With virtually every Hollywood studio digging into their archives for fan-favoriteT TV shows and/or films to reboot for modern audiences, it’s time we all finally accept the truth. A new version of Jem and the Holograms was always an inevitability.
The 1985-1988 animated series centered on the eponymous musical group and their adventures; the 2015 film adaptation sees Aubrey Peeples (Nashville) don the pink hair and makeup as Jerrica Benton a.k.a. Jem. The Jem movie’s first trailer earned a mixed reaction from fans of the series, given the absence of key elements of the source material.
Much of the previously-released trailer footage reappears in the second theatrical preview for Jem and the Holograms, though trailer #2 does shed more light on Jem’s relationship with her father. More importantly (to a lot of the original show’s fans), it also confirms the presence of Jem’s computerized ally, Synergy… in a different form than fans might be expecting, anyway.
Director Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) appears to really be emphasizing themes about self-discovery and finding your own voice with the Jem film adaptation; in the below featurette (from E! Online), Chu clarifies that he is also using this film as a prequel of sorts to the Jem that appeared in the animated series.
While the show’s fans may still take issue with Chu’s approach to the world of Jem, the film does look like it may set the stage for sequels that will ultimately hew far more closely to the animated series. In a business run by franchises and brands, one can’t blame Universal for aiming to develop Jem and the Holograms into a movie series aimed at a younger audience, even if the film’s storyline is brimming with clichés and broadly sentimental story beats.
Perhaps the new Jem will serve its purpose in drawing in enough of its targeted audience, though it risks alienating older filmgoers who still view the show as a nostalgic favorite. At least Chu and his team are aspiring to comment on the fame-focused world we live in and the universal pressure that adolescents feel to change who they are to fit in. How much of that comes through in a genuine way in the final movie result remains to be seen; still, as far as this type of film goes, Jem and the Holograms seems harmless enough.
Jem and the Holograms opens in U.S. theaters on October 23rd, 2015.