Fans, Journalists Attack G.I. Joe Director’s Live-Action Jem Reboot


Plans for a new movie based on the doll/cartoon icon have drawn an unexpected explosion of criticism from fans, critics, bloggers and more.

Last week, G.I. Joe: Retaliation director John Chu, horror movie producer Jason Blum and Scooter Braun (the man who “discovered” Justin Beiber) launched a YouTube video announcing their intentions to crowd-source input and talent for their new project: A live-action reboot of 1980s all-girl rock-band/adventure cartoon Jem. But instead of the fandom joy-eruption they might’ve expected, the filmmakers have instead been met with apprehension and outrage (truly.)

First, Moviefone’s Jenni Miller reported that Christy Marx, who created the character, had been “shut out” of the project until the deal was already done. On her own Facebook page, Marx voiced support for Chu but lamented the lack of a female voice among the filmmakers. After it was revealed on Friday that the film was shockingly only three weeks away from shooting, influential pop-culture writers from io9’s Meredith Woerner to Badass Digest’s Meredith Borders joined the chorus of dissenting fans; arguing that a character considered to be a rare positive female role-model of the era deserved better than what seems to be planned for her.

Running 65 episodes from 1985 to 1988 and based on a line of dolls from Hasbro, Jem was a unique animated hybrid of soap-opera, rock music and superheroics noted for being one of the few “girls cartoons” of the era with a focus on action and mystery stories. The lead character was a young female record executive who used holograms generated by a sentient supercomputer to masquerade as her own most popular act, the flamboyant musician/adventurer “Jem” (so, Iron Man meets Hannah Montana.) Chu, Blum and Braun have promised a 21st century “reimagining” involving a teenaged orphan who becomes an internet musical-sensation.

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Bob Chipman
Bob Chipman is a critic and author.