Jem and the Somebodies: Death of Childhood Hope

Jem and the holograms Movie

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.

Jem Sisters
There was a huge sale at Forever 21.

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0MT8SwNa_U]

5. Ke$ha

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.

In Conclusion:

Jem Synergy

They turned Synergy, badass hologram woman, into a beeping, whistling, diminutive robot. Maybe they got what they deserved.

Al Rosenberg

Al Rosenberg

Gay weirdo. Talk to her about tiny games, big books, trash, and all things illness.

5 thoughts on “Jem and the Somebodies: Death of Childhood Hope

  1. I’ve pointed it out a few times, I’ll say it again elsewhere: I’ve seen many independent productions with a fraction of this thing’s budget that manage to pull off some perfectly fine special effects and stories. Five million dollars? You could’ve pulled off Synergy and Jem transformations just fine on that, even if they wouldn’t look great. The director may stink, but I blame producers here just as much.

  2. That video was so great, and the actresses really captured that confusing space of queer desire and being teenage girls hanging out in hetero duos. Wow.

    And yes, Kesha-led Misfits – the camp is built in, they won’t have to try and pretend it doesn’t exist. You can’t with Kesha.

  3. I saw an interview with Christy Marx; she, with her agent, had been after The Powers That Be to make a movie for years. Which means that The Powers That Be (Hasbro in particular) KNEW she was interested when Blumhouse Productions, Chu and Landels sat down to butcher her creations (NOT her intellectual property, let’s be clear; it was work for hire, she doesn’t own that stuff, which she is well aware). She didn’t even know there was a movie in the works until just before it was announced, when Chu called her. Wow. Only five million dollars was spent on it, which tells you just how much they think women/girls are worth, doesn’t it? This property could have been ENORMOUS, with the nostalgia audience, plus new fans, and Blum p*ssed it away, because girls. I think he figured he could do the bare minimum of a budget and we’d be grateful because it was Jem, and go see it anyway. Heh. Guess he was wrong.

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