My Little Pony: Equestria Girls (G)
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Caution: potential spoilers.
This movie is set between seasons three and four of the TV series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (so the next paragraph of my review will start with a major spoiler for the end of season three). It had a limited theatrical release in June 2013, with a DVD release in August, and it premiered on TV in September (which is when I first saw it). The title is actually a play on a parody song used in a commercial for the series, which I think is kind of neat. As for the movie itself... I guess I enjoyed it about as much as I enjoy most episodes of the show, though I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly as much as I did if I wasn't already in love with the show and its characters. (Though if I wasn't, I can't imagine I would have had any interest in watching the movie, anyway.) I was aware of some fan protest of the movie's existence before it even came out, but I thought that was ridiculous. And having seen the movie now, I feel confident in saying any protest was entirely unjustified. (Of course, others are free to disagree.)
Anyway, at the end of season three, Twilight Sparkle is crowned a princess (and also gets new wings, which all princess ponies have). The movie begins not long after that, when Twilight is still feeling nervous about being a princess, not at all sure that she deserves such an honor and responsibility. She's also having trouble getting used to her wings. But that night, somepony sneaks into her room and steals her crown, escaping through a magic mirror. Princess Celestia informs Twilight that it was Sunset Shimmer, who'd been her apprentice before Twilight. And she says Twilight must travel through the mirror from Equestria into an alternate world about which she knows nothing, and retrieve the crown within three days (or else be stuck there for the next thirty moons). It's important to get the crown back, because it contained Twilight's Element of Harmony, without which the Elements of Harmony belonging to her five friends, Fluttershy, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity, would have no power. Also, there's no telling how much trouble Sunset Shimmer could cause in the other world with the power she obtained from the Element. (It was unclear to me how it would have power in the other world without the other five Elements, but it is the Element of Magic, so maybe that means it doesn't need the other five Elements, even though they need it. Although at the end of the movie, another possibility presents itself, which I won't spoil. But it wasn't exactly a surprise.)
So... Twilight goes through the mirror. Her friends want to go with her, but Celestia says they can't, because it would upset the balance between the worlds. But Spike follows her, anyway. And in the other world, he turns from a dragon into a dog. And Twilight turns from a pony into a human (so, yeah, it's our world, more or less). Of course, neither of them had any idea what humans were, and Twilight was totally freaking out about this transformation, and it took a little while for her to get used to walking on two legs. Not to mention doing just about everything else the way humans do, like eating and holding objects with hands and whatnot. (Incidentally, there's apparently been some concern about the human girls in the movie being too sexy, or something. Which is ridiculous, because there is no guy in the world with a greater propensity than I for finding animated girls sexy... seriously, it disturbs me sometimes, especially with some shows or movies where the people are drawn rather unrealistically; but in this case, I did not feel that way at all about the girls. I mean, they were cute, but not in a significantly less innocent way than the ponies are cute on the show. In spite of the shortness of their skirts.)
Anyway, Twilight enters what she thinks is a castle, to look for the crown; but it turns out to be a high school (Canterlot High). She soon meets a human version of Fluttershy, who had just that morning given a crown she found to Principal Celestia. (It was, of course, the one Sunset had stolen.) It was to be used to crown the princess of the Fall Formal dance, which would be in a few days (the very night Twilight must return to Equestria, of course). So, to get the crown, Twilight would have to convince students to vote for her as princess. This would prove practically impossible, because she knows nothing about fitting in, in this world. And because another girl at school- Sunset Shimmer in human form- is the queen bee (so it seems like "princess" would be a step down, but whatever). And she does everything she can to thwart Twilight's efforts to win the election, with the help of this world's human counterparts to Snips and Snails. Sunset and her stooges' efforts are made much easier by Twilight's complete lack of understanding of how to act human. But she gets help from Fluttershy and all the other human counterparts of her pony friends... whom she must first reunite, after discovering that Sunset had previously tricked them into hating each other. (There is a minor subplot about Twilight having a crush on a boy named Flash Sentry, who happens to be Sunset's ex-boyfriend. Not a lot happens with that in the movie, though he is kind of important to the larger plot. And at the very end, we rather predictably learn that he has a pony counterpart in Equestria, so I'm eager to see if he becomes a regular character in season four.)
Well, obviously the good guys win in the end, though I don't want to spoil any specific details of that. But I will say Twilight's experience in the human world helped her resolve both of the issues she was struggling with at the start of the movie, which I thought was a well-handled plot point. I didn't like the animation quite as much in the human world as in Equestria, but it was alright (and I was relieved not to find the girls sexy). The human versions of Twilight's friends all had the same personalities as the pony versions, so it felt like watching old friends. And for the most part the movie's humor was the same as in the series. And the whole general tone of the story (including the lessons learned in the end by hero and villain alike) felt pretty much the same. So if you're a fan of the show, there is no earthly (or equestrian) reason why you wouldn't like the movie. And I guess that's about all I can say.
Oh, except of course, it would hardly be "My Little Pony" without at least one fun song, and this movie had several. Starting with a cool remix of the series' theme song. Wikipedia also mentions one called "This Strange World," which I'm fairly sure wasn't in the airing I watched on TV, but it must be on the DVD, which I intend to get eventually. (I'm pretty sure there are other things cut from the TV version, too, so I really look forward to watching an uncut version of the movie.) My favorite song in the movie is apparently called "Equestria Girls," even though it is not the original song with that title, the one that inspired the title of the movie. And those words appear nowhere in lyrics, nor does the title have anything to do with the message of the song, except that "hooves" are mentioned in the lyrics, which probably just confused all the kids at school. And people were wearing fake horse tails and ears, for a reason I thought was kind of neat, even if it was totally contrived. Um... it's also possible that's not the name of the song, because elsewhere online I've seen it called "Helping Twilight Win the Crown," which would make a lot more sense. (Either way, I couldn't help thinking of Glee during that well-choreographed number, considering the high school setting.) And... there were a couple other songs that I thought were okay. They can all be seen on YouTube, if you're interested. (I checked out the one I didn't see on TV, and it was decent.)
Followed by My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Rainbow Rocks