tek's rating: ½

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Friendship Games
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Caution: potential spoilers.

This is the third movie in the "Equestria Girls" franchise, following Rainbow Rocks. It was preceded in August 2015 by some online shorts. The movie is set around the end of season five of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. It had a limited theatrical release in September 2015, and premiered on TV later that month. It was released on DVD in October, both individually and as part of a box set containing the first three Equestria Girls movies. However, I never managed to see it on TV, and I didn't get it on DVD (the box set) until 2017, and didn't get around to watching it until February 2018.

So... the post-credits scene from "Rainbow Rocks" involved the human world's counterpart to Twilight Sparkle investigating the strange phenomena coming from Canterlot High. In this movie, we learn that she's a student at CHS's rival school, Crystal Prep Academy. And she's still trying to figure out what the strange energy is, though apparently she has no idea that it's magic. Meanwhile, Sunset Shimmer is trying to figure out how magic works in this world, since it's definitely different than it is in Equestria. Making things more complicated, her friends start to "pony up" even when they're not playing their instruments. (This seems inexplicably random to Sunset, though personally I thought it was always obvious that it had to do with each of her friends doing things that represented their Equestrian counterparts' specific elements of harmony. Of course, Sunset couldn't really be expected to know about that.) She tries writing to the Equestrian Twilight to ask for help, but receives no reply. Sunset's stress is increased by Vice Principal Luna asking her to figure out how to keep magic from happening during the upcoming Friendship Games between CHS and CPA (which happen once every four years, and this year are being held at CHS).

The human Twilight is much like the Equestrian one was before coming to Ponyville. She has no friends, and she feels like she's learned all she can at CPA. So she's applied to another school called Everton, where she would be able to work on her independent studies full time. The principal of CPA, Abacus Cinch, is worried that the previously always victorious Crystal Prep might actually face a challenge from CHS this time, since the other school's reputation has mysteriously been improving, recently. So she wants to ensure that her best student, Twilight, will participate in the upcoming Friendship Games. To that end, she uses a "carrot and stick" manipulation on Twilight: she'll either ensure her application to Everton is approved, or ensure it is denied. Twilight had been hoping to spend all her time during the Games secretly investigating the phenomena at CHS, but she feels she has no choice but to go along with Cinch's wishes, which will mean she has only limited time for her own investigations. Meanwhile, I should mention that CPA's dean is the human counterpart of Princess Cadance, and she's very nice, unlike the principal. (I kept wondering if Cinch was meant to be a counterpart of some villain I couldn't remember from the TV series, but I guess she wasn't.) Also I should mention that the human Twilight has a dog named Spike, who of course looks just like the dog that the dragon Spike transformed into when he previously came to this world. Except he can't talk. Anyway, once Twilight gets to CHS with her school's team, she's surprised to find that everyone there knows her name... mistaking her for the Twilight from Equestria. (It doesn't take too long for Pinkie to figure out who she really is. But I really wished someone would have told Flash.)

Well... Twilight has a device she created to lead her to the magic (or mysterious energy) whenever it flared up. But the device ends up draining magic from the Canterlot girls. This doesn't really hurt them, aside from being briefly fatigued. Still, it becomes increasingly worrisome, especially since Twilight herself has no idea what's going on, or how to stop it. The girls from CHS try to befriend her, and eventually realize she doesn't mean any harm. But Principal Cinch eventually realizes that Twilight's device has been absorbing magic, and wants her to use it to give an advantage to Crystal Prep in the Games. This turns out to be a very bad idea, of course. But of course there's ultimately a happy ending. And I guess I don't want to spoil any more details.

So, I'll just say it's an interesting story. And there are good songs. And we get to know a few of the other Crystal Prep students a little bit. (My favorite is Sugarcoat.) Also I want to say the deleted scene animatics on the DVD are definitely worth watching. Some of them wouldn't have worked in the finished film, and I'm glad they weren't included, but I'm also glad I got to see them. At least one other one I think would have worked in the film as it is, and I'm a bit sorry it wasn't used, but I'm still happy I got to see it in the bonus features. And I guess I don't know what else to say.


animation index
musicals

My Little Pony
Friendship Is Magic * The Movie

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls
online shorts * Equestria Girls * Rainbow Rocks * Friendship Games * Legend of Everfree *
Magical Movie Night * Summertime Shorts * Better Together * Forgotten Friendship