Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.
Courtney Howard // Film Critic
There’s been a lot of hullabaloo online over the new JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS live-action film. After the first trailer debuted, director Jon M. Chu’s re-imagining of our animated childhood jam captured a lot of haterz chiming in on everything wrong. No Misfits?! Rio doesn’t have purple hair?! What about Synergy?! Where’s the camp and girl group conflict?! And so on and so on. As it turns out, there’s more that meets the eye with this feature. Just don’t expect to see anything you knew before used in the same ways. I mean, isn’t that the point of doing a cover song? To make it your own? Take a look.
At least they put Synergy in this trailer, right?
So why would the filmmakers do this – eschew established lore for a new legend of a pop star? If I’m to put words in their mouths and/ or read their minds, it’s my guess that there’s an entire generation – maybe even two generations worth – who don’t know Jem’s origins and have no affinity towards the show whatsoever who’ll go see this iteration in a heartbeat. See – or rather hear – that One Direction song as the trailer’s battle cry. Marketing is going to grab them, the target audience for what’s essentially labelled a “teen movie,” over the now adult audience who grew up with the show and may not care about seeing a “teen movie.” The reality is that while I admire their ability to be creative with the property, I bet they could have appealed to both fan-bases to greater success.
How do we know all these missing elements we feel are obligated to be shown in a spoileriffic trailer aren’t actually in the film? Have any of seen it yet? We might be able to glean an inkling about the narrative from above, but until we’ve seen the film in its entirety, we can’t judge.
Clearly they are going against the grain and doing something truly outrageous like the heroine herself – using their own voices to sing a song that’s never been heard.
JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS opens on October 23.