Review: 'My Little Pony: The Movie', For Kid And Brony Alike

My earliest memories of My Little Pony are of girls in elementary school playing with equine toys during lunch breaks and recess. Nowadays, the ubiquitous Hasbro toy line's audience looks more like me, thanks to the "bronies" who count themselves as huge fans since the 2010 relaunch. While I don't count myself as a fan by any stretch (the folks at the screening probably thought I was a brony), it's impossible to ignore the phenomenon that has led to My Little Pony: The Movie, a full 31-years after their first film galloped into theaters.

My Little Pony: The Movie is based on the wildly popular rebooted TV series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which combines a bit of contemporary splash to nostalgic 2D animation. The movie doesn't dare mess with the formula: flat, hand-drawn animated ponies, with the occasional unicorn, who all look as if they just got dumped out of a Crayola box or fell into a vat of molten Starbursts. In short, it's blindingly colorful to look at. It's easy to see why kids would love it, although I remain unsure as to why adults have fallen head over hoof.

The attraction here is the celebrity voice cast, which includes Emily Blunt as the "evil" Tempest Shadow, a bitter unicorn with a broken horn who turns her powers against the ponies in service of the Storm King, voiced by Liev Schreiber. The Storm King wants to steal the ponies powers and use them to rule the universe. This isn't anything complicated.  The attack goes down just as the cheery (they're ALL a little too peppy) but frazzled Princess Twilight (Tara Strong) is preparing to throw the biggest pony rager in the history of Equestria. The festival is so huge it'll be headlined by Songbird Serenade, a popstar pegasus voiced by and modeled after Sia, sharing her rather unique look.

Twilight manages to escape along with a few of her friends like the cowgirl-themed Applejack, the impetuous Rainbow Dash, and harmonious Rarity, in order to seek out help from the Queen of the Hippogriffs (Uzo Aduba). Along the way they'll run into some new characters, such as the shady feline Capper (Taye Diggs) and pirate parrot Captain Celaeno (Zoe Saldana), while singing tons of songs underscoring the series' themes of friendship and loyalty. It's during those songs when the film starts to become a drag because other than the opening number, "We Got This Together", they don't differentiate that much.

This being My Little Pony, your idea of the stakes may vary. While those who adore the series may shake in their saddle when the ponies squabble and fight, others will find this to be incredibly low stakes. Then again, you probably aren't going to see My Little Pony: The Movie unless you're already among the converted, and that's who it aims to please.

Rating: 3 out of 5