We’re really doing this
Sometimes, we face great tests in our lives. Sometimes, we have to ask ourselves, “how far am I willing to go to achieve my goals?” Such thoughts have crossed my mind from time to time, and indeed they returned as I was going into My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) (because there was an original film in 1986 with the exact same title). Now, I have not paid any attention to the rebooted animated series of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic by sheer force of will as the animation simply didn’t appeal to me on aesthetic level and watching an episode told me that this series is geared towards little kids. “No shit, Sherlock,” you would explain, but for those of you who have lived in blissful ignorance, this little show has gained a large following of grown ass men calling themselves…Bronies. Yes, this is actually a thing. We’ll touch more on Brony culture later, but for now, let’s dive into this movie.
We find ourselves (trapped) in the land of Equestria where talking, magical, and multi-colored ponies all live in peace, harmony, and constantly throwing extravagant parties for themselves. Of note, we follow Princess Twilight Sparkle (believe me, these names get soooooo much worse) as she attempts to get her kingdom ready for the Friendship Festival, especially as her subjects are all really gearing up to see and hear their favorite pop star Sia the Pony (played by Sia, that’s not really her character’s name, but screw it who cares?).
However, the festivities are interrupted by the arrival of a giant airship raining thunderstorms and army of satyrs all in service of the Storm King (Liev Schreiber, the first of multiple big name actors cashing a very large check). The King has dispatched his loyal and ruthless magical pony, Tempest Shadow (Emily Goddamn Blunt) to capture the most powerful ponies of Equestria in order to power a magical staff that gives him the power over the friggin’ sun, moon, and all the storms of the world. Princess Twilight Sparkle is the only one of the powerful ponies to escape, and she begins a journey across the world to seek the aid of an even more powerful race of creatures to aid in their fight against the Storm King. Aiding in her quest are his best friends: Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Spike the Dragon (Christ these names).
Soooo, yeah, I literally watched everything I just described to you…because I am dedicated to this job. This film’s summary reads like the stereotype of a Disney princess story from the 90s, but has cuteness levels powered by steroid abuse. Not helping is the fact that the first 20 minutes of this picture is loaded to the brim with horse-related puns that range from cringe-worthy to insufferable. Oh yes, and you’re also treated to very, very poorly produced musical numbers that are in no way catchy or even well animated. On top of that, the animation is fine but really not deserving of a theatrical presentation. Compared to what I’ve seen of the television show, it’s indeed a step up thanks to a bigger budget, but given the fact that other animated films have brought their A+ game in recent years, I’m far less charitable in giving My Little Pony a pass because it’s slightly better than its television counterpart. If the filmmakers just wanted a tiny increase in animation quality for their big screen debut, then maybe they shouldn’t have blown their budget on the smorgasbord of A-list talent they hired for two or three lines.
Seriously, besides Emily Blunt and Liev Schreiber (the latter is really only in 7 minutes of this whole friggin’ movie) you have the talents of Taye Diggs, Zoe Saldana, Kristin Chenoweth, Uzo Aduba, and Michael Pena and barely any of them are given anything signficant to do besides a couple of lines and maybe a song number. But most of the celebrity voices basically amount to cameos, with really only Emily Blunt and Michael Pena actually having significant roles within the story. While Pena is incredibly obnoxious because they apparently let him ad lib his lines (a terrible, terrible decision no matter what the production), Blunt at least showed up to work. I mean she usually does anyways, but it’s always pleasing to hear a big name thespian actually give a shit and attempt to do something with the role. Given the fact I’ve seen bigger names not give a rat’s ass, Blunt is a true professional who nonetheless gives a degree of pathos to her character that was sorely missing from just about everyone else in the cast.
Maybe you need some form of connection to the television show in order to gain appreciation for these main characters, but I’m watching a theatrical production. I shouldn’t be required to have some prior knowledge about a film property in order to enjoy it. But even if I did watch the show, I’m still slagging off this movie as your protagonists are all flat lines in terms of development. They are the exact same character in the beginning of the film and the end of the production. Really only one of them learns a “lesson” and it’s basically a reminder of what she already knew. So if the characters don’t evolve or grow in any way, my investment is incredibly limited on top of the piss poor music and the average-looking animation.
Which lead me to my next query: why the hell is this film even in theaters? Why didn’t they bother throwing this on television for all the fans of the show? The movie very clearly doesn’t stand on its own two feet, so what was the purpose of even bringing to a wider audience? If it was to attract new fans, that endeavor fails miserably for all the reasons stated previously. For me personally, I just got more and more annoyed by hanging around some of these characters. ESPECIALLY the pink one whose screeching voice has made me develop an appreciation for the melody of nails on a chalkboard. Furthermore, I didn’t get why many older men have such a fascination with this show given the fact the jokes are mostly bad puns teaching life lessons very clearly meant for pre-schoolers and the fact that your main characters are all very, very young girls…it only made my twisted mind go into uncomfortable places and indeed my terrible suspicions were proven correct when I dipped into the deep abyss that is the Internet.
Now look, I personally do love quite a few animated shows geared towards children because some also have a ton of stuff for adults to enjoy. Stuff like Gravity Falls, Ducktales (2017), Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, and Adventure Time all piqued my interest because they each brought a unique style and also tackled very mature themes with subversive content. Whether it’d be a well-choreographed fight or some surreal humor, these shows had something special that attracted me to it as well as other adults enjoying the show with their kids or without them. But I really don’t get the appeal of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and this film confirms my initial reaction to the show that it really isn’t for me at all.
It’s very clearly for little, little kids. Which is fine, but there is so much higher quality animations that you could show kids or indeed enjoy on your own as an adult. This movie is not one of those films. For the decent animation and the okay voice acting, I’ll be kind in my final rating for this film as I have truly seen worse. Some of you know I have danced with the Devil in the pale moon night, and he didn’t call back the following day. So My Little Pony: The Movie really doesn’t come close to even triggering my gag reflex. It merely annoys me; so it gets from me a…