Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Tale of Two Trailers

Consider this the tale of two trailers. While I would hesitate to call them the best of trailers and the worst of trailers about female-centered projects, there’s no denying both their similarities and differences. One if the new film reboot of “Jem and the Holograms.” The other is the new TV reboot of “Supergirl.”

I’m going to let you watch both of them and then let’s chat, m’kay?

First, “Jem and the Holograms”

Now, “Supergirl.”

Right, so we’ll begin with “Jem and the Holograms.” That was truly not outrageous. In fact it was truly, truly, truly boring. That was “Josie and the Pussycats” meets “Hannah Montana.” If you want a more interesting all-girl band origin story, might I suggest “The Runaways?”

But then that’s what you get when 1) the female creators of the original story aren’t consulted (or even notified) that a franchise was being rebooted, and 2) you use all-male creatives behind the camera to tell a story about an all-girl experiences.

Think I’m kidding about that all-male thing? Nope. The film is directed by Jon M. Chu (previous credit: “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”), written by Ryan Landels (previous credit: “The LXD: The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers” – whatever that is) and executive produced by Scoot Braun (previous credit: “Justin Bieber's Believe”) and Jason Blum (previous credit: a shitton of horror movies). So a guy who has directed a dudebro action franchise, a guy who has written some show about dancers and producers whose expertise are Justin Bieber and horror. Sure, makes sense. Totally works for a female-driven movie about the outrageous adventures about a group of young women.

So then the result is a very bland, very generic, very uninspiring “A Star Is Born”-ish rehash with your standard-issue girl empowerment backstory. Be yourself! Get discovered on YouTube! Lots of hot-pink eye makeup! Blerg. Now I watched “Jem and the Holograms” as a kid because it’s what you did in the 80s. While I don’t have overly strong feelings about the cartoon series I do remember it has something both campy and refreshingly weird going on that made it stand out. She was truly outrageous. THAT WAS THE WHOLE DAMN POINT.

Moving right along. Now let’s talk about “Supergirl.” I’ve always had a soft spot for D.C. Comics’ Supers – both Man and Girl. I know it’s not cool, but Superman was my favorite superhero and I made my parents take me to Helen Slater’s “Supergirl” movie way back in the day. And I remember on the way out I accidentally knocked over one of the armrests and my dad said, “Whoa, Supergirl. Watch out for your powers.” It’s one of those small, precious childhood memories I keep locked away.

So at first glance, like the first 2 minutes of the new trailer I was annoyed. Like, is this just “The Devil Wears Prada” with a red cape? This is almost as bad as the SNL “Black Widow: Age of Me” parody trailer. Supergirl as a frazzled working gal in the big city rom-com. Are you serious? ARE YOU SERIOUS?

But then, then it got better. Like it’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s kind of awesome better. It helps that the show comes from a pedigree of people who make sense. Its producers are “Arrow” and “The Flash” creator Greg Berlanti and “Chuck” and “Glee” writer/producer Ali Adler. Folks with a pedigree in writing superheroes and shows with strong female characters. Also, isn’t it nice to see sweet, forgotten Marley Rose from “Glee” plays the Supergirl herself? It also helps that the show appears to have a sense of humor, both about itself and its stories. I’ve stuck it out through “Gotham” this past season, but damn if that show isn’t joyless. So a female-centric superhero story that’s unafraid to kick ass and crack a couple of jokes? Yeah, I’m definitely into that.

So there you have it. Now, granted, these are both based on just trailers. First impressions are just that. But it’s another reminder that not all female-fronted projects are created equal. Not even close.


Anonymous said...

Wow! You've never watched LXD?! It's amazing!!! The storyline is kinda corny but that's not why you watch it. The dancing is wonderful, it has a diverse cast of men and women who are masters of different styles.

Not really excited for either, supergirl and superman were always kinda boring to me. I'm a spidey girl all the way. Nerd and hero? I'm sold.

Anonymous said...

What the supergirl trailer should have been

And yeah, I'm excited for Supergirl, even though yeah, it seems that it's gonna be slightly cliche..

Panty Buns said...

That is really OUTRAGEOUS that creator Christy Marx wasn't consulted or even contacted about the franchise being rebooted and that everything is being run by men. That is the kind of stuff is why Hollywood may get sued: ACLU Requests an Investigation into Hollywood's Bullshit Sexism | Jezebel.
I will probably wind up watching these only because there's so few shows having strong female leads that are about a woman out there - but it's horrible that the shows are being directed and directed by the Hollywood Boy's Club. I hope Hollywood loses multiple lawsuits for their endemic sex discrimination, and that meanwhile films like GIRLTRASH All Night Long and bands like Uh Huh Her get more publicity.

Kym Williamson said...

As a super hero geek, I watched the SuperGirl trailer and was somewhat disappointed. I could not shake the rom com feel of it and the obvious cheesiness. The fact that it is on CBS makes me suspicious too. I kinda feel that they are pandering toward the more teenage audience but I could be wrong. I'll give it a two episode try and go from there. I did the same with Flash and it's one of the best Supes shows on right now.

Len said...

I agree it's really bad they didn't collaborate or consult with the original creators of Jem. And I watched the trailer going "Where are the Misfits, where is the computer Synergy?", etc.

But I think you're kind of unfair to Chu and Landels in terms of _why_ they're attached to the project. Yes, Chu made an explosion movie. But mostly he's known for his dancing movies. Dancing movies featuring underdog groups of racially and gender diverse casts (and female writers)having wacky adventures and dancing, and a little romance, and one of his movies even featured a sequence with elaborate high tech lighting bits. That doesn't seem like a crazy match for a Jem movie.

Same for Landels. Jem was a show about a band with some added adventure and science fiction elements. LXD was about dancers with some added adventure and science fiction elements.