreciated.


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