THIRTY YEARS AGO, Jem and the Holograms hit the airwaves. It was a cartoon about an orphaned teenager named Jerrica who runs a record label as well as a foster home for the Starlight Girls, and she can turn into a rock star named Jem with the assistance of a supercomputer named Synergy who projects onto Jerrica a hologram through her earrings which enables her to live a double life, and Jem and her backup band, the Holograms, have a rival band called the Misfits who are psychopaths who routinely burn down Jerrica's house full of orphans.
If that run-on sentence was the best thing you've ever read, it's because the show is amazing. Outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous. I totally get why Hollywood would want to turn it into a movie!
Now that I've got you all excited, please reduce your expectations by about 95 percent. It's... too bad. All of the best stuff from the show has been removed or altered beyond recognition. For example, instead of running a record label, Jem uploads an annoying video of herself singing with an acoustic guitar. Blech. And instead of Synergy being an omnipotent aura that facilitates Jem's career through magical earrings, she's just a WALL-E rip-off that, through some shitty holograms, literally projects daddy issues.
The film is padded with supposed fan videos of earnest young people telling Jem—she of glamour and glitter and fashion and fame—how much they love her authenticity and realness. Which is nonsense, because Jem can't even be her real self! That's her whole fucking thing! I had half a mind to march over to one of the many groups of middle-school-age girls in Jem tank tops and pink glitter on their eyes who were squealing and really enjoying themselves and tell them what goddamn idiots they were being for eating this nonsense up.
But then I realized: This film was never supposed to placate nostalgic and cranky 30-somethings like me! It's for them. That's a tough pill to swallow, and not what I'd hoped for, but if those dorky tweens are loving 2015's Jem and the Holograms like many of us loved the original, that is maybe not the worst thing ever.