Jem and the Holograms (film)
Jem and the Holograms is a 2015 American musical fantasy drama film loosely based on the toy line and 1980s animated television series Jem. Singer Jerrica Benton becomes an Internet sensation after her sister, Kimber, puts a video on YouTube of her singing. Together with their friends Aja Leith and Shana Elmsford, they embark on a quest to become music superstars.
- Written by Ryan Landels and directed by Jon M. Chu.
- [from the trailer] I, Jerrica Benton, am living the most unexceptional life. My sister Kimber and I live with our Aunt Bailey and her two foster kids. At some point, we all wish we could just become someone else.
- [from the trailer] Everyone has a secret identity. Which one's the real you?
- [from the trailer] Oh my God, you're Internet famous. That's, like, the second best thing to being actually famous.
- [from the trailer] There are some voices that are too special to keep hidden. Those are your father's words.
- [from the trailer]
- Jerrica Benton: This is us?
- Erica Raymond: No, it's Photoshop.
Quotes about the film
- I watched the Jem trailer. No star earrings? Where are the misfits?
- Oh, when I seen that damn trailer, I was outraged; I was truly, truly, fucking outraged. That trailer had me outraged to the highest level of pissivity. I don't know if that's a word, but we're gonna use that word today, okay?
- lovelyti2002, "Jem and the Holograms movie trailer is Truly F*****g Outrageous! #JemTheMovie RANT," YouTube (14 May 2015).
- Jem has lost her outrageousness and gained a robotic sidekick in an overlong, low-budget big-screen reboot of the 1980s toy-selling cartoon series.
- And yet the film seems inexplicably embarrassed by its roots, instead serving up half-baked and self-consciously contemporary drama that no one in the sure-to-be minimal theatrical audience will remember quite so fondly some 30 years on.
Similarities between the live-action and animated "Jem" pretty much begin and end with character names…
- If you're a hard-core "Jem" fan who's still mad that Synergy is no longer a super-computer and that the rival band The Misfits are nowhere to be found (stick around after the credits, I'm just saying), you won't be won over by this reimagining of the material. But if you never had much investment in the Holograms, and aren't expecting any singles as great as "Three Small Words" from "Josie and the Pussycats," you may find this bubblegum musical more of a toe-tapper than you might have imagined.
- Alonso Duralde, "'Jem and the Holograms' Review: Musical Cartoon Reboot Is Neither Truly Outrageous Nor Completely Off-Key," The Wrap (22 October 2015).
- The movie doesn't put enough effort into any of these subplots; it seems to be merely tossing ideas into the pot that it thinks might appeal to 9-year-olds. Its biggest sin, though, is to miss the girl-power allure of the cartoon, in which Jerrica, in addition to being a rock star, was also a businesswoman. Instead, it grabs for the YouTube generation by making Jem a heroine for every kid who has ever been fat-shamed, had parents who don't listen, has been anxious about sexual identity and so on. Homemade-looking videos, thanking Jem for giving voice to their concerns through her bland songs, keep cropping up to try to sell this conceit.
- Neil Genzlinger, "Review: 'Jem and the Holograms' Are Shadows of Their Former Selves," The New York Times (22 October 2015).
- Fans of the original series will be outraged, while newcomers will be mystified.
- Shatner and the show's devoted fans would be well advised to steer clear of the final product. Not being part of the generation that watched the show, I can't vouch for its merits. But it's safe to say that it must be miles ahead of this wan, bloated screen version which forgoes the original's sci-fi and thriller aspects. Reduced to a teen girl empowerment vehicle that trots out every show business cliche about sacrificing your values for stardom, the film is a non-starter that is unlikely to attract the intended target audience.
- Chu has turned the intuitive computer Synergy into a cute robot pet and Jem into Justin Bieber. He has his female lead mimic Bieber's real-life viral rise to fame in a movie that is clearly for millennials, not for the cult fans of the original series.
- Whereas Hasbro’s cartoon Jem and the Holograms was spunky, brash and over the top, this live-action version of Jem and her sisters dispenses with the camp and goes straight for corny. There’s hardly tension, barely any drama and the sugar high you might expect from an eighties redux is replaced by a dull aspartame buzz.
- Christy Marx, the creator of the original Jem series, has a cameo as a journalist, when what the movie could have used was her real—not fictional—writing skills.
- Julia Cooper, "Jem and the Holograms: Girl power film for millennials is missing nostalgia," The Globe and Mail (23 October 2015).
- The film adapts the hit '80s cartoon and toy line Jem," in the sense that there is still a main character named Jerrica Benton (Aubrey Peeples) who lives a double life as the titular rock star.
- Wait, what? A robot? The diminutive droid, named S1N3RGY, is perhaps the most awkward remnant of the film's source material. … Here, S1N3RGY feels like a wildly incongruous afterthought in a movie that mostly dumps the TV show's singular sci-fi-tinged flamboyance to create a cloying contemporary teen flick about finding companionship through music and social media.
- Hardcore fans won't find much of the Jem they loved under the movie's achingly hip millennial trappings, while young newcomers will be left wondering what a robot has to do with a rock band.
- Regardless, there probably isn't a lot here for the greying Gen Xers who grew up with the cartoon Jem in their living rooms, unless they have tween daughters they really want to share this experience with. They're safe to leave the kids on their own, though, if they want to save two hours and $12
- Jem lacks one crucial thing that these other movies have: jokes, intentional or accidental. But what it lacks in humor it makes up for in sheer weirdness—it's a master class in How Did This Get Made? It feels focus-grouped to within an inch of its life, but it's so strange that it's impossible to imagine what process led us here. It's coproduced by Justin Bieber Svengali Scooter Braun, and you can feel what the makers are going for—Pitch Perfect with a rock band—and laugh when it turns into accidental outsider cinema by virtue of its inane plotting and bizarre choices. But I was never bored, and that's what counts—there's so much strangeness to process in Jem.
- Jem refuses to sell out her friends, but the movie refuses to give her band any distinguishing traits besides hair colors. As it is, it's a dance movie without any dancing, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains without anything resembling true empowerment. The performance sequences are jarring, mostly because making Jem’s music sound like Mumfordcore stadium folk-rock with Imagine Dragons live drumming contradicts the band's stylization as '80s rock stars.
- Jem and the Holograms are so hopelessly wholesome that the movie can't even bother to give Jem a downward spiral where she's seduced or at least tempted by the perils of fame let alone sex and drugs.
- Molly Lambert, "Corporate Synergy: The Focus-Grouped, Mundane Sci-Fi Mess of 'Jem and the Holograms'," Grantland (23 October 2015).
- Aubrey Peeples — Jerrica Benton
- Isabella Rice — young Jerrica
- Stefanie Scott — Kimber Benton
- Hayley Kiyoko — Aja Leith
- Aurora Perrineau — Shana Elmsford
- Wynter Perrineau — young Shana
- Juliette Lewis — Erica Raymond
- Ryan Guzman — Rio Pacheco
- Molly Ringwald — Aunt Bailey
- Nathan Moore — Zipper
- Barnaby Carpenter — Emmet Benton
- Ryan Hansen — Stephen the Guard
- Quddus — VJ