After a dark force conquers Canterlot, the Mane 6 embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship to save their homeland.
Canterlot is in trouble when the evil Storm King arrives uninvited to the Friendship Festival just in time to turn the princess ponies into statues, except Twilight Sparkle, because she is special. I almost expected canned laughter when the next pony to arrive was a goth-like pony who dropped out of an airship with an attitude and no horn. Angsty teen pony with a sob story working for the bad guy. Don’t worry. The movie is not all bad. There are mer-ponies; imaginative if I say so myself. But we will get back to the mer aspect later. I have some inside notes from the experts (aka my ten and six-year-old daughters) about all the best ponies and the whole MLP world. Back to the plot.
The Storm King desires to rule the world, that is Equestria, the only place a decent pony would live. I watched the 1980s version and do not remember enough detail except that the ponies were rounder and basically the Care Bears with a mane and were a little less hippy. A whole team of ponies need to stop the Storm King and his angsty sidekick from stealing all the magic and taking over the throne. They set off on a journey to find one of the many queens powerful enough to combat the wicked satyr type creature. Tempest, the anger-ridden sidekick, wants her horn back and the more colorful, lovely ponies, aka the good guys, will not stop her quest. The band of mini-horses set off to some type of hippo land, far away from Equestria. Let me tell you, that was a fast journey. I need to learn their travel secrets. They fall prey to a purrfectly evil kitty who drags them aboard a pirate ship where Tempest catches up with them in a raging storm. The ponies drop through a sinkhole and magically into the hippo kingdom, where they find a mer-pony and not a hippo – go figure. Sadly, the non-hippo hippo queen is unwilling to help the woeful ponies but her daughter becomes their new lifelong pal.
This is where the ponies get their chance to rock some fins. Mermaids are awesome, and I have often thought about a mer-guin (mermaid + penguin) but mer-ponies? Epic. Very clever to keep us old Ariel fans paying attention to this otherwise lackluster cartoon. Unfortunately, the ponies get their legs back as the plot thickens. The bright ponies endear themselves to their past backstabbers and the Cat and pirates show up to help the ponies out of a tough spot. I like that the movie fits in a lesson for the kiddies. Being nice to bad guys can occasionally pay off, but I doubt real criminals would come to their victims’ rescue. Still, a nice thought. As expected, the Storm King locates the ponies and steals their magic. Twilight Sparkle, the only tiny princess pony, has her chance to shine and put the rebel in his place with the help of a surprise attacker.
A few notes from my ten-year-old who informed me this movie should only receive three stars. Pinky Pie’s voice was less annoying in the movie than in the show. Also, the plot might scare little girls with its high creepiness level. Despite her less than stellar review, she followed the film like a hawk and smiled when her prized ponies pranced onto the screen. I am thankful she translated the MLP world enough for me to follow the animation. It’s just so magical and sappy! A special singing pony mimicking singer Sia helped with the music, and yes, she was a bit odd-looking, like her counterpart but a great set of lungs. I would not be audience to this cartoon again and found the plot contrived, even for a kids cartoon, but avid MLP fans will watch no matter what, and it will entertain the younger fans with the punny jokes, along with all their fave horsies up to their usual tricks.
Available on Blu-ray & DVD Tuesday, January 9th