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Movie Review

Things are pretty good in the land of Equestria. In fact, things have been so galloping good lately that the many varieties of magical ponies and pony princesses in that land have gathered together to throw one great big whinny-worthy friendship festival.

It'll feature rainbow colored fun, lots of lively music, hoof-tapping entertainment and, above all, friendship. In fact, it's going to be such a spectacular event that princess Twilight Sparkle isn't sure she's up to the task of managing it all. I mean, yes, her magical power of friendship is at the core of the celebration. But she's wondering if some of the other more magically potent pony princesses might make things even better.

If Princess Celestia could blend her power over the sun, for instance, with Princess Luna's magical power over the moon, why, just think of the breathtaking light show they could create.

Before the festival kicks off, though, something terrible happens: A brash, bitter unicorn known as Tempest Shadow storms in with her cadre of fearsome beasties in tow. And this broken-horned baddie thinks she has a better idea about how to use the four pony princesses' powers. So she's set on grabbing them all and funneling their abilities into a staff that the dreaded Storm King can use for his dark, cloudy pursuits.

Twilight manages to escape. But now she must come up with a way to rescue the others. Only with the help of her best friends—Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity and Spike—can she hope to somehow save the day.

Positive Elements

That may seem like a lot of characters and possible storylines to keep track of, but this pic's musically infused message quickly becomes focused and clear: Your friends can support you and see you through. Accordingly, we soon witness these pony pals risk everything for one another.

Twilight and her friends see how dangerous the world can be. And they discover firsthand that naively trusting a stranger can lead to a disastrous outcome. But just as often, these trustworthy friends help others see that doing good and being good is still the only way to live your life.

Even Tempest eventually realizes that the hard knocks she took in the past can be forgiven and need not direct her future choices. Some people can be mean and hurtful in life, the film says, but there are also others who will be faithful and true.

Elsewhere, the ponies convince a group of pirate birds to stop living like slaves under the tyranny of the Storm King, encouraging them to be "awesome" and free. One bird sings about feeling the "light stirring deep inside."

Spiritual Content

The My Little Pony world is a fantasy land infused with different types of magic. Different characters sport different magical abilities. Twilight, for instance, can help people move objects with a telekinetic ability. Another character can shift the movement of the sun, and someone else can create a rainbow or sonic boom.

The Storm King schemes to combine those powers into a powerful staff that can change day to night and unleash destructive storms. Tempest, for her part, uses magical, hand grenade-like spheres that transform victims into crystalline statues.

Twilight seeks help from a hippogriff queen who has a magical pearl with the power to transform creatures into something else: from pony to pony-fish, for instance.

Sexual Content

A deceptive cat character named Capper suggests that the ponies have a disease that will cause body parts to fall off. After hearing this, one character reaches for his nether region and runs away.

Violent Content

All of the violent moments here are of the cartoonish variety, though there are a few lightly perilous ones. Tempest freezes characters with her crystalizing magic grenades and zaps others with a fireworks-like ability. Some ponies get pulled underwater, and they struggle for air before being gifted with bubbles around their heads.

Large beasties manhandle some of our heroes and toss them around a bit, though no physical damage is seen. The Storm King uses his magic to create lightning storms, demolish buildings and send characters flying with strong currents of air. [Spoiler Warning] He, however, is magically transformed into crystal and shatters when he falls from a height and hits the ground, the only character that presumably perishes.

Crude or Profane Language

We hear a single exclamation of "what the heck" and a couple of uses of "oh my gosh." Rowdy pirate birds report that they're ready to "kick some booty."

Drug and Alcohol Content

None.

Other Negative Elements

Capper hopes to use the ponies for material gain and lies repeatedly. He also apologizes for the odor from his litterbox when someone steps into his residence. Pirate birds belch and scratch their backsides. At a low point, Twilight tries to steal a magical item, but she gets caught and punished for her poor choice.

Conclusion

I'm no brony—one of the many adult males who have unexpectedly become fans of this franchise. (And our own Bob Waliszewski has written about this unlikely cultural phenomenon here.) But all those adult guys, who admittedly populate fan pages and attend conventions designed for devotees of a cartoon created for little girls, need not worry. I'll not sneer. Nope, not me. After watching My Little Pony: The Movie, I kinda understand.

Really, I do.

Here we have an animated amusement for kids with a cast of top-shelf actors. They take us through an emotional, action-filled journey. And the tale they tell is one of self-sacrifice and friendly devotion that's just deep enough, colorful enough and character-driven enough to ensure that any young girl and her dad (or mom) can happily watch it together while sharing a bucket of buttery popcorn.

In fact, as a guy and dad who watches a whole lot of movies, I can readily say that this pleasurable pony pic is a pretty decent cinematic palette cleanser. Forget most of the other toxic stuff at the box office: My Little Pony: The Movie is a film you can walk out of holding your tyke's hand without feeling depressed, stressed, grumpy or guilty about having seen it.

Just think how rare that is.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Voices of Emily Blunt as Tempest Shadow; Tara Strong as Princess Twilight Sparkle; Kristin Chenoweth as Princess Skystar; Taye Diggs as Capper; Zoe Saldana as Captain Celaeno; Liev Schreiber as The Storm King; Ashleigh Ball as Applejack/Rainbow Dash

Director

Jayson Thiessen ( )

Distributor

Lionsgate

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

October 6, 2017

On Video

January 9, 2018

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
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