Remember when everyone was pretty excited that G.I. Joe: Retaliation helmer Jon M. Chu (also known for Step Up) was tackling an adaptation of beloved ’80s cartoon Jem and the Holograms? Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the first trailer for the musical drama has almost absolutely nothing to do with its source material, which has got to be a crushing blow for the fanbase that applauded development of this pic in the first place. It’s another one of those deplorable ‘in name only’ adaptations.
Instead of finding Jem as a badass rocker chick accompanied by a band of loyal, equally awesome friends and following them as they battle for musical supremacy and take on on psychotic rival band The Misfits, the movie will be a standard coming-of-age story about a shy (SHY?!? THIS IS JEM WE’RE TALKING ABOUT) teenage girl named Jerrica Benson (Audrey Peeples) whose singing goes viral and gets her a record contract. Under the name Jem and the Holograms, Jerrica and his sisters take the world of music by storm, only for fractures to appear as Jerrica/Jem is increasingly taken in by their new existence.
It seems like the take is excising the musical fantasy elements of the original series, and that’s sure to be a devastating move for fans. Part of what made Jem and the Holograms such a sublime piece of ’80s culture was its ability to traverse music, action, adventure, comedy and even romance with extraordinary deftness. Tragically, this movie doesn’t appear to have any such ambitions – it’s generic to the bone.
Stefanie Scott, Hayley Kiyoko, Aurora Perrineau, Molly Ringwald and Juliette Lewis co-star in Jem and the Holograms, which opens October 23.