Jem and the Holograms is property of Universal
Hello, Spongey here.
Finale Month marches on, and I think we should do another one that ties into a theme month. We did Adam Sandler, but how about we revisit my most popular theme month?
That’s right, we’re going back to live action movies based on Cartoons. There are quite a few I didn’t get to in these months, and maybe I’ll do them, but one came out last year I just had to address.
Well, sort of. I originally had no plans to do it, but I noticed I had one free slot in this month after I planned the others, and the only kind of thing I usually do I had left were Live Action Adaptions.
And I figured, eh why not do this one? I was hoping to be the first to do it, but I got beat by a few people. Ah well ,as no one huge tackles it literately one day before I’m supposed to post this re-
…Goddammit. Seriously, I planned this a couple months ago, so when I found out he had it planned for the same week, I was a bit shocked. I wanted to watch this before he put his up, so there was no way I was moving the review. Hopefully no one calls me a rip off or whatever.
Onto the movie. I am really no familiar with this property, as it’s on the obscure side, making this movie’s existence even stranger. It’s nice they went for something less popular, but given the quality….yeah, not the best idea.
From what I can gather, Jem is a 1985 Hasbro Cartoon which is about a girl and her band, and and according to Wikipedia, adopts a persona with the help of a holographic computer, known as Synergy, which was built by Jerrica’s father to be “the ultimate audio-visual entertainment synthesizer” and is bequeathed to her after his death.
The 80’s were weird.
Outside of a few clips, I haven’t had much experience with this show, but it looks like cheesey 80’s fun, I suppose. Nothing amazing or serious, but fun. But man, it must have a crazy fanbase if the reaction it’s 2015 film adaption is anything to go buy.
Before I even talk about the film, I have to mention that the trailer got a ton of hate, and people were insulting the film and calling it the worst thing ever. Based purely on a trailer, those things that are known for lying.
Yeah, I’ve been wanting in this kind of thing, and while I will be downplayed due to the trailers being supposedly accurate, this does bug me. It’s one thing to not be interesting in something, but it’s another to call it garbage just because of a lackluster trailer.
There are tons of good movies with weak trailers that lie about everything, and vice versa. You’re just lucky that the film was apparently as bad as feared. But quite frankly, if you whined about the trailer, then I won’t take your review seriously, since you didn’t want to like it to begin with.
But whatever, that doesn’t matter, onto the important stuff. This film was a bit misguided from the get go, as it was made made for a meager 5 Million. Something like Jem doesn’t exactly require a lot but that is a bit cheap for any kind of adaption of a popular series.
That’s mostly because that one partially backed by Blumhouse, a company mostly known for smaller budget horror films, including Paranormal Activity. I can never escape that series, it seems.
And somehow, it bombed, making only 2 million. WORLDWIDE. That’s right, they made on a low budget and still couldn’t make that money back. Ouch. It did so badly it was pulled, after only two weeks, which is unheard of for a major release like this.
And the Creator of the series was not allowed any involvement. That’s always a good sign. And yet Wikipedia says she makes a cameo, along Jem’s voice actress. Strange. It goes without saying that people did like this, with it’s 19 on Rotten Tomatoes. Which is somehow higher than PA 6. Huh.
And it also had no Razzie Noms, to my knowledge, despite being a VERY easy target. More strange-ness going on.
Anyway, I’m going into this as somehow who doesn’t know much of Jem. I’m sure it’s a bad adaption, but like with The Seeker, I wanna see if it fails on it’s own. Some films like Dragonball Evolution are still terrible on their own own while some like Seeker are just mediocre otherwise.
We’ll see which one this falls into. I’m assuming the latter but you never know. The writer has done nothing, but the director has some interesting variety. He has Step Up 2 and 3, and the Justin Beiber movies…but also GI Joe 2, and the recently released (when this goes up) Now You See Me 2.
Clearly everything he does as equally manly. I’ve only seen GI Joe so I can’t comment on the others. But hey, we’ll see how bad this one is. Is it any good, or is it truly outrageously bad? Time to find out..
