I like to keep my posts about what I am doing for the novel series and the occasional comments relating to stuff I like that can have at least a tangential relationship. Then things come up. Things that annoy and frustrate. Things that want me to help build a time machine like Project Almanac (which is actually a pretty decent teen film. It messed up at the end but thats another whole topic) and just drag certain individuals to now or back to 1900; just somewhere they cant ruin things.
This brings me to Jem and the holograms movie released yesterday. I commented on twitter when the first trailer came out and revealed what it would be but now its out, I can explain things in detail. This does actually connect to the stories in a way so bear with me.
First off, let me explain Jem and then introduce the problems and why movie Jem failed (in my opinion)
Jem cartoon was about Jerrica Benton, a 19 yr daughter of Emmett Benton, who founded and ran Starlight music (a modest independent label) While in her gap year, her father died and willed to her two things: Half of Starlight music and the Starlight house, a home for teenage orphans, runaways and homeless teenagers. Her mother has died earlier.
When Jerrica discovered that Eric Raymond, COO of Starlight had plans to cut her out of the business entirely as well as turn it into a direction her father despised, she decided to fight back. She hadn’t really made music other that the typical garage band of the mid 80s’ (there was no youtube, spotify, smart phones etc back then). Nevertheless she was committed to fighting him. Starlight house was in deep disrepair as well.
Then his final gift arrived. A project that Emmett had been working on for years. A siri like holographic music production system complete with an avatar called synergy. It had been programmed to contact Jerrica when Emmett died and it did revealing itself and what it could do.
Using it Jerrica became Jem and her sister and friends became The Holograms. Playing against a concert Eric has set up as a promotional vehicle for ‘The Misfits’, a hard rock all female group, they attracted more buzz from the assembled media.
Eric, enraged, challenged her to a battle of the bands, with the company at stake. Each would surrender their half of the company if their band lost. Well Jem won, and Eric spent the rest of the series trying to eliminate Her both professionally and bodily. The series showed that a strong young woman could do anything, be a ceo and a member of a billboard charting band. Great female empowerment, its highly feminist, moral without religious or preachy and all its character where diverse.
Aja was Chinese, Shana was Nigerian. Both were living in Starlight house about to age out and had befriended Jerrica. Kimber Jerrica’s sister was a redhead. Rio, Jerrica’s boyfriend and a music magazine columnist was Hispanic. It would have been the perfect show for now. It could have been a series. However, all of this was completely ignored. Why?
Because of these people:
Scott Samuel “Scooter” Braun is an American talent manager and businessman. He owns two record labels: School Boy Records and Raymond-Braun Media Group. RBMG is a joint venture with R&B performer Usher. He got his start doing after parties for Emimen and was the man who discovered Justin Beiber (even though it was L.A. Reid who recognized his talent and signed him I dont blame Reid. He knows talent and is a capitalist. Just like Jerrica )
So why is Braun a problem. He’s not qualified to do fiction. If Jem were real, yea. She isn’t so him being a producer is like having a tone deaf person record music for a band. You won’t get anything actually usable because you can’t know what is wrong.
This brings us to Blumhouse Productions.Aan American horror movie production company, founded in 2000 by Jason Blum. Blumhouse produces micro- and low-budget horror movies, such as the Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge, and Sinister franchises. In 2014, Blumhouse produced the Academy Award–nominated drama film Whiplash, for which Blum was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The company currently has a 10-year first-look deal with the studio Universal Pictures. There you go. No more needs to be said other than the fact they hired the screen writer.
This brings us to the script writer Ryan Landel who doesn’t even have a wikipedia page. This is his first major film. According to Imdb, he did LXD shorts and a syfy channel movie Collision earth. Again, these facts alone need no other comment.
Finally we move to the director, Jonathan Murray “Jon” Chu . Chu (Chinese: 朱浩偉; pinyin: Zhū Hàowěi; born November 2, 1979) is an American film director, film producer, screenwriter, and cinematographer, best known for directing the movies Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Chu is an alumnus of the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television. There, he won the Princess Grace Award, the Dore Schary Award presented by the Anti-Defamation League, the Jack Nicholson directing award, and was recognized as an honoree for the IFP/West program Project: Involve.
He actually was the right choice for this film. Sadly what he was handed was a steaming pile of lion feces. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t correct that because he directed Landels LXD projects.
The short and long of this was no one gave a steaming pile of lion feces about the canon. They wanted a coming-of-age drama that compensates for its near plotlessness with charming and sometimes touching performances, astute observations about how today’s youth use technology to deepen their sense of community and self, and some lush handheld camerawork (in CinemaScope ratio!) that occasionally evokes, for real, “The Tree of Life” and “To the Wonder.” (these words are pulled from Roger Ebert’s review of the movie and are not mine. I agree thats what the movie is).
That’s not what Jem is nor what the target audience (people who watched it in the 80s ie 30 and 40 somes) wanted. Since they would be the ones paying for the tweens. It will be a bomb. Io9 comments and ebert comments already money back on tickets spent.
So what does this have to do with my series. Well if the canon were in my reality Jem would be along side Deborah Gibson during the MTV era. Jerrica would be a colleague of Emmett Cetus. More on that on the next post.