Ponies, Bronies, and the Movie You Don’t Want to Miss
There’s only a handful of reasons you go to see a family film as an adult: someone asked you to go, you’re spending time with your kids, or it’s reminiscent of your childhood. Fortunately for me, when I sat down to take in “My Little Pony: The Movie,” I satisfied all three.
This feature was an answer to MLP fans’ call for more! After the franchise rebooted in 2010 as a TV Show, the movie was slated for creation and fans are rejoicing. Though to call it a movie is a bit of a stretch, as the 99-minute run time feels more like an extended television episode. However, fear not, for there is plenty of action, sing-a-longs, and pastel colored favorites packed in.
Directed by Jayson Thiessen and based on a screenplay co-written by Meghan McCarthy, “My Little Pony: The Movie” was created by franchise veterans. The movie opens on Friendship Festival preparations in Equestira, when production comes to a halt at the hands of Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt) who aims to steal the four pony princess’ powers for The Storm King (Liev Schreiber). However, she fails to gain them all, leaving energetic Pinkie Pie (Shannon Chan-Kent), speedy Rainbow Dash (Ashleigh Ball), beauty Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain), farm gal Applejack(Ashleigh Ball), and sweetheart Fluttershy (Andrea Libman), with assistance from dragon Spike (Cathy Weseluck), led by princess Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) on a quest to save their city. The group faces many challenges racing to find a remedy while being chased by Tempest Shadow.
Though their positive attitudes and motiving song affirmations of “it’s time to be awesome” help them along, when tempers boil the group hits their breaking point and go their separate ways, leaving Twilight Sparkle vulnerable to capture by Tempest Shadow. Through the help of friends met along the way like charming cat Capper (Taye Diggs), bird-like pirates, and Seapony Princess Skystar (Kristen Chenowyth), the group reunites and helps Twilight Sparkle restore happiness in Equestria once more.
Though the movie premise may be a brand throwback, “My Little Pony: The Movie” is in a league of its own. Many changes were brought by the cinematography of animation. However, gone are the overbearing neon color palettes, replaced with subtle pink and muted tones. The pony’s noses are shortened and the legs are thinned. They do however don the expected sparkly eyes and manes that rival Becky’s good hair. New character, Songbird Serenade (Sia), was introduced among the cast of characters that are a mix of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" veterans and Hollywood A-listers. Overall, it’s a yin-yang balance of sweet nods to the past and the success of reinvention.
My favorite part of the MLP experience is discovering the Brony subculture it’s created. If you’re unfamiliar, check out Morgan Spurlock’s “A Brony Tale.” It features adult male “My Little Pony” super fans, who clarify their love is far from anything perverse and simply masculine support for pretty pink things. The “My Little Pony: The Movie” has been widely supported by the Brony population, igniting conversation and widening perceptions of the brand. Thus why I took my two sons along for this experience. To that I’ll add, if you think “My Little Pony: The Movie” is “too girly” to go see, you’ll be the one missing out.