At the start of the Friendship Festival in Equestria, Princess Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) is stressed making sure that everything goes off without a hitch. A bit let down after a failed proposal for the party to her three fellow princesses, her pony pals–Applejack (Ashleigh Ball), Rainbow Dash (Ashleigh Ball), Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain), Fluttershy (Andrea Libman), and Pinkie Pie (Andrea Libman)–are already ahead of her by helping in every way they can.
But things go awry, when a broken-horned unicorn named Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt) storms into Equestria, turning the three other Princesses to crystal so that her master, Storm King (Liev Schreiber) can harness their power for himself. Twilight Sparkle and her friends narrowly escape and follow Princess Celestia’s final words, which sends them to the far reaches of Equestria to find someone who can help. But they need to find her fast as Tempest Shadow and her band of baddies are fast on their trail looking to capture the fourth and final princess.
Princess Skystar (Kristin Chenoweth) and Queen Novo (Uzo Aduba) in MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE.
The plot is tight for the most part, although there are times when it feels the ponies are venturing into too many new lands and meeting too many friends, foes and new characters (they had to get their money’s worth with all these celebrity voice actors after all). The hippogriff seaponies were the highlight for me and I would have preferred to spend more time exploring them and their new exciting world.
The film has enough going on for it that you don’t have to be a pre-existing fan of the TV show to enjoy this film. I imagine many parents will be taking children to this, but will be rather surprised that they are enjoying themselves, rather than using the time for a quick cat nap. The Mane 6 ponies are already very established, so the filmmakers know what works and where to highlight each of the ponies for the most effect, even for new viewers. Whether it’s Rainbow Dash being brave fighting a pirate or Pinkie Pie making a new friend, each pony has their time in the sun (well, except Fluttershy, who is terribly under edited compared to the rest).
Rainbow Dash (Ashleigh Ball) and Captain Celaeno (Zoe Saldana) in MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE.
The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series is known for having lots of musical moments, so it’s no wonder that they pulled out all the stops for the film. Nearly all the songs are incredibly catchy and fun. You start off with the classic we’re-your-friends-and-we’re-here-to-help tune “We’ve Got This Together”, sung by the Mane 6. There are lots of new celebrity characters, who also have their own musical numbers, which are equally as good. Taye Diggs’s “I’m The Friend You Need” is a catchy toe-tappin’ tango, as this sneaky cat, Capper, is trying to trick and catch himself some ponies to get himself out of a bind. I personally think there never such a thing as too much Kristin Chenoweth, so Princess Skystar’s “One Small Thing” is happy and super duper fun. The villain song “Open Up Your Eyes” is incredibly strong, helping us see Tempest’s motives and backstory. The big finale “Rainbox” by the pony version of Sia, Songbird Serenade (Sia), is catchy and the perfect wrap to a great film. Overall, the music is a highlight and worth listening to on its own.
Songbird Serenade (Sia) in MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE.
Overall, My Little Pony: The Movie is a lot of fun, but nothing revolutionary. You don’t have to be a diehard fan or brony to go into this movie to enjoy yourself. It has a clean, clear plot, strong characters, fantastic songs, great colorful crisp animation and pony puns galore!