Saturday, 10 February 2018

My Little Pony - The Movie ★★★☆☆

‘My Little Pony’ has been around seemingly forever – I remember friends playing with the toys when I was in primary school, though I must admit I was too entranced by my Hot Wheels and Meccano sets to pay much attention. They certainly had some sort of appeal though, as all the normal kids in my year were hell bent on collecting as many luridly coloured magical ponies as they could, complete with long flowing manes and easily lost hairbrushes with which to style them with.

It's 2018 now and the ‘My Little Pony’ franchise is showing no signs of giving up. When other colourful fads hit the shops they tend to fade into the background within a couple of months, whereas ‘My Little Pony’ doesn’t want to accept the same fate – this is something like the 16th movie in the franchise to come out, not to mention all the animated series and of course the game that came out in 1998. 

Unlike a lot of kids movies nowadays this one’s aimed solely the kids, which may be a good or bad thing depending on whether you’re watching it with them or not. Because of this the plot is very standard. Our protagonist, Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong), is intending to host the annual friendship festival (I imagine just this sentence has already put some prospective viewers off), but her plans are quickly derailed by not-so-friendly Tempest Shadow, a dark and bitter horse voiced by Emily Blunt (perhaps she needed a change?), and The Storm King (Liev Schreiber), as Equestria is attacked. Of course this means that Twilight and her best friends have to take it upon themselves to save their homeland, and the film nicely concludes with the idea that the friends by your side are always more important in the end.

I wasn’t expecting much if I’m honest, but the film itself is actually really nicely animated, and a lot of care has gone into its creation. To keep little ones engaged there’s some nice switches between traditional animation and a more folky style used when narrating certain parts, which aids the storytelling. I did expect the vast range of colours and glitter but they weren’t quite as in-your-face as ‘Trolls’, where I needed to take a couple of Aspirin just to stop my head imploding. Serial ‘My Little Pony’ watchers will already be familiar with the visual style though, and so those bright colour schemes probably offer a certain familiarity with the characters they have more than likely grown up with.

I do feel that they could have omitted the singing element to the film – although this is fairly standard element of a ‘My Little Pony’ movie, the songs themselves weren’t overly catchy and the story didn’t really need them. This could perhaps have cut the screen-time down slightly as well, as 1 hour 45 minutes can be quite a long time to keep a child focused and still.

Despite a few issues, there’s still a lot of positivity in the film. There’s some seemingly ill-fitting violence towards the end that might not be quite so welcomed by your small child, but overall it’s a watchable film that will keep them entertained long enough for you to get some well-deserved shut-eye (providing you can block out the high-pitched chatter). 

Hannah Read

My Little Pony - The Movie at CeX

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