In what fans are denouncing as truly outrageous, the trailer for the live action adaptation of the 80s cartoon JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS was released on Buzzfeed on May 12, 2015. The story seems to revolve around a young Jerrica Benton, played by Aubrey Peeples, as she and her sisters ascend to worldwide fame when they take on the musical personas of Jem and the Holograms. However, it seems that fame threatens to tear them apart, and Jerrica must find a way to make things right with her sisters. Sounds straightforward enough, unless you’ve actually seen any given episode of the animated series. If you had, then you might be asking yourself one very important question: Weren’t there holograms in this show?
The answer is yes, as that’s what the name JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS refers to. The original show revolved heavily around Jerrica and her friends fiercely protecting the technology her father created from falling into the wrong hands. Jerrica in the original series was an entrepreneur, being the actual owner of the record label for her band, and she ran a foster home for young girls. Much like any given superhero or, dare I say it, even Hannah Montana, it was very important for Jerrica to keep her alter-ego a secret from others. However, none of this appears to be presented in this initial trailer, which seems to focus on a much younger Jerrica rising to fame and the toll it takes on her personal relationships.
I’ll be honest, even though I was born in the 80s, I didn’t grow up with this show. When it came to girl power teams, Sailor Moon was always more my jam, so I’m not going to pretend like I’m personally invested in the JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS mythos. However, a JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS movie without holograms is a lot like having a JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS movie that focused more on drama between the band members than it did on solving a Scooby-Doo style mystery (I mean, I guess there was a conspiracy in there, but I still think it kind of missed the mark); it just doesn’t ring true to the original source material, nor does it enhance it in any way.
The main problem that people seem to have with this new take on the series is that it seems to take a far more regressive approach to marketing to young girls than its predecessor did. Other films based on Hasbro properties like the TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE franchises, though not necessary high in quality as actual films, had a great amount of studio backing, and certainly didn’t try to exclude the technological and high stakes “good vs. evil” aspects of the original shows. But when it comes to an adaptations starring and aimed at young girls, suddenly the studio seems to think that the source material has to be watered down to appeal to its key demographic. This is a problem. Between this and Marvel’s exclusion of Black Widow from The Avenger’s toy line, it seems very clear that sexism is still very much alive and well in Hollywood, and it’s something many fans just can’t ignore.
Maybe it’s still too early to write this film off entirely, as this is only the first trailer, but right now the general consensus from fans is one that I’m in agreement with: this is truly outrageous, and not it the good way.
What did you think of the trailer? Were you offended by the departure the film seems to be taking from the original show, or are you ready to jam with the new tune? Be sure to let us know @TheMovieChickk!
~ Megan Salinas
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