This, is Jem and the Holograms
The movie opens with YouTube Videos of kids playing music. Somehow I figured the movie would open with something like this, I don’t know, just a hunch. It doesn’t really serve much purpose before some narration pipes in.
Our narrator also happens to directly talking to us, to save time on actually introducing the character naturally. This is Jerica (played by the daughter from Sharkando, a much more dignified role) and she’s going to just tell us her life story. She tells about how she and her sister live with their Aunt, and her sister is played by Stephanie Scott, aka Lexi from ANT Farm.
Well, shit, I found another reason to review this. Oh, and the Aunt is played by Molly Ringwald. Yes, really. She pretty much vanished for awhile and finally came back…in this., Just…wow.
Jerrica tells us about her father.
“He would call me his diamond in the rough. Or his…Gem”
He died before he got to finish this machine he was working on. The machine was apparently called “Synergy”. I won’t be comparing a lot, but based on the summary I gave earlier, they got…names right, at least.
“I know what you’re thinking.”
You do not.
“This many girls under one roof, recipe for disaster, right?”
“If you’re thinking that, that’s sexist”
She says they get along, and it cuts to them arguing in a way girls stereotypically tend to do. Way to be not Sexist.
But they do kiss and make up pretty quickly after Aunt comes in and tells them to stop it.
“Weirdest family ever”
Not even close. Not even top 50000. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the Aunt had two other foster kids to add to our group, one of which is played by Hayley Kiyoko aka Prequel Velma aka the chick from Lemonade Mouth. The latter is very fitting.
You know, it’s not a chick flick without a montage, so let’s have them go through the garage and do a bunch of girly shit. That sexist line will haunt this whole thing.
For pretty much no reason, they get together and sing stuff. Maybe this is their way of telling us they do singing stuff, but it’s pretty forced in context. Then they get a notice that their house will be auctioned or something, and then everything gets sad. So far, I don’t care.
I guess it gives her an excuse to film herself singing. I should mention that there’s so much stuff filmed on a camera here, that it might as well be a found footage movie. Hell, sometimes I can’t tell the difference between that and the actual movie because it’s shot so close up sometimes.
Kimber finds the footage of Jerica singing and puts it on YouTube. This is why she should have deleted it herself instead of giving it to someone else, but whatever. Also, this is part is really unrealistic, but the video is shown to to upload really quickly, instead of taking 50 million years.
Speaking of unrealistic, the views shoot up right away. Okay, getting a bunch of views is okay but this explodes so much in just the spawn of…however long this is. She’s being talked up on semi professional shows, and is getting insane deals. I know exploding way too quickly is common in movies, but yikes.
“What the hell?!”
Whoa, keep it PG!
“You’re internet famous, that’s the 2nd best thing to being actually famous”
That was…kind of funny, I think.
Jerrica isn’t really sure about all this, as she’s just a shy weirdo after all. But Aunt thinks this could be a good idea for a few reasons. Nothing to comment on there so let’s move on. The next scene of her messaging someone who wants to make a deal with her, is set to a random YouTube video of a guy drumming…for some reason.
What, couldn’t afford anything of your own so you had to take some other guy’s thing?
This one record producer person only wants Jerrica, but she doesn’t go anywhere without her band, so after some discussion, they accept the whole band. If you need to coax them into accepting your whole band, you should go to someone who will accept you from Step 1. But whatever, anything to get the plot moving.
By the way, without even needing to think, I’m assuming that that this person will be evil, and the band will argue as they get more famous and after a bunch of stuff, they will kiss and make up. I don’t think I need to ask if I’m right.
The record producer person comes up and it is a girl, and with how she’s introduced, it looks like I’m right. I would be more shocked if I was wrong.
“You’re cute, and Quirky”
If you have to flat out say she’s quirky, she isn’t.
“Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, until further notice, none of it”
If it means no more forced mentions of Social media, I’m with you. Also, it amuses me that they mention Tumblr. I don’t know why.
“Forget the abysmal mediocrity you grew up in”
And become even more mediocre!
