Given Pixar’s perfect trilogy of Toy Story, it is a major challenge to see any other toy-based animation raise the roof with audiences, but more discerning children will be out to share in the excitement of whatever is out there in the home entertainment marketplace.
Created as a reboot of the very popular toy collection by Hasbro, My Little Pony: The Movie was conceived as an update and is based partly on a television series, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which to date has run for seven seasons totalling 169 episodes so far. The toys themselves have been in existence since 1981 and remain as commercial as ever, alongside Hasbro’s other key successes like Transformers and G.I. Joe.
I can safely say that anything I comment on here is irrelevant, as this is certainly going to be a critic-proof item that parents will snap up for demanding daughters and will certainly go a long way to helping to restore faith in content based on the toys. There is much appeal for the demographic it is aimed at and the colourful animation will hold the attention of the petite audience.
All is well in the land of Equestria and head of the ‘Marie 6’ Ponies, Princess Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) is overseeing the first-ever Festival of Friendship. However, it isn’t long before bad ‘un Tempest (Emily Blunt) arrives with henchmen - a tortured unicorn with a broken horn who is intent on spoiling the party by acquiring all the magical ponies under orders from the Storm King (Live Schreiber) to harness their power for his supremely powerful staff. Cue an adventure into the great unknown, as Twilight and gang seek out a solution to the evil doings that threaten to destroy their home…
As it stands, this is a pretty bog-standard animation adventure, with a tradition well rooted in classic Disney fare like 101 Dalmations and The Rescuers. Simple morals and messages hold true throughout and for very young girls, it is the perfect viewing experience. The style of animation lends itself to Fantasia with vibrant colours and textures and in its Blu-Ray edition fills the plasma with lots of light and shadow. It’s not going to win any major awards, but as an extension of the very successful TV series, it ticks all the boxes, with another series due for transmission in 2018 according to online reports.
There are some enticing special features, with interviews with the likes of Emily Blunt and Liev Schreiber about the concepts and characterisation and these will add some appeal to curious youngsters eager to take their first steps in learning about the joys of animated filmmaking.
One more for the youngsters and fans than critics.
MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE / CERT: U / DIRECTOR: JAYSON THIESSEN / SCREENPLAY: MEGHAN MCCARTHY, RITA HSIAO, MICHAEL VOGEL / STARRING: UZO ADUBA, ASHLEIGH BALL, ADAM BENGIS, EMILY BRUNT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW