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Rick Kitchen

Jem and the Holograms (2015)

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From what I've heard, anyone who was a fan of the original Jem cartoon is likely to find this to be an abomination. At least the Josie movie bore enough resemblance to the original that it didn't feel like a total betrayal.

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As someone who watched Jem quite a bit as a child I went into this movie with very........very low expectations since all the reports I had read before left me wondering if this movie would ever come out.  I saw it Saturday night with a whopping 9 other people in the theater and I will say....it wasn't as bad as I was expecting.  There were some throwbacks to the original which I enjoyed, and yeah Synergy looked like a leftover prop from the movie echo but it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  I will spoiler the next part just to be on the safe side: 

I was also very pleasantly surprised the see the Misfits after the credits, and screamed like a teenage girl when they finally showed Pizzazz.

  Not sure if they could even pull off a 2nd movie but if they did I would see it again.  I'm not expecting it to win any awards but I am coming to grips with it and it wasn't as terrible as it could have been.

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Jason Blum was at Film Independent Forum this morning.

 

“At the beginning of the year we had 10 wide releases [planned].

 

This time last year I’d had the 10 movies categorized as ‘sure thing’, ‘I’m a little nervous,’ ‘I’m a lot nervous.’

 

And of course,I remember thinking “Jem is definitely a sure thing,” like I don’t have to worry about that one, it’s going to take care of itself. And in fact it did the worst of all of them. So, it’s very torturous and it also should [tell you] that anything any of us say should be taken with a big grain of salt.”

 

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It mystifies me that Blum and Chu could so misunderstand the appeal of Jem and the Holograms to think the atrocity that they made was a sure thing. They just came across as so clueless about what the essential elements of Jem and the Holograms should be.

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I found this gem in an article that talks about this weekend's box office and this stuck out to me:

 

 

The comedy Rock the Kasbah played a sour tune for Bill Murray: The movie's $1.5 million take is an all-time low for the actor. And the musical Jem and the Holograms, based on the old 1980s cartoon, was off-key as well, with a $1.3 million haul that's the worst ever for a movie opening on 2,400-plus screens.

"If you’re trying to court the teen audience, you do so at your peril," Dergarabedian says. "They are the most fickle. You’re trying to figure out the mind of a teenager when you release a movie like Jem and the Holograms."

 

And that was the fucking problem. This should have never been aimed at teenagers. This should have been aimed at the little kids of Gen Xers who grew up with the cartoons in the 1980's, like what they did with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot.

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This should have been aimed at the little kids of Gen Xers who grew up with the cartoons in the 1980's, like what they did with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot.

 

 

 

If the movie had been closer to the original animated series it still could have appealed to both generations.  Sure, the Gen X moms would go, but the characters and base storyline of the original concept would still ring with tweens/teens too. 

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Also, if they were really trying to get teens, it needed a much bigger budget so it be more fantastical, and/or make the characters older -- like the cartoon.

 

And I just noticed that -save one - all the producers are men. Did any of them ever watch/like Jem?

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And I just noticed that -save one - all the producers are men. Did any of them ever watch/like Jem?
Oh, they were called out hard for that when the news of the movie first came out. Chu has sounded really salty about it in some of his interviews.

 

Chu says he loved the cartoon as a kid, and I do believe him. But I don't think he or anyone else on his creative team understood the appeal of Jem for so many of the girls watching it. She was functionally a superhero, and we had so few to connect to. Take away Starlight Foundation, the holographic earrings, Synergy, and the danger of the Misfits rivalry and you're just left with 80s costumes and dated songs (except for the theme song, which is eternal). Chu said he thought the core of Jem was the struggle with questions of true identity, and that's like saying the core of Superman is the struggle with questions of true identity.... like yeah, issues of identity are present in both works, but you don't make Superman about a human reporter named Clark Kent who gets inspired by comic books to dress up as a costumed vigilante and fight crime in the streets, then struggles to find his authentic self. You include superpowers, supervillains, Krypton, the Daily Bugle, and Ma and Pa Kent.

 

The main thing that pisses me off about this abomination is that a respectful adaptation of Jem and the Holograms could be just as successful as the Transformers movies. It doesn't even have to be good... it just has to be fun and actually be Jem and the Holograms.

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. it just has to be fun and actually be Jem and the Holograms.

 

 

THIS! This is the thing that has astounded me from jump regarding this movie. Where is the fun? Where is the actual fucking concept? Why couldn't they at least listen to the theme song 'glamour and glitter, fashion and fame' and go from there instead of 'oh, struggle with true identity...'

 

What?!

 

I recall when this was first announced the majority of responses I saw was 'Jem and the Holograms! Awesome! .... Wait... why is it all men doing this? This is not going to be good.'

