Like many cartoons from the 1980s, the series Jem was based on a rather strange setup. The episodes followed a young woman named Jerrica Benton, who, with the help of a computer named Synergy and a pair of special earings, can use holograms to transform herself into her celebrity identity: the rock star Jem. This is not what fans should expect to see in this weekend’s live-action Jem and the Holograms movie, however, as Jerrica merely disguises herself with makeup and wigs instead of advanced technology. So why was this major change made? According to director Jon Chu, it’s because the film got too messy when it came to explaining what’s going on.
Earlier this week I had the chance to talk with the filmmaker for a phone interview, and I took the opportunity to ask him why it was that the film moved away from the idea of holographic disguises. He explained that there were earlier drafts of the movie that did carry over this sci-fi element from the cartoon series, but that it would up getting cut out as a means of making the movie clearer. Chu explained,
Having to spend time dealing in exposition and clarification was ultimately found to not only have a damaging effect on the structure of the movie, but also steer it away from the core message that Jon Chu wanted to get across:
There is a silver lining for those of you who are disappointed by Jem and the Holograms’ lack of holographic disguises: just because they’re not in this movie doesn’t mean that they’re not being thought of to use in the future. Jon Chu has some big ideas for where a sequel could go, and part of that could mean including more cartoonish elements. Said the director,
NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.
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