First off, I’m a die-hard My Little Pony fan. I’m talking the original stand alone episodes that aired in the 80’s when the ponies were all thick and rounded like their rubber toy counterparts. I may have been gifted some stuffed ponies from the Friendship is Magic series, making my daughter seriously question my status as an adult worthy of respect. All of that said, I rather liked MLP: The Movie.
Opening on an enormous Friendship Ceremony, we find our resident Princess of Friendship hooves deep in making things as perfect as they can be by trying to enlist the help of the other princesses magic. However, nothing can go easy for the Mane Six, so it isn’t long before Equestria is (yet again!) thrown into mortal peril, leaving the gang of girls to travel far from their home, into another land, to save everyone they love.
The voice acting was, in my opinion and in Rainbow Dash’s words, awesome. Liev Schreiber was a surprising addition to the cast as he voices “Storm King”, the rather disappointing villain in the story. While the voice was spot on, and not scary at all, which is good since this is, essentially, a children’s film, he just fell short of what I need from my animal ruler set on taking over the world. The (thankfully) main protagonist was voiced by Emily Blunt. Tempest Shadow is a unicorn with a damaged horn, and on the promise of the Storm King restoring her horn, she hunts the Mane Six down over foreign land, her heart hardened to their special brand of magic. Jaded and wounded, it’s hard not to both love and hate this newest character, and I sincerely hope she makes an appearance in the Friendship is Magic TV series. She has a haughty attitude befitting an evil queen, emotional scars and a chilling demeanor that nearly gives me nightmares. Thank Celestia, the Mane Six is voiced by their normal actresses, including the exceedingly talented Tara Strong.
There’s a host of new characters in the film, and they all add a fun twist to the story. From literal seahorses, who you may want to reserve judgement on because not all is as it appears, to pirate birds and a cat that comes from a hard life of swindling hustles, we are introduced to new friends that aids the ponies in their journey to not only save Equestria, but evidently the world, as they leave their beloved home to find other cities and species oppressed and overrun by Storm King and his minions. Capper, the aforementioned kitty, is sly as a fox, and oddly, walks on two legs. As a friend pointed out, is that not strange for a show that typically stays to the norm of the animals? At least physically? Whatever. I still found him punch-worthy, with a side of ear scratches for redeeming qualities. The power of friendship changes lives, my friends.
As always, I found the musical score to be amazing. My Little Pony is chalk full of catchy, short songs with powerful meanings. While there’s a few too many for my personal liking, thirteen tracks makes a musical, there’s no denying that Daniel Ingram and DJ White Shadow can tug at some heartstrings. But while there was too much music, there wasn’t enough heart. The episodes we love to watch in the Friendship is Magic series are able to move you on a deeper level. I suppose it’s easier to pack a punch in a 15-25 minute episode, where it gets watered down in a full-length feature film, but it lacks the charm of FIM. While the show allows us to see past the Mane Six at times, you feel invested in Ponyville and the ponies as a whole. If you came to this movie as a new viewer, everything happened so quickly that I doubt you’d feel connected to the ponies of Equestria enough to really care about what happens to them. And that’s part of the magic of MLP, our emotional investment in the characters directly ties us to the friendship of magic, making you feel what the characters feel. Without that tie, MLP is probably just a cutesy film about talking magical ponies who fight with their friends and make up to save their home.
Friendship is Magic is done in a two-dimensional, flat style. So when the movie began to roll, introducing a bustling city of rounded 3D characters, I literally paused the film.
Dear Hasbro and DHX,
Please, don’t do this.
That’s all I’ve got to say on that.
Overall, it was a good film. If you’re a serious fan, you may find some moments that irritate you just based on the difference of feel from the TV series franchise, but it’s still worth a see. I can’t imagine a child of any age not enjoying this movie, it’s cute and action packed, and heavily laddened with lessons on morals and being there for your friends. And the repercussions of when you’re not there for them in the bad times. I’m very happy Hasbro decided to branch out and give MLP their first movie, because it was just so adorable.
And yes, this is me pretending Equestria Girls doesn’t exist, and never did.