 

The 80s are big right now, they could totally have done some throwback fashion and lightened it up. But, most importantly, they should have stuck with Jerrica knowing her shit and being a business woman by day/rock star by night with her sisters with the help of fucking holograms!

 

The whole thing just stank of a group of men deciding with girls loved about the show... and being completely wrong about it.

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Wait... why is it all men doing this? This is not going to be good.'

 

 

Was Christy Marx involved with this at all?  Was she even considered?  Half their problems would have been solved if she had been.  She could have kept the premise honest.

 

 

Chu says he loved the cartoon as a kid, and I do believe him.

 

 

I don't.  If he did watch it, he'd have known the film that was made bore no resemblance to the original show on which it was based.  He slapped "Jem" on a film with an entirely different premise.

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Was Christy Marx involved with this at all?  Was she even considered?  Half their problems would have been solved if she had been.  She could have kept the premise honest.

 

 

 

I don't.  If he did watch it, he'd have known the film that was made bore no resemblance to the original show on which it was based.  He slapped "Jem" on a film with an entirely different premise.

 

Christy Marx was not involved. I don't know if she was considered but I rather doubt it. She was kind of torked about not being asked but eventually gave the movie her blessing... for whatever that means.

 

As for Chu... he seems to have based the whole 'internet makes young musical person famous and they have to deal with that' on Bieber. And that's...

 

*sigh*

 

There's just too many things wrong here. I wasn't ever expecting a masterpiece of cinema but I was hoping for something that had fun with the source and used it in the best way possible. This doesn't do that.

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Not the case at all. Glenn Danzig held on tight to those rights solely until Jerry won the right to use the name for touring and new material (sort of a joint custody thing).

The Misfits had disbanded before Jem was on TV screens, but the Misfits brand was only gaining greater and greater legend through the 80's.

ETA: I found the following blurb on a Misfits timeline. It seems that there were some legal difficulties:

In the autumn of 1985, "Jem And The Holograms," a cartoon series about a band with special powers, debuted, featuring a rival band called The Misfits. Toy company Hasbro released dolls of the members of both bands, each accompanied by a cassette of music by the character's band. Jerry Only eventually talked to Hasbro about the use of the name The Misfits, but a legal loophole allowed the series to continue to use it. Mysteriously, The Misfits were replaced for most of the cartoon's final season by a different rival band called The Stingers.

Edited by revbfc

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Two Jem-related items that may be of interest:

 

The Maine Sunday Telegram had a story on the cinematographer, Alice Brooks.

 

Also, this fan fiction graphic novel; the writer/artist was a storyboard artist on Arthur (the cartoon).  (Warning: PDF download).  When this was originally published on their website, it got some encouraging comments from Christy Marx; alas, they have redone the site and the comments aren't readily available.

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I remember reading a great critique of why this movie wouldn't work. Or maybe it was more of why the author of the piece was mad the movie was going to be so far from the premise of the show. I can't remember where I read it. It boiled down to what has been said, not truly getting what the appeal of the show was and just how awesome Jerrica/Jem was at the time. I mean how could no one see the appeal of what the show was about being perfect for this time in history? I mean the technology we have now. It's entirely possible to have a women in Jerrica's position in industry nowadays. Etc. I may watch this movie out of morbid curiousity. 

 

It's also sad that this movie, Wonder Woman and other movies/tv show that fall into this category, get mad badly or not at all, yet we get umpteen Transformers movies, when the 1st one was the only good one. 

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So, this almost happened.............
Could you imagine a movie where "The Rock" teams up with a CGI robot
and this sad excuse for a JEM incarnation????
With the success of the MCU, and DC planning their DCEU, plus talk of the Godzilla
universe as well. Jon Chu (the director of this crap movie) had visions of.............
a HASBRO live-action movie universe!!!!!!!
In case you still haven't heard, there are subtle "easter eggs" throughout the
various HASBRO cartoons from the 80's that many fans are using to claim that
The Transformers, GI Joe, and JEM actually live in the same reality.
Apparently, a news reporter named Hector Ramirez  can be seen in episodes
of GI Joe, Transformers and JEM.
Meanwhile, in the comic book front, there was a "weird" story in which SYNERGY was
an alien artificial intelligence that needed Jerrica's help to compose the "Music of the Spheres", while they both would aid GI Joe, The Transformers, M.A.S.K., Action Man, and even Stretch Armstrong(!??!!???)
So, yeah, the idea of JEM and the Holograms working with GI Joe and the Transformers
is not so ridiculous as you might think.
We can now only imagine a reality with a JEM movie done right, where a team-up movie would occur afterward, where SYNERGY would help the Autobots and GI Joe.

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