OK, Spike, take a letter!

Dear Princess Celestia,

Today I learned an important lesson. Never be too quick to judge something by its external appearances.

My Little Pony: The Movie (MLP) is set to be a hit cinematic experience for fans and non-fans alike.

The film is based on the fourth generation Hasbro TV series My Little Pony, envisioned initially for young girls. It has, however, gained a niche following of adult fans over the years thanks to its ability to tackle both young and grown-up-related subjects.

The film takes the established visually-appealing series a notch higher.

It features endearing heart-warming characters possessing a consistent combination of unique and beloved personality traits rarely seen in such permutations.

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Swashbuckling face-off … time to kick some flank.

As I understand it, Princess Celestia, your former student Princess Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong), together with her five best friends – Rainbow Dash, Applejack (both Ashleigh Ball), Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy (both Andrea Libman) and Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain), officially fan-dubbed the “Mane Six” – as well as her trusty assistant Spike the Dragon (Cathy Weseluck), are in the midst of organising the Friendship Festival in Canterlot (yes, that’s a horse pun on Camelot), the capital of their home of Equestria.

I hear, their preparations are interrupted by the invasion of the ruthless broken-horned unicorn commander Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt) and her army of storm-creatures under the tyrannical rule of The Storm King (Liev Schreiber), desiring dominance and the powerful magic of the four Alicorn princesses.

And what follows is a rip-roaring ride as the Mane Six and Spike, flee beyond the comforts of their home to find a way to fend off the invasion, meeting an assortment of unique characters in the process. All this, while being pursued by a relentless and motivated Tempest.

This animated musical fantasy has the vibes of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Atlantis: The Lost Empire, mixed with the epic-scale adventure of The Land Before Time, Pirates Of The Caribbean and The Hobbit. With The Lego Movie and The Angry Birds Movie thrown in for good measure.

Indeed, this is a fun, exhilarating, fast-paced, action-adventure-packed film that wastes no time hitting you with everything in its arsenal to get you pumped.

Creatively upping the themes of intense danger and mortal peril, it strategically intersperses hilarious humour, adorable antics and head-bobbing foot-tapping musical numbers with sad and touching moments. Some of the really-mature-for-a-little-girl’s-show themes featured here are stranger-danger, enslavement, hunger for and abuse of power, deception for selfish gains, self-control against taking advantage of others, and self-sacrifice.

With all its pluses, there remains the (almost unnoticeable) downsides. The nameless villain only known by the title “The Storm King” is a mono-dimensional (and at times comical) baddie, lacking depth, purpose and impact on the audience. Stunning visuals and strong themes aside, the film’s plot seems quite ordinary. But the ending is a blast, though its scale could have been slightly grander.

This is not a film for the very young to watch on their own (yes, there’s a reason for the PG rating). Clearly, the creators were going for diversity beyond the traditional audience boundaries (while brilliantly maintaining the original elements of youth and femininity) and dispelling forever the stereotypical notion that little kids’ cartoons are childish and inappropriate for adult viewing.

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‘Hiya I’m Sia Foal-er, and these are my two hitstallions-turned-bodyguards.’

Hard to believe it’s come such a long way, Your Highness.

The “original” messages of teamwork, trust, redemption, self-acceptance and the magic of friendship, shine nicely.

If you’re a fan of the TV series – whatever generation you belong to – you will have fun being completely blown away by the visuals, action, emotions, voices, characters, “background pony” and past character callbacks, and references to the current and past MLP generations.

In all, this is a film meant for the whole family to enjoy together, or for an adult watching alone, for both fans and newcomers. A film of epic pony proportions, one might say.

Your faithful subject,

Edmund Evanson


My Little Pony: The Movie

Director: Jayson Thiessen

Voice cast: Tara Strong, Ashleigh Ball, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, Cathy Weseluck, Emily Blunt, Taye Diggs, Kristin Chenoweth, Zoe Saldana, Michael Peña, Liev Schreiber, Uzo Aduba, Sia Furler