Review: Jem And The Holograms Is Two Movies That Don’t Fit Together
Title: Jem and the Holograms
Director: Jon M. Chu
Screenwriter: Ryan Landels
Principal Cast: Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Aurora Perrineau, Hayley Kiyoko, Molly Ringwald, and Juliette Lewis
Summary: As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.
Oh, dear. Much like the Fantastic Four earlier this year , Jem and the Holograms is another movie that is limping into theaters on the heels of a lot of drama. The chorus of people asking “why now?” have been prevalent since this movie was announced. It seemed like it was unabashedly cashing in on the fact that generation X and Y are prone to accepting all forms of nostalgia. However, between the first images making people point out how little all of this resembled the cartoon, and trailers that varied wildly in tone (I watched them after the fact not before) no one had any faith in this movie. I went into this one with no expectations at all.
Jem and the Holograms seems to be some sort of love child of Pitch Perfect and Earth to Echo minus all of the things that made both of those movies good.
There are some movies that you’re watching and you think “I feel like I’m watching two movies at once”. Jem and the Holograms has got to be one of the most egregious examples of this. I would say about 60% of the movie is about Jerrica (Aubrey Peeples) and her sisters as they are thrown into what Hollywood thinks the modern music scene is going to be and all of the complications that come with it. The other 40% of the movie involves this robot that Jerrica’s father made and how they need to go on a scavenger hunt to find the missing pieces. If those sound like they wouldn’t fit together at all then you’d be correct because they don’t. Every single time they cut back to the robot subplot it was like I was watching an entirely different movie. None of the pieces of this movie seem to fit together. It was like they picked up a fairly generic rags to riches script and slapped the “Jem and the Holograms” logo on it because they thought that would help them sell tickets. In reality all it does is alienate anyone who liked the cartoon and confuse anyone who is new to the table.
There is also the fact that everything about this movie feels so forced. This is where Hollywood is showing how it fundamentally doesn’t understand how social media works. Jerrica is found by her new agent, Erica (Juliette Lewis) because the one YouTube video she posts goes viral. The problem is that anyone who has spent more than five minutes on YouTube would look at that video and know that something like that wouldn’t go viral. You can’t just put a mildly talented person on YouTube and record offers come rolling in. The video in question is low quality compared to the things you can find on YouTube now. There is nothing about these girls that screams “unique”. Even their looks aren’t something that looks out of place now. Perhaps if this was made before someone like Lady Gaga changed the landscape of pop music it wouldn’t look like everyone was trying so hard.
The music is something that I feel like everyone is going to be banking on, and while no disrespect to Aubrey Peeples or any of the other girls, they just aren’t very good. I’m not going to say that they are bad, but their voices aren’t anything special and their stage presence as dictated by the movie isn’t dynamic. There is nothing about these girls that scream “overnight sensation” which is what the plot is telling us. They keep cutting to YouTube videos and Instagrams talking about how inspiring the girls are to all of their adoring fans and I just didn’t buy it. Jem and the Holograms very much feels like a movie that was written by adults who are trying far too hard to fit in with their teenage children.
Jem and the Holograms wasn’t insultingly bad to me but I’m also not a fan of the previous series. To a non-fan it was a forgettable movie that was really only noteworthy in how badly the pieces all fit together. There is a mid credits tease for a sequel (that will probably never happen) that feels like it was spliced into the movie during post production. Unless you have young daughters who really want to see this I wouldn’t waste your time because you won’t remember anything that happened an hour later.