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Jem and the Holograms Featurette Hat-Tips the Cartoon, Then Ignores It

The upcoming Jem and the Holograms film has been met with a lot of concern from fans of the original cartoon, and this recent behind-the-scenes featurette feels like a half-hearted attempt to answer to those concerns. The video is peppered with references to the cartoon, with phrases like “outrageous” and “showtime synergy” repeated by the live-action stars, as well as actual clips of the cartoon juxtaposed with some of the film’s best outfits and makeup shots. I can’t deny that the outfits worn by the band in this movie look pretty good, but the clips of live-action dialogue shown here … not so much.

The interviews with the production staff in this video seem intended to reassure the cartoon’s fans that the movie is “for” them, despite all appearances to the contrary. The film’s director Jon M. Chu kicks off the video as follows:

Jem was a very fearless cartoon: the essence of female empowerment and being true to who you are. Jem and the Holograms were the defender of that idea. We wanted to do something different, but keep that essence.

This statement just doesn’t seem to match up with the glimpses of plot we’ve seen in the trailer and in the clips above, which show Jem not as the self-assured young woman from the cartoon, but rather as an anxious teen bullied by record executives to become a pop star on their terms. Worse yet, her struggles with music industry executives seems to be the only plot in the movie; does anything else happen? How are they going to fill the movie’s runtime with such a boring set-up? After Jem becomes a musical artist in her own right, then what?

Although I love the makeup and outfit designs, I’m just not sure this featurette has given me much else to look forward to when it comes to the Jem movie. What do you think?

(via Geek Tyrant)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (