First they came for the Karate Kid, and we did not speak out, because we still had high hopes that Jackie Chan could somehow save it (he didn’t). Then they came for The Dukes of Hazard, and we did not speak out because they put Jessica Simpson in denim underwear, and it distracted us. And now they’ve come for Jem and there is nothing left to speak out about because Hollywood has shown that they will violate on all of our childhood memories with zero shame.
The ongoing Hollywood trend of remaking old favorites has been going on for quite some time; dangling our old favorites in front of our face before devouring and regurgitating them into something that only vaguely looks like what it used to be. So it was really no surprise, when Gen-Xer’s collectively groaned after seeing the trailer for the live action “Jem” which debuted on May 12, 2015. The only surprise was that the groaning was louder than expected.
The “Jem” remake is the most recent fatality in the ongoing nostalgic movie massacre. Hollywood grabbed a generic script with a predictable plot, slapped a pink “Jem” sticker on it and called it done. The trailer for the movie shows a complete departure from the original story of Jem and fans immediately noticed several glaring omissions.
So what’s missing from the “Jem” movie? In the interest of not wanting to cut this article short by just saying EVERYTHING, here is a list of 10 important things that are missing in the new “Jem” movie.
10. Jerrica/Jem’s Dual Identity
Jerrica Barrett was a woman and manager of Starlight music. When her dad kicked the bucket, he left her the ultimate audio-visual, entertainment synthesizer that had the ability to turn her into her rock star, alter-ego, Jem. Fans of the cartoon know that Jem’s double identity was a huge part of the story; however, in the new Jem movie, they’ve completely gotten rid of the dual identity angle. Jerrica is no longer the owner of Starlight music. She’s been turned into an angsty teen who becomes famous after a video of her singing gets uploaded on the internet and goes “viral.” You just rolled your eyes didn’t you? It’s okay. We did too.
The ultimate audio-visual entertainment synthesizer that Jem’s father gave her was called Synergy, and Synergy was cooler than all of us, you guys. Synergy was a HUGE part of the show because she was the one responsible for turning Jerrica into her hologram alter ego whenever Jerrica would touch her earrings. But in the trailer, Synergy, one of the most pivotal characters of Jem, gets nothing but a quick blurb because the movie has taken all the magic out of the transformation and reduced Jem to a music industry manufactured persona, thus eliminating the need for Synergy. Her name seems to have just been thrown into the trailer as a nostalgic scrap to remind us that, hey guys! It’s a Jem movie, we swear!
When remakes first got popular, there seemed to be a bit of an effort from studio execs to make the movie into a new and improved version of what we already loved. But after scoring a few blockbuster hits with minimal effort, they’ve gotten lazier and lazier. The fact that Jem and the Holograms movie does not contain any actual holograms is proof of this. Maybe we’re jumping the gun with this assumption, but with Synergy’s role being written out of the movie, so goes Synergy’s holograms and the trailer doesn’t exactly prove us wrong. Who makes a Jem and the Holograms movie with NO HOLOGRAMS? Probably the same awful people who eat unsalted Saltines.
7. Jem’s Earrings
The earrings in this movie are probably just going to be regular ol’ earrings that your tweens can buy at the mall a month before the movie gets out. Unless they’ve watched the original series on YouTube, most movie-goers will never know the awesomeness of what the real Jem earrings used to do or how, as a kid, you knew some hologram shit was about to go down whenever Jerrica touched her magic earrings and said, “Showtime, Synergy.” But we have a feeling that the magic of Jem’s earrings follows the death march of Synergy and Holograms because you know they don’t have the creativity to at least update the earrings into an ear gauge that can also magically order pizza for you. Nope. It’s just going to be regular earrings for this very regular movie.
6. The Adventures
Did you know Jem got arrested once after being set up by the Misfits? Did you know the band performed on the Great Wall of China? Did you know that Jem has time traveled? Jem IS adventures! It says so in the opening credits of the cartoon! Jem and the Holograms got into exciting situations and predicaments that they of course resolved with nary a pink hair out of place, before breaking out into catchy pop song at the end. The Jem movie synopsis on IMDB states that Jem and the Holograms go an “adventure across Los Angeles!” Which could easily mean that Jem and The Holograms’ “adventure” in this movie is sitting in traffic for an hour trying to get someplace that’s 15 minutes away.
5. The Misfits
Pizzaz, Roxy, Stormer and Jetta made up Jem’s rival band, The Misfits. They caused endless trouble and turmoil for Jem and The Holograms and were all around pains in the ass but without the Misfits, Jem’s world would have been stale and boring. Kind of like how this movie is going to be. We watched the trailer a few times in a futile attempt to possibly get a glimpse or hear a mention of The Misfits and got nothing, which might be a good thing. They’ve already done enough damage to Jem’s character, we would hate to see how they would deface The Misfits.
4. Being Truly Outrageous
If there’s one thing Jem fans know, it’s that Jem was truly outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous. Jem is her name, no one else is the same! Especially not the movie. There’s nothing truly outrageous about watching some teenage girl struggle with her ‘inner turmoil’ and survive first world problems. The story line looks like it was based off a John Green young adult novel rather than the fun and campy 80s cartoon we all remember and love. To pawn this movie off to fans as “Jem” is an insult to our intelligence and spitting in the face of our 10-year-old selves who just wanted to see their old friend again. The obvious lack of attempt to make this even remotely close to the original is the only thing ‘truly outrageous’ (in bad way) about this remake.
3. The Love Triangle With Rio
Who was Rio Pacheco? Rio was the purple haired road manager slash dreamboat who rocked a members only jacket and loved his girlfriend Jerrica but also had the feels for Jem, all the while not knowing it was the same girl! A lot of the episodes centered around Jerrica keeping her secret identity secret from Rio because he had serious issues with lying and secrets for some reason. But with Jem’s dual identity not really being an issue in the movie, Rio is just another one of the many Jem characters who’s become a shadow of his former self.
2. Jem’s Superhero Status
Secret identities, magic earrings, saving the day shenanigans, Jem was a rock star with superhero status. If they hadn’t been so anxious to shit all over the original Jem character, the remake could have capitalized on the current feminist/woman empowerment trend because original Jem was the very epitome of an independent and strong woman. She was a business owner slash a creative rock star who supported twelve foster children (the Starlight girls) that lived with her! Why replace this multifaceted Jem with a character that seems more one dimensional than the actual cartoon? New Jem isn’t even close to being a superhero, let alone a person we would hang out with.
1. The Sci-Fi Aspect
Jem was adventure, romance AND science fiction, which is why the trailer for the movie left such a bad taste in our mouths. Synergy, magic earrings, secret identities were all scrapped and replaced with a script saturated in cliches. The musical sci-fi fantasy and magic of Jem is now just a ho-hum, after school special with boring and basic teen melodramatics with zero adventure and zero sci-fi. This isn’t the Jem we remember. In fact, this isn’t Jem at all. It’s just a bad Wal-Mart knock-off of Hannah Montana, people. Nothing to see here.