If I’ve never made it known on the podcast, my name is Bart and I am a bronie. I love the intricate blending of fantasy elements with modern life lessons for children while not going overboard on preaching morals. On top of all that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is geek central. In an average episode including Pinky Pie there are most likely to be at least 5 movie references, not to mention the geekdom that has formed around the series itself. One pony exists merely because it was a formatting mistake but fans liked it so much as to make it a companion of the Doctor Who pony parody (who also made it into the show).
So when I saw a poster last summer for a movie, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It had a great supporting cast and brought back all the wonderful actors who make the show perfect, but could the formula for multiple 20-minutes shorts translate to the big screen?
The answer is: only partially.
The movie starts off with a bang, introducing an airstrike by Tempest, a unicorn with a broken horn and a loyalty to the Storm King— a fierce, power hungry son-of-a-filly with plans to take over Equestria using the princesses’ powers. With her mentors incapacitated, Twilight Sparkle and the rest of the Mane 6 set off to find the Queen of the Hippogriffs for assistance.
That, in an apple core, is the movie. Of course there are plenty of songs, action, kidnappings, and confusion, with no less than 2 times of Rarity telling somepony they are dirty and undignified. Yet at 99 minutes, the length wasn’t the problem I had with the movie.
The problem was the animation itself. Having grown up with the Disney afternoon series, I understand how producing a daily or weekly children’s animated series creates oftentimes less-than-spectacular animation styles. With lack of time and budget, the same stills of Goofy could have been used multiple times over an entire episode. When it comes to a feature length film, producers choose to use this as an excuse to spend more money on such things, especially when it will be seen on a better screen. With MLP nothing was needed, yet the additions were still made. Suddenly the ponies all have big eyes as if they are in a Margaret Keane painting and most of Equestria has been built by computers rather than focusing on the town itself. What is unique about the show now looks like it has been painted away quickly.
If you are expecting a congruent story to the show, you may also be disappointed. While it follows the Mane 6 and shows most of the characters even in passing, it does more fan than story service. Constantly we see some characters pop up on the opening song simply to say their catchphrase and appear for screen time (Derpy, Bull Biceps), ending the film with all of these characters showing back up for the party for no reason other than Songbird Serenade’s (Sia) performance that happens way too soon after everypony’s near-apocalypse.
If you’re looking for a cute movie with great voice casting for your kids, this is a great one to play. If you are a bronie who cares about art, however, this might be one to skip in order to keep your appreciation of the series.