My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) – Movie Review

Well the ‘Dad Life’ caught up to me and I took a day off work to take my wife and daughter to see My Little Pony: The Movie today.  My daughter has been getting into the world of My Little Pony for a while and my wife was a fan of the OG Ponies when she was a kid so when the trailers dropped for this movie, I knew going to see it was in my future. The only real question was – how bad would it be?  The answer: Not bad at all and even mostly enjoyable. Let’s get into it!

My Little Pony: The Movie follows all of the “Mane 6” – Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Princess Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, and Rarity – along with Spike the Dragon, as they embark on a journey to another kingdom to get help in an attempt to free Equestria after it is overrun by the army of the Storm King, lead by Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt) – a pony who left Equestria long ago and is working with the Storm King on the promise that he will fix her broken unicorn horn.

Once it’s all said and done, the plot of this movie is a bit more predictable and paint-by-numbers than I would have liked but I also know that this is a movie for kids, not for hobbyist movie reviewers.  After the movie get’s rolling, it’s not hard to guess what happens next or to figure out where the movie is going to end up but despite the ending not really being a surprise, the movie has a lot of fun getting there.  I was surprised at how many times I laughed during the movie. Most of the time, I find children’s programming relies too heavily on played out and predictable, over-the-top jokes but that’s not the case here and honestly, most of those laughs come from Pinkie Pie.  Most of this film’s character development revolves around Princess Twilight Sparkle trying to figure out how to bear the burden of being the Princess of Friendship and Tempest Shadow dealing with being an outcast of sorts and that’s all well and good but I have to say, Pinkie Pie kind of steals this movie most of the time.

As I said, most of the character development in this movie revolves around Princess Twilight Sparkle but Tempest Shadow also has a pretty solid character arc and it’s not so dark that it might be too much for kiddos. In fact, without spoiling anything, I think the lesson ingrained in Tempest’s character arc is a good one for kids to see played out.  The movie also does a great job of being really subtle about that lesson – the lesson is there, but the movie doesn’t beat you over the head with it.  Same with lesson ingrained into Princess Twilight Sparkle’s arc, it’s there enough to notice it, but not so much as to come off as preachy.

Aside from Tempest Shadow, there’s another new pony in this movie – Songbird Serenade – voiced and modeled after pop star Sia. This character’s inclusion felt a little forced to me.  At the beginning of the movie, Twilight is in charge of setting up a big party revolving around a concert by Songbird Serenade but when it’s all said and done, it doesn’t feel like it all amounts to much.  It kind of feels like a copy of the Gazelle character from Zootopia, where they crammed in a pop music star to give the movie a theme song and give the parents something to latch on to.

A few notes for parents: The movie’s run time concerned me a little bit going in.  It’s listed at 99 minutes but there’s also an animated short that runs before the feature film that lasts for 5-6 minutes and my theater also had about 12-14 minutes of trailers in front of the movie. All told it was about a 2 hour affair so depending on the age of your kids, you might want to take that into consideration. There are also a few scenes in the movie that might be considered a bit violent or a bit much depending on your kid’s age and/or maturity level.  My daughter is 4 and she seemed worried and maybe even a bit sad in a few parts, so something else to consider going into this movie.  I’ve only watched a couple episodes of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic show so I don’t really have a basis of comparison between the show and the movie, but being a movie, I imagine everything is ticked up just a notch from the show.

All in all, this was a fun time at the movies for me. My kid enjoyed the movie (and actually paid attention the whole time) and I was more entertained than I thought I was going to be.  It probably won’t win any awards but My Little Pony: The Movie is a worth a watch.

Final Rating: For Kids B+, For Parents B-

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