“Jem and the Holograms” is based on the cartoon of the ’80’s about a punk rocker in a band who battles with the rival band, Misfit.
Although a few characters have changed and the premise doesn’t address the “battle” until after the credits roll, the overall story seems to have the same concepts.
What teen doesn’t battle inner demons of identity and relationships with friends and family? What teen doesn’t have illusions of suddenly being discovered and making it big? And who doesn’t have the need to belong? The film address all of these issues using upbeat pop music, making it a film every preteen and teen loves.
Jerrica and her “sisters” are a tight-knit family all sharing the gift of song. When Kimber (Stefanie Scott) uploads Jerrica’s private singing performance to the internet, amazing things begin to happen. The singing sensations go to LA as one big family, but then Jerrica (aka Jem) must chose between her siblings and fame.
To add to Jem’s family strife, she also attempts to follow the clues her deceased father has left behind, completing the robotic puzzle and receiving her father’s final gift.
“Jem and the Holograms” is a film intended to entertain preteen and teenage girls while sending positive messages regarding individuality, creativity, and acceptance. The songs are typical pop songs, upbeat and catchy.
The story itself is rather absurd, but luckily the writers realize this and take moments to make fun of itself.
“Jem” and her sisters seem to be able to solve emotional difficulties within moments, put aside their own selfish wants, and do what’s best for the group. Yes, a bit contrived and totally unbelievable, but the message is still a positive one.
Of course, no teen movie would be complete without a young, hot love interest and “Jem” delivers with Rio (Ryan Guzman). There’s also the "Cruella Deville" of the music industry, Erica Raymond (Juliette Lewis), allowing us to root for good to prevail. It has everything a teen movie should have to keep the kids entertained.
While “Jem and the Holograms” gives us a sneak into the pop chart’s newest hits, it leaves a lot to be desired with the story-line and the acting. It’s completely predictable. Seeing one trailer allows you to tell the story without seeing the film. And you need to suspend all belief in every aspect of life to allow yourself to believe the film. That’s a highly improbable request to fulfill. It is possible, however, for those young girls to get completely engaged by this Cinderella story.
Aubrey Peeples takes the lead as Jerrica/Jem, capitalizing on those big hazel eyes and that girl-next-door look. Her sisters played by Stefanie Scott, Aurora Perrineau, and Hayley Kiyoko are stereotypical suburban teens. Molly Ringwald has the benign role of Aunt Bailey, the loving yet financially strapped mom-figure doing what’s best for the girls. Juliette Lewis seems to have the most fun role as the evil, self-serving, egomaniac music manager who will stop at nothing to lure the young and trusting singer into her lair. She’s over-the-top, but in a very entertaining way.
“Jem and the Holograms” is a high energy, lyrical story that hits all the high notes creating a harmonic theme of positivity, creativity, and acceptance. It’ll captivate the younger (9-13 year olds) audience with its songs and costumes. It makes for a good mother-daughter movie day that just might spark a conversation. And that’s a good thing.
In addition to opening just before Halloween (you’ll see lots of “Jems” knocking on your doors), I’m guessing Hasbro will be rereleasing the action figure just in time for Christmas Day. Unless you’re a previous fan of “Jem,” or you’re a mom with girls around 10, I’d skip this film.