For the full Movie Bears Podcast review of ‘Jem and the Holograms’ (as well as a review of ‘Back to the Future, Part 2’), check out the video embedded below. For our mini-review of ‘Jem,’ read on!
Let’s just get this out of the way: this isn’t the ‘Jem’ you remember. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing… Without going into spoilers, a lot of the same elements are present: glamour, glitz, engaging pop music, self-discovery, and yes, even Synergy — in some form, at least. But gone are over-the-top camp elements that made the original cartoon series such an icon for so many. Instead, ‘Jem and the Holograms’ is a modernized, more-grounded take on hiding behind a mask to be who you truly are. The problem, of course, is many people didn’t want an update – they wanted the truly outrageous rocker they grew up with. And this Jem just isn’t her.
While the film itself is passable and even fun – with an excellent soundtrack, including catchy songs like “Youngblood,” “The Way I Was,” and “I’m Still Here” – the amount of Not-My-Jem Internet hate heaped on this movie (largely by people who haven’t even seen the film) has pretty much ensured almost no one is going out to see it. And that’s a shame because, despite its issues, ‘Jem and the Holograms’ is kind of entertaining. It’s sort of like ‘Josie and the Pussycats’ and ‘Earth to Echo’ made a baby and named it Jem. If you can get past the “This isn’t what was on TV 30 years ago” bias, you might find yourself having fun with this film.
That’s not to say the movie doesn’t have problems: the pacing is painful at times and the sci-fi elements involving Synergy don’t work as well as they could. There’s also an annoying YouTube element that could have been left out entirely. But star power like Molly Ringwald and Juliette Lewis mix well with the up-and-coming talent of Aubrey Peeples (Jem), Stefanie Scott (Kimber) and Ryan Guzman (Rio) to make for some genuinely engaging screen time.
‘Jem and the Holograms’ is not the 80’s glitz-glam super hero romp it once was but it’s been updated in a way that speaks to many and, in some ways, even improves upon the original. Unfortunately, the Internet hate has pretty much scared everyone away from ever giving it a chance.