Ever since the trailer was first released, it was a given that the Jem movie was going to be a disaster. It was going to be nothing like Jem the Cartoon. From the very start, it was clear that this was not a nostalgic walk down the road of your favorite childhood cartoon, but Hollywood’s attempt at turning a fantastical story into real life. When will they learn ?
But this isn’t about the movie, this about Jem the cartoon. After watching a few seasons on Netflix I realized that the animation itself was the reason that the movie failed so horribly. Movies have a plot structure that call for their characters to grow and come across obstacles before coming to a resolution. The Jem cartoon’s structure was based off of the Misfits and their manager’s constant involvement. Both groups were too out of line for the type of movie they were looking to make and they weren’t going to be able to make a realistic movie based on some of Jem’s personal illogical setups. Also, a lot of what happened in Jem the cartoon doesn’t easily translate irl.
Let me refresh your memory on what REALLY happened on Jem the Cartoon:
The Misfits were Bad
Not just arch rivals, but criminals. More then half of their stunts would have landed them in jail, with a bond so high, Eric wouldn’t have been able to bail them out. Usually the Misfits reacted out of jealousy and most of the time they put Jem and/or the Holograms lives in danger. In the film, the Misfits made a cameo headed by Kesha and I have to admit they looked phenomenal. But the few seconds they were on screen, hinted of a sequel, and a promising as they looked, there was no way this movie was going to get any follow-up films.
Eric Raymond was Bad
When the Misfits weren’t devising a plan to kick out their opponents, their manager Eric employed actual criminals to do the dirty work. They looked like henchmen from Goodfellas or Casino, and they usually were cutting Jem’s car breaks or putting a painting in front of a cliff, looney tunes style. Jem the Movie featured “Erica Raymond” a downplayed female version that was just as selfish and insensitive as the original. So, they did find a way around this one. Although I was pissed off at the naming.
They really had a Jerrica and an Erica in the same movie? Really?
Rio was a cheater
Unlike the movie, Rio never knew that Jerrica and Jem were the same person. He managed Jem and dated Jerrica Benton. He frequently struggled with an attraction to Jem that manifested in jealous fits whenever Jerrica was out too long on hiatus. And yes, I’m aware that they ARE the same person and he must have sensed it, but it’s still weird. Technically these are two different women to him. Is he cheating or not? Sometimes Jerrica even seemed confused on whether she should be jealous of herself. This was probably an easy decision in the film. Rio was aware that Jerrica and Jem were the same person. It was better for him to be in on the secret.
Jem ran a foster house full of orphans
Where’s the adult supervision here? Jem may have been responsible, but legally, a house filled with children would have caused some problems for the group. They may have had some issues staying out of jail for neglect. Jerrica inherited her huge house from her Dad when he passed away, and she converted it into a foster home. I saw one episode where one random old woman, I never saw before, made a complaint to Jerrica about one of the foster girls. This was suppose to be the assurance that there were adults around even when Jem was on tour.
That must have been an angle that the script writers for the movie had trouble with. That arrangement just wouldn’t work out in present day. Instead, the writers decided to have Jem and her sister Kimber, move in with an Aunt and two foster children.
Jem’s music was hip
Every Jem episode featured several songs from either the Misfits or the Holograms. Rounded up, it is debatable which were ground breaking works of art, but ultimately, most were catchy. There were a few that were heart-felt ballads, but they were good tunes all the same.
The Misfits were not far behind with their memorable songs and slightly arrogant and selfish lyrics. Either way, there was no question as to why the Misfits were competition for Jem and the Holograms.
The score for the Jem movie wouldn’t even make it into my top 50.
Synergy was as dynamic as a genie
Synergy was a holographic computer created by Jerrica’s Dad. She was able to create realistic holograms, which is how Jem and the Holograms were able to change into their performance wardrobes. It’s showtime Synergy! She also was Jem’s help whenever she was in trouble. Sometimes, Jem called on Synergy to create holograms that would help her escape situations created by Eric Raymond and the Misfits. Other times, she called on Synergy’s help to keep her identity a secret.
It would have been a lesson in science fiction to try to add Synergy to the Jem movie, which took place in the very real present day, but with the advances in technology, I don’t think it would have been entirely impossible. And even if the budget wouldn’t have supported the hologram-casting Synergy, I don’t think that the resolution was anywhere near what they ended up doing in the movie. Synergy was a robot that looked like BB-8 from Star Wars and a webcam had a baby. The robot functioned as a treasure map of sorts and a home video projector, to the dismay of every Jem fan ever.
Jem and the Holograms’ hair, clothes, and attitude were truly outrageous.
Jem and the Holograms had amazing hair and clothes that were borderline–outrageous. No, truly–no pun intended–they stood out because they did what they wanted. Makeup on their cheeks and outside of their eyes, unlike anything ever seen in that era. The movie tried to strike that “out of the box” appeal but the looks ended up looking like grunge. It was a little bit too messy for the aura that the cartoon had created which was more chic.
Jem struggled with living a double life and maintaining a relationship that would suffer under the weight of this secret. Sometimes her band mates wanted to go solo, not to mention that she also had to deal with a rival group that was constantly sabotaging all of her efforts. In the midst of all this, she tried to maintain positive and hold on to the goals that she was focused on. The film writers found a realistic angle off of these reoccurring issues and had Jem struggle with bandmate jealously and the double life thing.
However, they also made Jem shy and anti-social. Which wasn’t anything like the outgoing personality in the cartoon. I didn’t like that they made the Jem persona a mask for Jerrica to hide under her own insecurities. This wasn’t anything like the Jem we all knew, but I know that they meant to set realistic inner struggles for the character.
The Jem film didn’t come close to the cartoon because it was a work on its own. There are alot of things in the original that don’t play out the same in real life. Some other minor issues I had with the movie are: The star earrings could have looked like stars and had a purpose, the youtube phenomenon was a cute tie-in but not necessary, I would also say that occasionally the dialogue was awkward. Jerrica’s convo via social media with Erica Raymond and the first time Erica assessed the girls wardrobe, was quite strange. The ratings speak truthful volumes about this film.
Hopefully, theres a reboot in the future because I can’t with this movie
Anything thing else you can add that the makers of the Jem movie had to revamp? Any ideas on how they could have made the original Jem the Cartoon work? Comment below or message me –>
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cover image source: Giphy