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My Little Pony: Equestria Girls
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Intro
My Little Pony: Equestria Girls
Director: Jayson Thiessen
Writers: Meghan McCarthy, Lauren Faust
Voice Cast: Tara Strong, Ashleigh Ball, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, Cathy Weseluck, Rebecca Shoichet, Lee Tockar, Richard Ian Cox, Nicole Oliver, Vincent Tong, Britt McKillip, Shannon Chan-Kent, Kazumi Evans
Synopsis: Via a magic mirror, Twilight Sparkle travels into an alternate universe in order to recover a crown that was stolen from the Crystal Empire. Upon her arrival she is horrified to learn that she has turned into a human.
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Is it wrong for a straight guy to say he actually liked watching a "My Little Pony" film?
Out of all the years that I've been an avid movie fan, I never thought I'd live to see the day that I'd ever end up watching a "My Little Pony" film. Let alone even reviewing it. Boy, I guess life is full of surprises. Even more amazing is that I honestly enjoyed this movie. Granted, I know the common perception about the "My Little Pony" franchise is that it's a brand geared exclusively towards girls.
And, I can definitely see why that perception exists, as the eighties cartoon didn't do this franchise any favors. However, after watching a few of their newer episodes of "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", I can safely say there's a lot more to the show than most people give it credit for. Granted, the first two episodes are a bit girly in a sense that I doubt most guys will like it right away. However, if you can get past the first two episodes that sets up the relationships between the characters, then you might find that the series is arguably one of the best animated shows on TV. Not only for being a cartoon for girls, but a show that anyone can watch in general.
Heck, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the show incorporated elements of the classic "Looney Tunes" style humor into their episodes. Granted, you'll never see Fluttershy, Rarity, Applejack and etc ever crossdressing, or see them stuff a pack of dynamite down someone's pants. However, the way they set up some of the jokes in this show is rather funny, and builds up similar to how the "Looney Tunes" used to build up their humor.
Although many people often remember the classic "Looney Tunes" show for it's slapstick humor, but those same people often forget to mention that a lot of their jokes were set up slowly to build towards the punchline. Take the infamous Daffy and Bugs feud over whether it's "Rabbit Season" or "Duck Season." If you notice the setup for the joke, it often ends with Daffy becoming the butt of it, but in order to get to that punchline, there's a lot of build up and talking involved to get there.
It's the same story with "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic." In one particular episode, Rainbow Dash's Griffon friend is kind of a jerk, but Rainbow doesn't know that. However, one of her friends, Pinkie Pie, knows this. Therefore, the joke of this Griffon getting what she deserves is set up slowly through the episode. Now, don't get me wrong, I would never compare "My Little Pony" to any of the old school "Looney Tunes" cartoons, but it's amazing to see how the show takes a few elements from the old school "Looney Tunes", and uses it to build up the jokes nicely. However, that's not to say there aren't distinct differences as well.
In each episode that I've seen, the show always manages to incorporate some moral about friendship. Granted, it's a bit tedious for them to repeatedly use this formula, but then again, you can pretty much say the same thing about most popular TV shows running over their formula over and over again. Take "Home Improvement" for example.
That show always involved Tim doing something stupid on his "Tool Time" show, and then he'd do something to somehow screw things up with his family. Tim gets advice from his neighbor, but he always gets the advice wrong, but he's forgiven anyway. Get the picture? Anyway, moving on.
For those wondering why I'm reviewing this movie, it's a common fact that this film had a limited release in theaters around the same weekend that "Man of Steel" premiered. Why they didn't just make it a straight to DVD release, or even a non limited release, is beyond me. Needless to say, I became curious to check out the film in light of how some critics praised the humor of the show it's based on; hence why I'm reviewing it.
The film is based on the popular Hasbro franchise, "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic." Twilight Sparkle has recently become an alicorn, and she's been named a Princess in Equestria, a land full of magical talking ponies. However, when she's asleep one night in her castle, some strange pony swoops in and steals her crown. Twilight and her pet baby dragon, Spike, chase after her, but she manages to escape into an alternate universe.
Unfortunately for our protagonist, the crown that was stolen actually is a powerful magical device that helps protect all of Equestria; thus she's forced to travel to this alternate universe to get it back. However, awkwardness pursues, as she soon finds out that this alternate universe transforms her into a teenage high school girl; while her companion, Spike, is turned into a talking dog.
Through a series of events, she comes to learn that the crown somehow ends up in the school's possession. And, the only way she can get it back is by becoming the Princess of the prom. Why can't she simply ask for it back? Because she feels that by telling the principal the truth, then she would only think Twilight was crazy. Telling a person that you're really a talking pony from a magical world full of pegasuses, dragons, talking animals and unicorns. Hmm...maybe she has a point there.
Oh, there's also a love interest too in this film for Twilight, but I won't go too much into that. Besides, this film is nothing if not insanely predictable. In fact, you can probably tell exactly what's going to happen in the film just by watching the trailers alone.
However, for what the movie actually is, it wasn't that bad at all. Granted, the story was a bit rushed, and some of the characters are a bit one dimensional (i.e. Twilight's love interest). Not to mention how there's a lot of plot holes in this film as well. For example, they clearly establish early on that Twilight can't use her powers in our world at first, but somehow spike is still able to talk even though he's a dog now? Oh well, I guess this movie is going by cartoon logic where we're just not supposed to give a damn about things like that.
As for the other characters like Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy and etc, they were still fun to watch. The only problem is that unless you've seen the series, then you're not going to know who they are, as the film does a poor job at developing them. Which sadly means, "My Little Pony: Equestria Girls" is a film geared exclusively to the fans of the show.
Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing necessarily, but it does eliminate the possibility that this film could've appealed to a wider audience outside of just appealing to it's core fanbase.
Of course, the film can be a bit cheesy at times, but if you're a fan of the show, then you probably won't mind it at all. The songs aren't memorable, but they're fairly decent, and they fit the tone of the story nicely. Plus, the voice acting in this film isn't half bad either.
As for the animation, it's very good in it's simplicity. Although I do question Hasbro's logic in releasing this film in theaters, as the production value of this animated movie seems more fitting for a direct to DVD release rather a limited theatrical one.
Overall, this is a good film for all the fans of the franchise, as I'm sure many will get a kick out of seeing some of their favorite ponies in human form. However, if you're not a fan of the franchise, then I'd probably avoid this one. In the end, I'll have to give this movie a two and a half out of four. It's not a great film, but it's definitely entertaining.
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© 2013 Steven Escareno