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|My Little Pony: The Movie|
dir Jayson Thiessen
scr Meghan McCarthy, Rita Hsiao, Michael Vogel
prd Haven Alexander, Stephen Davis, Brian Goldner, Marcia Gwendolyn Jones
voices Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Zoe Saldana, Uzo Aduba, Tara Strong, Ashleigh Ball, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St Germain, Taye Diggs, Liev Schreiber, Michael Pena, Cathy Weseluck, Sia
release US 6.Oct.17, UK 20.Oct.17
17/US Lionsgate 1h39
My little pretties: The Storm King captures Twilight and Tempest
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
A relentlessly cute explosion of glitter that demands hugs from the audience, this movie is perhaps not designed for cynical viewers looking for things like character or logic. But the variety of figures in this story are endearing, combined with warmly generic themes. And there are some deranged comical touches here and there. But it's outrageously shiny and pink, and full of squeaky voices that only the very young will be able to hear.
In the horsy paradise Equestria, hyperactive princess Twilight (Strong) is planning an epic party that's interrupted by evil ex-princess Tempest (Blunt), who has a broken unicorn horn and works for the villainous Storm King (Schreiber). So Twilight gathers her pony pals Applejack, Pinkie, Fluttershy, Rainbow and Rarity (Ball, Libman and St Germain) and heads off across the gloomy outlands to get help from Queen Novo (Aduba). Along the way, they get some assistance from con-artist cat Capper (Diggs), pirate parrot Celaeno (Saldana) and hippogriff princess Skystar (Chenoweth).
There's never any doubt about this movie's purpose: to sell toys. So the animation remains resolutely simplistic, a flurry of smooth lines and garish colours. There is more inventive artistry in some flashbacks, and both the musical numbers and the action sequences have a surprising kick. There are also quite a few offbeat touches, with grown-up references to sexuality that will go over the kiddies' heads but won't be missed by the hordes of adults who love these characters.
The voice work is solid, with a surprising A-list cast adding some audible weight to TV series' four chirpy vocalists (Strong, Ball, Libman and St Germain). And Blunt, Chenoweth and Diggs get to shine in their songs as well. But perhaps the most interesting angle here is that the male roles are all side ones, including Pena's cake-obsessed skunk henchman and Weseluck's cheeky dragon, a mostly silent member of the ponies' posse.
It may be painfully simplistic, but it's rare to see such an emphasis on understanding, as Twilight sets out to help her enemy Tempest rather than just dispatch her like most movie baddies. Although no one tries to understand the Trump-esque Storm King, who at one time screams what we're thinking: "I'm so totally over this cute pony thing!" But these adorable fillies are more likely to reduce hulking goons to tears than cause any physical harm. They'll also cost parents a fortune in tie-in toys.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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