And without any further discussion, they are off, with someone obviously bitchy. She’s barely hiding it, and while it makes for a fun performance, it makes everyone dumb. Then we get a scene transition, that I kid you not, was done with Google Earth. How do I know?
They left the logo in. Seriously. Even if that was intentional, they intentionally did something stupid and lazy.
They arrive at the company and the producer woman continues to be an obvious villain.
“You don’t try at all”
She talking to the writers or what?
We then get another obligatory montage of them putting stuff on to get ready for rehearsal, which is so generic it hurts. If there a rehearsal, it looks like we skip it so we can have the girls marvel at their Hotel room a bit later.
That night, they hear some noise which turns out to be…that robot thing. Oh joy. Any sense of realism just went out the window. Which kind of clashes with how dead serious this thing is compared to it’s source. See the problem there?
And even taking the source out of it, it’s still oddly jarring.
“That’s how it communicates, through music”
Because why not. Also, they are taking this very well and not asking any questions. I’m not sure how or why this thing turned on, but it projects a map, and Jerrica guesses they must go to where it leads. Something tells me things are going to get ridiculous.
The next bit with them sneaking out, is set to a YouTube video of a guy….doing something, I guess. This time it doesn’t even make any sense. Were they too cheap to afford real music for this short bit?
They are lead to the pier, where they uncover this…thing, that they put into BB-2nd Rate here. This causes him to give them another map. Before hey can do anything, they are caught by some guy who is conveniently willing to help them get out before the police show up.
They escape and we find out this guy is Erica’s son because of course he is. Then they decide to sing because…i guess they just remembered this is a movie about singers. This goes on for a while and I can’t even react, it’s just….dumb. Especially when the Robot is worked in.
Then I guess they just go home as we cut to the next day as Erica the producer person tells some press about what they are doing with Jem and all that good stuff. After a little bit, it’s time for Jem’s first real show, and her epic reveal to the world.
They are given makeup too 80’s to fly in 2015 but anything to fool people into thinking this might be faithful. They perform a song called YoungBlood, which opens up a lot of obvious jokes I won’t make. I will say it’s pretty typical Tween fodder though.
The power randomly goes out, and Jerrica tells the crowd to help light the place with their phones and they clap and stomp because…reasons. It’s just there for a pointless bit as we just move back into the song like nothing happened.
Either way, the show goes well. We’re now 1 hour into this, and it’s a case where it doesn’t feel like it because of how little has happened, mostly. This is roughly 108 minutes, by the way.
After they show, they look through Jerrica’s Guitar that she has and finds another …thingy that they can insert into the robot. For some reason, nothing happens this time. Ah well, back to tween drivel.
It can’t be a band movie without the getting famous montage, full of clips of people praising “Jem”, which are so obviously talking about the cartoon. There’s even a clip of The Rock which was apparently taking from a completely different context! There’s a similar bit with Chris Pratt as well where he claims to have dated “Jem”. Even in universe this is supposed to false…but she’s like 16 and he’s…not.
But yeah, This movie’s cheapness certainly knows no bounds.
“My sister watched it, not me”
…Watched what? In this universe, you can’t be talking about any cartoon or anything like that. But hey, this has to make sense, because there’s no way they would be so lazy as to keep a bit clearly about the cartoon in.
After the montage, Jerrica talks to the producer’s son guy about this whole double thing and how it’s affecting her. It shouldn’t take this long for her to feel anything but okay. Either this is an attempt at substance, with him giving some speech. It’s a nice try at least.
Erica the producer person shows up and tells him to stay away from Jerrica. Got nothing to say to that, it’s just one plot beat you gotta hit I guess. She talks to Jerrica later and gives her a new contract, which she will likely not read and that will bite her in the ass. Calling it now.
And hey look, she signs the contract and is not shown looking over it. I’m clearly a mastermind psychic.
If you are wondering, the contract puts Jerrica with the company…as a solo act, shunning out the other band members. Gee, I didnt’ see this coming at all! They find out pretty quickly, so we just get the “arguing bandmates” thing out of the way.
