My opinion right after watching the movie
My opinion right after watching the film is that it’s not bad, but it is not a good one either. Overall, the story structure and the plot is more fitting for a tv show, or a direct-to-dvd sequel, but not for a theatrical release. I mean, it is pretty to look at, but as a non My Little Pony fan, it was kind of hard to engage into it, like the movie was not for any of us at all.
The film was announced to the public in October 20th, 2014, as it is one of the first films produced through a smaller company that is owned by Hasbro studios. People under the film made sure to announce that the movie would be completely separated from the Equestria Girls spinoff. Many people from the series were brought over to work on the movie, despite it being a separate entity.
The movie starts with all of the ponies in Equestria preparing for some sort of Friendship festival, which is soon crashed by our villains of the movie. Ultimately, more happens, but it’s a bunch of filler and exposition that I do not care to, and is not worth recapping. These villains try to take the magic of Equestria, but of course it is not going to be given up without a fight. Princess Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) end up escaping via a river with a couple of friends.
With the other ponies, they meet some cat named Capper (Taye Diggs), and this ends up in another song where friendship is the main topic, which has already gotten old, and is a recurring issue in the movie. All of this was a plot for him to sell the ponies to Temptest, but of course they escape from the people after them. The next group of people the ponies end up with are ex-pirates, who were going to throw them over the sea, but take a break for a food break. The pones then start singing once again, and I’m already over it. This song is about motivating these ex pirates to relive their glory days, and to not let other people get them down. Temptress makes it onto the boat, and demands them to tell her where the boat is, but they refuse to spill. Tempress only knows because they all hear the ponies escape from the bottom of the ship.
Temptest uses this to take the opportunity to bring Twilight Sparkle to her lair, and sings to her about ho friends are dirty, and will abandon you at your lowest point. We get the story through song about how she lost her horn, and it causing her friends to abandon her. This is literally the only song I care about throughout the entire film, as it’s used to expand a character, and a plot point at the same time efficiently.
From hereon out, it’s obvious what is going to happen next. Dragon Spike turns on her, and fails to restore her horn. All of the other characters that were met over the course of the second act all come together with the other ponies, and friendship comes together to defeat Dragon Spike. We all saw this coming from a mile away, so there is no suspense whatsoever. Everything is restored, and a happily ever after of course takes place for all of the characters that we’ve known, except the villain of course.
I am very mixed on the characters, since there are barely any characters in the film in the first place, meaning a lot of them fall under the term “red T-shirts”. What I mean by that are people who have no identity or characterization, other than bright colours of blandness. Instead of being negative, I am mixed because Temptest is a very strong character. We have a backstory of how she lost her horn, her motivations, and why she became the way she was, and she ends up being powerful while being vulnerable.
While everything else about this movie is not theatrical, the traditional animation is on par with theatrical films. Everything about the color scheme is appropriately bold, the character designs are consistent, and the movement is very fluid. I am sure there was some CGI in the movie, but it was blended so well that it was barely noticeable.
This movie is a musical, and while I am sure there are songs in the TV show, I don’t really feel like there needed to be music in this movie. All of the songs were really generic and pop-ish, and don’t really build up to much, outside of the overall friendship message. The score is a bit better than the music for sure though.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on October 6th, it grossed (as of December 6th) a bit under $22 million domestically, and $29.6 million in other areas, adding to a worldwide total of $51.5 million. It has underperformed regarding the movie in itself, but since it is tied to the toy brand, the higher-ups see it as some sort of success.
The reviews were ultimately mixed, but the amount of reviews were small in comparison to many of the other animated films released this year. From what I head, most of the complaints about the content being unable to translate well onto film, in comparison to episodes.
25.5/40 = 64%