“My Little Pony: The Movie” stars Tara Strong, Ashleigh Ball, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, and Cathy Weseluck. Released on October 6, 2017, the film has Twilight Sparkle and her friends attempting to save Equestria from a powerful new threat.
The film is directed by Jayson Thiessen. It is based on the 2010 television show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, developed by Lauren Faust, which is also based on Hasbro’s My Little Pony toy line. Let me remind you guys that just because I’m seeing this film does not make me a “bronie”. I’m seeing it because it looks cute from the trailers. Plus, we haven’t seen a fully 2D animated film in a long time. The recent My Little Pony show, Friendship is Magic, has reintroduced the toy line in a magical way, forming an unusual fan base that consists of young kids and older people who call themselves the “bronies”. My experience with My Little Pony was pretty minimal. I’ve only seen one or two episodes of Friendship is Magic, and to my surprise, I managed to watch its spin-off, Equestria Girls, which I thought was pretty darn enjoyable. With how popular the show is, it’s no surprise that they wanted to create a big-screen adventure for the Mane 6. I mean, who doesn’t want to see magical ponies kick some bad guy butt for more than an hour and a half? From the looks of the marketing, the film did do a decent job at capturing the spirit of the show in terms of the animation and its concept, but its biggest test is to impress those who have no experience with the brand whatsoever.
To bring you up to speed, the recent My Little Pony show focuses on a unicorn pony named Twilight Sparkle as she teams up with five other ponies to solve problems and help others around the world of Equestria while also learning about friendship along the way. An obvious reason why the show is called “Friendship is Magic”. The film continues the ponies’ never-ending quest as they face off against two new antagonists who will stop at nothing to destroy Equestria. This is pretty much like every other film adaptation of an animated children’s show, with the plot having a much more cinematic appeal as well as having some much higher stakes for the main characters to face. As a regular animated film, the story offers plenty of predictable and goofy moments that are aimed towards a younger audience. As a My Little Pony film, it’s an enjoyable ride that respects the show’s central theme, which is friendship. Yeah, you read that right. I actually enjoyed watching it despite its easy-to-spot flaws. Much of the main cast from the show reprised their roles as the Mane 6, such as Tara Strong as Twilight Sparkle and Cathy Weseluck as Twilight’s assistant dragon, Spike. All of the main actors did a pretty good job at bringing these enjoyable characters to life. The film also introduced a new set of characters, including the Storm King (Liev Schreiber), Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt), the Storm King’s second-in-command, and Captain Celaeno (Zoe Saldana). I like the fact that most of the new characters offer some sort of purpose to the plot, except for Songbird Serenade (voiced by Sia). She’s just there because…well, she’s the My Little Pony version of Sia. I mean, kids love Sia, right? The Storm King is one of those types of antagonists who try to have a certain balance between being menacing and being funny. To me, this guy doesn’t have that right amount of balance. I know that it’s supposed to be made for kids, but at some points, the Storm King is a bit too goofy to be taken seriously. Out of all of the new characters that were in the film, I think I found Tempest to be the most interesting. She’s the type of character who doesn’t classify herself as a typical bad guy, but rather a misguided soul that doesn’t know the true meaning of friendship. I thought the filmmakers did a very nice job at developing Tempest as well as Emily Blunt for providing her voice. While the characters were fun to hang out with, especially the Mane 6, there was one specific character that can get on someone’s nerves, and that’s Pinkie Pie. Let’s just say if you don’t like her in the show or have a very low tolerability level, I’m pretty sure that you won’t like her in the movie because her personality can be quite obnoxious from time to time. The film represents the same style of animation as the show, which is traditional animation, as well as incorporating some of the 3D modeling to increase its cinematic feel. So, it’s basically a huge theatrical-like My Little Pony special. While it’s not in the same veins as Disney or Pixar, the animation did its part in capturing the style and colorfulness just like the show, and it did so with ease. Like the show, the movie is a musical with five new songs performed by the main cast and one original song performed by Sia. They’re quite catchy, to be honest, but if the filmmakers are attempting to go down the Disney musical route, it’s probably best if they leave that stuff to the pros. I’m not saying that they’re entirely bad, I’m saying that neither one of these songs stand out as memorable. The Sia song was good, though. No doubt about that.
Overall, “My Little Pony: The Movie” is a magical and respectable big-screen adaptation of the My Little Pony brand. With its enjoyable characters, colorful animation, and a decent, yet predictable, story that fully respects the central theme of friendship, the film should please plenty of fans of the source material as well as young kids who happen to like magical ponies. As a person who has only seen a couple of episodes of the My Little Pony show, I actually thought it was a nice watch. It’s not “best animated feature” material and it’s definitely not for people who aren’t familiar with the show, but for what it is, it’s pretty enjoyable.