Jem and the Holograms
Director: Jon M. Chu
Starring: Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Aurora Perrineau, Hayley Kiyoko
October 23, 2015
Do you know the icy feeling of disappointment as it slides down into your gut? Even when you’re expecting to be let down, when nothing has indicated that things will go well, it’s an awful sensation to be proven right. “THERE’S NOTHING HERE FOR YOU!” Jem and the Holograms shouts at fans everywhere. “YOUR CHILDHOOD MEANS NOTHING TO US!” And that’s why the movie’s been pulled from theaters and will disappoint only those who seek out the DVD, or watch it on whatever streaming site gets shackled with it.
This is not to say that the film was wholly awful. In fact, had I never watched Jem growing up, or was not now enjoying the comic books as they’re released, I would have found this a mostly unassuming girl-power Disney-ish piece of entertainment. In fact, had someone told me (which no marketing did) that Ke$ha shows up for two whole minutes at the end I might have gone just to see that.
The reality is that the movie creators were given a treasure trove of weirdness and then sandpapered it down until all that was left was a bland piece of soap. However, it does pass the Bechdel test, with girls and women talking about careers and fame and music in almost every scene, with few men present. And while romance happens, the focus is on Jem’s friendship with her sisters and her career.
Like a boring Cheetah Girls.
Here are the reasons it could have been better:
1. It’s based on some wicked cool source material.
WWAC watched the show together months ago and it was SO WORTH IT. This show is incredibly odd and outrageous. And yet the movie barely utilizes the costumes, sets, characters, anything.
2. There’s a fun comic book happening right now.
The Jem comic started-up a few months ago and it’s a much better investment. Seriously, take the money you saved by not going to see the movie (I mean, who went to see it besides me?) and buy yourself the comics.
3. Hayley Kiyoko plays Aja
Kiyoko is a pretty cool up-and-coming singer. Previously she has played Velma in some Scooby-Doo TV movies and made an appearance on The Fosters. Kiyoko spoke to AfterEllen about the queerness of Jem. She also sings a great song called “Girls Like Girls,” which brings me to:
4. Jerrica’s sister Kimber is played by Stefanie Scott
Scott is in the music video for “Girls Like Girls,” which you should watch right now.
Like I said before, Ke$ha plays Pizzazz, leader of the Misfits. And though a sequel will certainly never happen, given the reception of this film, the Ke$ha-led Misfits film will be a dream in my heart forever.
They turned Synergy, badass hologram woman, into a beeping, whistling, diminutive robot. Maybe they got what they deserved.