In case you’ve been living under a rock, My Little Pony is back, has been back for some time and, at its re-inception at least, was quite good.
Relaunched as a TV series by cartoon powerhouse Lauren Faust based on some doodles she did of her childhood toys for her deviantart page – this new incarnation focused on the dynamic between six brightly coloured mares of varying temperaments and the mundane and madcap adventures their friendship landed them in. They are: nerdy Twilight Sparkle, salt-of-the-earth Applejack, feisty Rainbow Dash, glamorous Rarity, hyperactive Pinkie Pie and delicate Fluttershy.
To say this reimagining of the brand was a success is an understatement – Hasbro’s plastic pony property managed to not only squirm their saccharine selves back into the hearts of the now adult 80’s kids’ present at their inception, but also garnered an entirely new generation of devoted fans, both female and male [See: Brony].
Relatively early on, creator Lauren Faust parted ways with the show but the revitalised brand proved to have more than enough momentum to carry onwards. However, her absence was subtly felt and solely under the rudder of fiscally-focused parent company Hasbro, the brand has gradually reoriented itself towards a sparklier, pinker, sweeter, and cuter future.
So this brings us the necessary context to understand why we’ve been brought My Little Pony: the Movie; a symptom typical of a brand’s nadir.
So, after years of the sustained success of a TV show and toyline, a movie is born – and unfortunately just as franchise fatigue has started to show. Fans — and this movie is definitely for fans — will notice not much new territory is tread (figuratively speaking – a lot of fictitious ground is actually covered). At this point the thematic dynamics between our six mane heroines has been explored to death and so there are no real surprises when they set out on a journey to save Equestria (home of the ponies) from the Storm King (Liev Schreiber) and his sinister pony henchwoman Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt).
These admittedly loveable characters encounter a fair amount of new friends on their adventure and sing a couple songs along the way which, when coupled with the bright colours, are interesting enough to keep you focused on the screen.
This film is sweet, mostly inoffensive and offers a good enough time for kids – parents should manage well enough but Pixar this ain’t.
Catch My Little Pony: The Movie at your favourite cinema from 6 October!