Jem & The Holograms Movie is Totally–UNDERWHELMING!

Nostalgia can be one helluva motivator when it comes to movie and television magic. In the last few years, a plethora of remakes of movies and television shows from the eighties and nineties have taken us by storm. Some of them like Girl Meets World, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtlesand Transformers have been highly successful. Then there are the flops; the films and shows that make us wish we had left our long cancelled series in the coffins peacefully resting. I am sad to say the Jem & The Holograms Movie is now a corpse in that number! Flash back a little over a year ago and eighties babies everywhere were brimming with excitement from the announcement of the film’s production (I was one of them). Quickly, however, we began to realize the movie would not quite live up to the show we knew and loved as children.

Aubrey Peeples as "Jem"
Aubrey Peeples as “Jem”

Pretty much the film is about Jerrica Benton, a shy teenage girl who is afraid to perform her music, coupled with the burden of keeping her family together and saving their home. She builds up the courage, finally and secretly, to perform in disguise under the moniker, “Jem,” and records herself. Her younger sister, Kimber, posts it to YouTube and her song goes viral! Within a day millions have liked and shared it, garnering the attention of music mogul Erica Raymond. She offers Jerrica the chance of a lifetime, to return to Los Angeles and perform three times and markets her as a mysterious new artist. Jerrica insists on bringing her sister and foster sisters, Aja and Shana, as her band. While in L.A. the quartet meet Erica’s kindhearted son, Rio, and begin a rather heartwarming scavenger hunt for pieces of her father’s robot, Synergy. However, the price of “glamour and glitter, fashion and fame” threaten become too much for her, especially when she receives the offer to go solo.

Aurora Perrineau as "Shana"
Aurora Perrineau as “Shana”

This was a pretty okay coming of age story–and that is all it was. Aubrey Peeples as the lead made the venture worthwhile, but where were the Misfits? In a brief scene AFTER the credits. This film was cut from its roots. First, Jem and The Holograms are grown women, this coming of age route was not necessary. Second, although we are happy to see Molly Ringwald she was not necessary. Then, Shana was virtually unrecognizable. I am sorry Aurora Perrineau, but Shana was a dark skinned Black woman. Some may argue they did it to make the cast universally appealing, but I would call that colorism. Finally, Synergy was way low tech and this film was likened to a Hannah Montana video with a bigger budget. I will never tell anyone not to see the film out of my love for the cartoon. Just lower your expectations to go from “Totally Outrageous” to “Totally Underwhelming.” If it gets a sequel (which is highly unlikely with an opening of 1.3M for a movie that cost $5M to make) we need to see a lot more of the Misfits, an upgrade for Synergy, and an older, wise Jem!

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