<i>My Little Pony</i> Should Please Fans and the Bigs Who Love Them

Susan Ellingburg

A cute little movie about cute little ponies, with life lessons and some mighty fine music thrown in as a bonus. There's color and excitement for small viewers, humor and (clean) adult references for the older set, and fun for all ages. 3 out of 5.
 

Synopsis

When a Friendship Festival is crashed by invaders who want to destroy Equestria and all it stands for, it’s up to Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) and her friends to save their home.

Setting off on a long journey to a faraway land, the Mane 6 will have to outrun grudge-bearing unicorn Tempest (Emily Blunt), outwit a band of pirates led by Captain Celaeno (Zoe Saldana), and outfox a wily trader (Taye Diggs). They’ll meet new friends (Kristin Chenoweth), face challenges, and learn to rely on each other and the power of friendship to make things right.
 

What Works?

From a non-fan's grown up perspective, My Little Pony is a fairly charming film with enough content to keep adults engaged (humor, national isolationism, black market trading, they're all in there. And does anybody else think the Storm King's (Liev Schreiber) soldiers look like the flying monkeys of Oz?). The story moves right along—I didn't check my watch once—and it didn't talk down to the audience.

My companion, a die-hard young Pony fan, loved the look of Equestria and beyond, and was pleased with the story. It would have been better if every favorite character had a part, but all made cameo appearances, so that was satisfactory.

MLP delivers a number of teachable moments that are clear without driving the point into the ground. Despite all the magical elements, characters face real-life dilemmas. They don't always make the right choices. They hurt each other. But in the end, they work through their problems.

This is not quite a musical but there are a number of songs, mostly written by Daniel Ingram, and some are exceptional. Capper has the best of the bunch, a showstopper that would feel at home on a Broadway stage.
 

What Doesn't?

There are so many multicolored critters dashing in and out it can be difficult for those of us not familiar with the Ponyverse to keep track of who's who. The primary characters are clear enough, but even some of the "Mane 6" who set off to save Equestria were a bit of a blur.

I'm told Pinkie Pie (Andrea Libman) is a fan favorite, but she was the one character who got on my last nerve. They are "little" ponies, so they can't be expected to exhibit good sense all—or even most—of the time, but I found Pinkie Pie particularly annoying in this regard. Her antics worked with the story, however, so maybe they were necessary after all.
 

Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes

Several characters have to deal with betrayal, bitterness and forgiveness. The Storm King has something in common with the father of lies when he declares, "Only I have the power to make you whole" as a way to command obedience.
 

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)


The Bottom Line

RECOMMENDED FOR: Any pony (or Brony) of any age who's a My Little Pony fan, and those who want to share a movie with them.

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Those who don't care for animated kid flicks, especially if they're unfamiliar with the Ponyverse.

My Little Pony: The Movie, directed by Jayson Thiessen, opens in theaters October 6, 2017. It runs 99 minutes and stars Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Zoe Saldana, Tara Strong and Taye Diggs. Watch the trailer for My Little Pony: The Movie here.
 

Susan Ellingburg spends most days helping to create amazing live events and most nights at the movies, at rehearsals, or performing with vocal ensembles in the Dallas area. This leaves very little time for cleaning house. A natural-born Texan, Susan loves all things British, Sunday afternoon naps, cozy mysteries, traveling with friends, and cooking like a Food Network star (minus the camera crew).

Publication date: October 5, 2017

Image courtesy: ©Lionsgate

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