Jerrica isn’t shown thinking about that deal at all, so I really can’t understand why she did it, no matter how many excuses she throws out here. I blame incredibly lazy writing for this. Another reason I don’t care is that the other members have done almost nothing this whole movie. I can’t even tell you their names at this point, they’ve done so little. I get the manager shunning them out, but the movie shouldn’t be doing that too!
We then get our “Sad” song which is shown to be sung by “Jem” on stage, which I suppose is a slightly clever way to show it. This eventually does turn into another sad montage though, so the amount of fucks I give goes into negative numbers.
Jerrica runs off and bumps into Kimber, who says Jerrica was acting like a jerk. She never did anything jerk-ish, she did sign that contract but her behavior did not change at all. Hell, no one saw her post contract until that scene and she said and did very little. Is this gonna be HSM 2 all over again? Because this is already enough like a bad disney channel movie.
They try so hard to get an emotion out of you here, but it doesn’t work because they didn’t even try to make us care beforehand. But hey…at least there’s at attempt at substance to an extent.
The other bandmates show up and they kiss and make up. Glad to see another movie where the conflict is resolved so quickly, it may as well not even happened. Hell, they pretty much go back to the whole Dad Map thing because even they don’t give a crap about the conflict.
Somehow Jerrica figures out that the last piece they need to insert into the robot is her earrings, which happen to be at the evil company. Guess Jerrica should just walk in and get them given Erica still thinks she’s on her side.
…Or they can sneak in, in a pointless way, whatever. Instead of the logical thing, I guess we can have typical hi-jinks with them sneaking in. I don’t even care. The next bit is set to yet another YouTube video of people doing stuff. I don’t get it, it makes you look very lazy and dumb!
Long unfunny antics short, they get what they need and put it in the robot. This activates a message from Dad. He says he set all this up to help teach Jerrica some generic stuff. Yeah, it turns out it’s nothing more complex than that. He doesn’t even say any lesson that’s too new to us.
“My greatest creation was never Syngery, it was always you and kimber”
This attempt at heart works a bit better than the last one, but man do they pour it on thick here. It almost kind of works but I don’t care about the characters, so I can’t really get into this. Never mind how damn generic it is. It’s also a lame pay off to this build up, that the movie would sometimes forget about anyway.
Close, but no cigar.
“In my heart, you’ll always be my gem”
Now, remember how Jerrica was talking directly to us earlier, which is how we got our narration? Well, we finally come back to that, as this was a video she made to finally tell the world who “Jem” truly is.
But then a crowd tells her to put the wig back on. …Wait, wrong crappy movie about a singer. And yes I’m still bitter about that. Especially since this movie, which is mostly worse, is actually going through with it!
They plan to fully reveal themselves at their concert that night, but before that, let’s look at some videos of people praising Jem some more. I assume this is taken out of context like all the other clips in this.
But oh wait, Erica still exists, and they have that contract! And…this bit is set to another YouTube video. Okay, this scene is actually important so what the hell?! It’s a style choice, but a very stupid one!
Her son guy stands up to her and says that his Dad’s will (wait, he has a dead dad?) says he can take over the company when he feels he is ready. Well, that certainly is convenient. With that, Erica is carted out.
I expected a very anti climatic villain defeat, so I can’t complain.
So Jerrica and her pals go up on stage and doesn’t quite reveal herself, so much as say that everyone is Jem to be deep or something. Which means she did not reveal who she is. Damn it, the one bit of credit I give you, and you take it away.
They perform another generic song…which is set to vidoes of people praising gem again. Christ, I have a bunch of YouTube tabs open as well as this movie, and I’m still getting more YouTube here.
Also, one kid says “Bad ass”. This was PG, right?
Oh, and remember the strange creator cameo I mentioned? It happens here as she plays some agent that approaches the producer’s son guy. Kind of cute but knowing she had no involvment makes this kind of odd.
“What would you like to call the band?”
Wait, we haven’t had a name this whole damn time?
