The Jem Movie: Truly Outrageous
I was only five when the last season of Jem aired, but I have many fond memories of it. I adored the theme song and I used to pinch my stick-on earrings and whisper, “It’s showtime, Synergy” with such sincerity you’d think I could actually summon her. I have carried this childhood passion into adulthood with me, rewatching the episodes on occasion and even making my own Jem Halloween costume. I know they sell pre-made Jem costumes, but I specifically wanted to be Jem from the “Dear Diary” music video so I bought a sewing machine and acted like I knew what I was doing. My months of toiling paid off in the form of what may be my favorite Halloween costume of my entire life--childhood costumes included.
I can’t claim to be a Jem superfan. Again, I was very young when the show was on. But I loved it the way a little girl loves a cartoon that felt like it was made just for her. It was 22 minutes of everything I loved set to music.
When the Jem movie was announced, my friends frantically emailed me to ask me how excited I was. Honestly? Not very.
Many other things that I loved as a child have not stood the test of time. I’ve rewatched plenty of shows and movies that I adored as a kid only to have them be massively disappointing. But Jem is not one of them. I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable it is nearly three decades later.
I actually haven’t read much about the movie, honestly. I read the first few articles that came out about it and learned all I need to know to know that if I watch it, it may sour a part of my childhood.
1) Christy Marx, creator of the original series, is not involved in any way with the film.
2) The director and writer (or the only ones listed on IMDB right now) are both dudes.
3) From what I've read, the main story is going to go through some serious changes in order to “update” it for modern audiences.
I’m picky when it comes to remakes. I think remakes are great for movies that had lackluster technology at their disposal when they first came out. Why not update the effects and the cameras and all that? If you make it shiny and new, I’m on board. What I don’t like is all the “reimaginings” coming out. I don’t think directors should be forced into a shot-for-shot remake, but at some point during the “reimagining” process you lose the original soul of the project. Why not just come up with an entirely new idea instead of heavily borrowing from something successful?
My concerns with this “modern reimagination” may be unfounded. However, I haven’t read anything about Synergy. I’ve continually seen Jem referred to as a “teen,” which makes me nervous. Yes, 18- and 19-year-olds are still teens and I don’t remember how old she was on the cartoon, but she wasn't in high school and she owned a record company (and ran an orphanage). I’m concerned they’re going to infantilize her. In the same vein, I’m concerned they’re going to hypersexualize her (and the other young women) as part of the “modernization.” I’m concerned that “becoming an online sensation” isn’t going to be nearly as fun as becoming Jem and the Holograms. I’ve seen nothing about The Misfits, either, which would be a huge misstep. The “musical scavenger hunt” they’re going on may very well end up with them discovering Synergy. Who knows? All I know is at this point I’m not even sure I’ll watch it when it hits Netflix, let alone spend money to see it.