ByAmy Surprenant, writer at
I Write Therefore I Am...Obsessive and Compulsive
Amy Surprenant

Stay tuned for a video review!

It seems like these days everyone’s obsessed with becoming famous. The last two decades have been filmed almost constantly and no one lives with full privacy. We drool over celebrity gossip and worship the toilets they sit on (No? Just me?). We want to be them.

But what happens when we actually achieve fame?

There are 7 billion people in this world and about 10% of them get a slight chance to be in the spotlight (the one that pays well, anyway). That’s still 700 million people left. Of that 10% however, only 1% actually become rich. While that’s still quite a bit of people when you look at it objectively, there’s still a large gap. I have a 1% chance of being famous. You have a 1% chance of being famous. None of us have a percent of a chance at being as rich as Oprah, so maybe we can all revel on that fact and bond over it.

I get money. I get money. No one else gets money!
I get money. I get money. No one else gets money!

Jem and the Holograms was a cartoon back in 1985. While I was born the year after and never had the pleasure of seeing this 7.6/10 cartoon live and in color, I’ve since watched a few episodes and what a ride it is! Colorful, adventurous and beautiful. The show follows a singing sensation as she lives a double life in a holographic world. Sound familiar? It should. But this was almost a decade before Miley Cyrus was born and two decades before Hannah Montana put on that wig. She wore a wig, right? I have no idea.

For some reason, the studio that made the 2015 film Jem and the Holograms decided that living a double life as a holographic pop star was just too much. The entire fantasy element of the cartoon was completely scrapped. On one hand, it’s pretty insensitive to the original to forget the essence of what made the show fantasy. On the other, I can understand the studio not wanting to produce another Hannah Montana movie. There was a movie, right? I have no idea.

Jem and the Holograms (2015) follows Jerrica, who is a great singer, but too shy to stand up in front of people. Her sister and two of her friends secretly record her and post the video on social media. And that’s all she wrote. Jerrica suddenly gets blasted into fame along with her sister and buddies. They become a sensation virtually overnight. No pun intended.

The biggest lesson this film teaches its young audiences is to make new friends, but keep the old. As a former Girl Scout, this stood out to me the most. Jerrica’s ego starts to outshine everyone else and she separates from her band members to be her own act. This causes a rift in family and friends. Money can’t buy happiness, people. It can’t.

Yes, I'm sure.
Yes, I'm sure.

Fans come and go. They grow out of your style. You grow out of style. But friends and family are forever. Money only lasts as long as you save it.

While this particular film isn’t my cup of tea (I’d prefer if the girls had a knife-wielding maniac chasing them), fans of Glee and Pitch Perfect will find it a wonderfully colorful and beautiful film. And remember, bitches before riches, am I right?

Just stop it, Scrooge. You can't swim in money...
Just stop it, Scrooge. You can't swim in money...

Below, you will find Matthew Surprenant’s review of the film.

Last night my wife and I attended a press screening of Jem and the Holograms, not sure what to expect. We hadn’t watched the trailer, but were reasonably aware of the eighties cartoon series, which is about a music company owner living a double life as a superstar using holograms. These holograms and even music synthesizing came from a machine called Synergy, which her father left to her in his will. There are rival bands, plus the struggles of maintaining a double life. More or less, it’s Hannah Montana with a lot of psychedelic MTV gloss. It worked well for the 187 episodes the cartoon had.

Discussing the movie prior to screening, we were hoping for something so outlandish it’d be charming to an adult, despite the cartoonish roots. After all, the filmmakers would need to make the movie honest to the show if they wanted to catch the adults, but emphasize certain tween elements to make it sell to today’s children as well. It was going to be trippy.


Then the movie started and we were waiting...waiting for the veil to drop and the outlandish to start happening. It didn’t. Plain and simple, the movie was a Hannah Montana story with bits of Justin Beiber’s biography incorporated. For instance, Jem is an average girl who achieves fame via YouTube and it rearranges her entire life. As for the holograms, there were no real holograms. The name is there, but the futuristic technology didn’t make an appearance.

It may sound like we hated the movie, but it wasn’t bad. In a sense, it was better at being Hannah Montana than Hannah Montana. The tone and dialogue were something a teen and perhaps a good number of adults would find entertaining. It stood on its own as a PG title for the public just fine.

In short, solid movie, but it’s not Jem and the Holograms.


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