Friday, October 6, 2017

My Review of MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE: Friendship First

October 6, 2017

I only have a vague idea of what "My Little Pony" was all about. None of my kids ever had a "My Little Pony" phase in their toddlerhood. My son says this show was only for little girls, but my daughter never got into them as well. After the "Smurfs" (MY REVIEW) and the "Trolls" (MY REVIEW) had been recently rebooted for this generation of kiddies, this time it is the turn of those cute colorful ponies of Equestria to strut their stuff on the big screen. 

Princess Twilight Sparkle is busy organizing her first Friendship Festival with her friends in Canterlot. Suddenly their activities were attacked by Tempest Shadow, a bitter unicorn with a broken horn. Twilight's fellow princesses (Luna, Celestia and Cadance) were all petrified and abducted. Meanwhile, Twilight and pony posse Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Applejack, Fluttershy, as well as her pet dragon Spike, were all able to escape. 

It turns out that Tempest had been conscripted by the Storm King (in exchange for his repairing her broken horn) to kidnap all of Equestria's princesses because he needed to use their collective magic, so she needed to capture Twilight to complete the set. On the other hand, Twilight needed to figure out how to avoid capture, as well as how to prevent the impending major disaster to her realm if the Storm King were to achieve his evil plans. 

I really had no idea what "My Little Pony" stories were about since I had never seen any of their shows on TV ever. I was expecting to totally be bored by its relentlessly juvenile sweetness. At first, it took some time for me to know which pony was which. I sort of figured out that if an elegant-looking pony had a horn on its forehead, it was a sign of royal lineage. The initial scenes about the festival preparations were cornily saccharine, but once Tempest and company showed up, things got more interesting. 

I did not expect bad things to be happening as I thought this was going to be a completely positive film without any antagonist. Aside from scary events like petrification and kidnapping, there were also scenes of lying, betrayal, stealing, quarreling, angry outbursts among the ponies themselves! Princess Twilight is the princess of friendship, yet she inexplicably does the most unfriend-like actions. This was actually rated PG in the US (yet rated G here).

The original voice actors from the TV series, Tara Strong (as Princess Twilight), Ashleigh Ball (as Rainbow Dash and Applejack), Andrea Libman (as Pinky Pie and Fluttershy), and Tabitha St. Germain (as Rarity), still voiced the "Mane 6" ponies. Guesting vocals include those of  Emily Blunt (as Tempest),  Liev Schreiber (as the Storm King), Taye Diggs (as the street-smart cat Capper), Zoe Saldana (as parrot pirate captain Celaeno), Kristin Chenoweth (as hippogriff princess Skystar),and Sia (as the pegasus singing superstar Songbird Serenade).

The artwork is proudly 2D traditional animation (which I later found out was by Filipino animators of Top Draw Animations), beautifully drawn and executed whether the scenes be set on land, sea or air. The quality of the animation is first-rate, not what you'd see on TV or straight-to-video features. The songs generally had melodious catchy tunes kids will like (I liked the songs too, by the way). 

Overall, this film was a pleasantly delightful surprise.  I was very surprised with how complexly the story developed. This was definitely not the shallow confection geared only for little toddler girls I thought I would be watching. Could it be that I'm becoming a "brony" (a fan outside the Ponies' target demographic of little girls)? 7/10. 


  1. I love cartoons so much. I always look forward for anything that is cartoony. Will surely watch this since you have a positive review abiut it. Thanks.

  2. I've never seen one episode of the original TV Series, but I love those ponies. First came to know of it when I saw the soft toys with my neice... I'll see if I can catch this movie...