‘How about Jem and the Holograms?’
Will we get a reason for that name? Of course not. Also, roll credits. Then Jerrica…kisses the son guy. Uh…did they have any romance at all before now? Outside of…nothing? Oh I don’t care anymore, just roll the credits.
Yeah, rushed ending, don’t care. At least they drew it out with a song. But wait, we’re not done…because there’s a mid credits song. I am not kidding. Erica goes to some place where she sees a bunch of girls, and she talks like she knows them. It seems like she carried them before but dropped them in favor of Jem. As soon as Erica mentions wanting to destroy Jem, they are interested.
They go into their bus and we see htat on the side, it says Misfits. Roll credits. …It’s always laughable when a bad movie teases a sequel that will never happen, especially one that bombs as badly as this one.
In case you don’t know, The Misfits were a rival band in the cartoon and to many they were the highlight. And not only are they not in the proper film, they are put in a mid credits tease. Lame. Also, the leader is played by Ke$ha. What.
Plenty of films leave out certain elements and tease their inclusion in a sequel, but this is especially stupid. This one scene with them has more charm than the entire proceeding film. When will they learn to make the current movie good before teasing the next one?
…Okay, we’re done now.
“It is 100 percent true to the Spirit of Jem”-Jason Blum
Let me get this out of the way: This was not horrible, nor the worst film of 2015. I haven’t seen 50 Shades of Grey yet, I can’t make any claims yet. However…like like Fantastic Four, I will say it is kind of bad.
This is comparable to that one in terms of writing. But enough comparing, let’s talk about the movie, this shouldn’t take too long. If you’ve seen any tween band movie (or any Disney Channel movie for that matter), then you have seen this movie.
They hit every single beat, and do nothing new in the slightest. And the only slightly new elements either become generic, or are rushed. You don’t exactly need a totally original story to be good, but at least trying in some aspects would be nice.
But the biggest problem here is the writing itself. Like with Fantastic Four, they couldn’t even get the story right. The big break up is very poorly done for reasons I explained, and it’s so damn rushed. I apologize to any movie that did this, that I bitched about.
There are various other messy and rushed parts, like how their rise to fame is way too quick and such. They don’t get this story right, so it feels half assed. Speaking of half asses, man are the production values bad.
How do you screw that up on a movie like this? You use Google Earth for transition, use clips talking about the cartoon and leave in mentions of it, and set scenes to YouTube videos for no reason. Again, it’s a style but a very dumb one.
Adaptation wise, even without knowing anything, I can tell you they got everything wrong. The fact that is such a bad tween movie at all tells you that. But I’m looking at on it on it’s own, where it has enough problems.
Naturally, this all leads to very poor characters. Jerrica is the only that almost has a personalty, but it’s not much. Everyone else gets…nothing, really. I can barely recall their names.
To be fair, the acting is mostly okay, especially from Erica who is clearly having fun. And some of the bits with them interacting are kind of enjoyable. So acting wise, it’s just “meh”. So yeah, I can safely call this kind of bad, for all these reasons.
But again…not the worst thing ever. Why? You know me, I’m used to crappy tween movies with lackluster writing. And frankly, the only thing that stands out about this one is how cheap it is.
The writing is bad, yet, but in a very typical way for a bad Tween movie. Nothing is really that baffling, especially compared to Bratz, which is far far worse. If this a stand alone film with no cartoon to compare it to, no one would remember it.
No matter how much you deny it, this is true. Like I said, I’ve seen Tween movies with writing exactly like this, and it’s only slightly worse due to the production values. And hey, I can at least follow it on it’s own, so it’s better than The Last Air Bender at any rate.
But yeah, it is not very good. It has slightly charm in bits, but otherwise, it’s just boring. There at least attempts at heart, which puts this miles above a lot of garbage I reviewed. You can call it bad, because it is, but there is far worse out there.
You know, I made a lot of comparisons to Disney Channel movies in this review. And they got that 100th one coming up, sort of. …So screw it, let’s go back to where it began.