This animated movie comes clopping onto the silver screen
By Jan-Carl Resurrection
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is not what most college-age men watch for fun. Understandable; it’s targeted at the complete opposite demographic of young girls.
The show is a welcome contrast to most of the serious offerings of television. It’s colorful, heart-filled, and a simple pleasure to watch. But there’s no lack of depth. The characters are as fleshed out as any modern television serial, with several concurrent plot lines. Of course, rather than dealing with the intrigue of rulership rights or deep romantic drama, My Little Pony deals with lighter topics, such as applying for the not-Air Force or starting an entrepreneurial fashion empire.
More seriously, the show is perfectly capable of both action and drama, within the context of a kids show. My Little Pony has made impressive episodes dealing with self-guilt and the grieving process. From an action perspective, one season finale dealt with the main heroine chasing a time-travelling terrorist bent on destroying the bedrock of society, the cutie mark, and another involved a laser battle of magnitudes comparable to Dragon Ball.
With such technical prowess in mind, it’s not so surprising that the show has completed seven seasons and has an eighth confirmed. Nor is it surprising that it got a feature length film. Perhaps paradoxically, however, My Little Pony: The Movie may be more enjoyable for newcomers rather than regular watchers of the show.
On a technical and execution level, the movie is just as good as the television show. Beautifully animated, compelling voice work, and powerful music are all part of the spectacle. Indeed, anyone who is going to watch the movie should go to enjoy the spectacle of colorful ponies. The story is coherent enough that it should not bewilder you while watching, and if you focus on the visuals, music, and voice acting, you’re in for a good time (as long as you can define a good time as a heart-filled wholesome adventure).
But any level of examination of the plot will expose plot holes. The opening of the movie involves the capture of three out of the four princesses of Equestria. These princesses have been demonstrated to be no small potatoes, yet they’re all taken out in less than a minute. Nor are there any guards to be seen anywhere in the movie, when they’re at least present in the show to get smacked around.
Secondly, the last princess, Twilight Sparkle, has the proper title of Princess of Friendship. Yet she’s the most skeptical of all the heroines towards others, and is the one least interested in making new friends. In fact, she tasks her friends with throwing a party for a group of seaponies so that she can sneak in and steal an artifact from them. Her friends make a genuine attempt to befriend the seaponies, but Princess of Friendship Twilight doesn’t. This would make more sense if Twilight had just become the Princess of Friendship, but she’s had the role for four whole seasons.
The show’s episodic roots also come out in the movie, and not for the better. The heroines travel across several different lands, and the glue between transitions is not strong.
Still, these faults are forgivable given the nature of the target audience, and they do nothing to take away from how much fun the movie can be. Someone who has never seen the show before would probably never catch the story faults I’ve outlined here anyway, given that they’re rooted in an experience with the show. If you’re looking for a wholesome, light-hearted adventure centered around pastel colored ponies, My Little Pony: The Movie will suit you just fine.