Look. I tried to give this movie the benefit of the doubt. When the first “Jem and the Holograms” trailer dropped, I was tentatively on board. Jem”s declaration of “Showtime Synergy” gave me hope that there was more to this adaptation than meet the eye.
But then this “Earth to Echo” meets “Batteries Not Included” home movie recorder knock-off showed up calling itself Synergy and now all bets are off.
There is just enough of the original “Jem” cartoon here to be recognizable. You can see the pieces being put into place for the love “triangle” between Jerrica, Jem, and Rio. You can reasonable extrapolate that by movie”s end, Jem will have fixed her friendships and ousted Juliette Lewis”s character (Erica Raymond) as the head of Starlight Music. If you squint, you might catch a glimpse of an homage to the Starlight House foster home.
But by turning Synergy into an adorable robot that merely projects home movies – in 3D! – the trailer has sucked all the silly joy right out of the source material.
I don”t mind the integration of YouTube fame, social media, or modern music. You gotta appeal to youth culture and the original songs from the 80s weren”t exactly winning Grammys. But cartoon “Jem” was FUN. I mean, it”s about a woman struggling to balance her position as a CEO with being an rock star by using super advanced technology to PROJECT A HOLOGRAM onto herself. It was a ridiculously campy good time involving villains trying to steal this secret technology for nefarious purposes interspersed battles of the bands. The original cartoon was always flirting with sci-fi elements, just this shy of embracing the holographic k-pop future we know today.
Juliette Lewis even cynically captures this mood in the trailer with “Look like you're having fun, but don't really have fun.”
Based on these trailers, I think I”ll just stick to reading the new JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS comic instead. I mean, LOOK AT THAT HAIR!