When Equestria Girls was first announced, it caused a great uproar in the Brony community. The main reason is that the characters, the adorable ponies, would be appearing as humans. This concept has been toyed around with and joked about in the past with fans. (Just Google a character’s name and you’ll find some fanart of them as a human.) But no one truly believed Hasbro would actually do something like this, using high school as the setting. The most surprising thing however was that it would be getting a theatrical release. This was exciting, but people were annoyed that we weren’t getting a My Little Pony movie on the big screen. The complaints slightly died down when the recent trailer came, and it appears to be leaving its infamous reputation. It came out yesterday at the Los Angeles Film Festival, but officially launched nationwide today. I went in intrigued by the concept. I despise high school settings, but I had faith in the team. They did, after all, make three seasons of Friendship is Magic, one of the greatest cartoons ever. So, do we have a thing made to sell little dolls of the human characters, or something of the quality we’ve come to expect from the show? It’s a highly entertaining hour and twelve minutes fans will enjoy.
The story itself actually quite works. When this thing was first unveiled, the question was how would the plot work? Same thing but in high school? Later we found out that Twilight actually goes into a mirror dimension where everypony are humans. Here’s what it is: Twilight’s crown is stolen by a thief called Sunset Shimmer, a former student of Princess Celestia. Twilight manages to chase her, but ultimately the crown falls into a portal within a mirror. Sunset too goes in. Realizing what needs to be done, and after hearing exactly what this mirror is, Twilight follows the thief into an alternate world. Now she has to somehow get her crown back. How? By becoming Princess of the Fall Formal of course. The story generally speaking is good and the perfect excuse to have Twilight as a human. The opening in Equestria was great and truly something to see on the big screen. Then the title intro with a remixed version of the show’s theme song was just awesome. Now, this is post coronation. Here we have Twilight fresh off of becoming princess and getting a pair of wings. Her attempting to get used to her wings was funny, such as when they interfere with her sleeping process. One of the most exciting scenes happens right after, when a cloaked pony comes and replaces Twilight’s crown with a fake. The chase and mini battle between this thief, aka Sunset Shimmer, and Twilight was fun to watch. It’s when Sunset goes into the mirror that things really become interesting.
Twilight gets dropped in front of ‘Canterlot High,’ or as she thinks, a castle. It’s important to mention that Spike, despite what Celestia said about others following, went into the portal too. That reminds me, I was very happy to see an explanation of why her friends couldn’t come. Now back in humanville. The designs when first unveiled received flak, but ultimately you get used to them. The humor with Twilight not understanding what a human is was priceless, such as when she runs on hands and boots. Then she expects the school door to open by banging her head against it. Character portrayals are not lost, they transition well. Spike, despite being a dog, retains his ‘voice of reason’ when Twilights gets all crazy. Now, let’s get on to the main event, Twilight first entering Canterlot High.
One of the main things I like about this movie is its portrayal of high school. Twilight being alone while in a crowd mirrors what it’s like to be a new student in a high school. It doesn’t end there, one of my favorite scenes is when human Fluttershy shows Twilight the cafeteria and everyone’s respective friends. Twilight asks why they’re all separated. It’s true, since in high school mostly everyone has their little groups, whether it be the sports people, the fashionistas, or the ultra smart ones. Twilight is perplexed since in Ponyville everyone is friendly with each other. It’s a solid analogy of a fanatical world where everyone is nice (Equestria) as opposed to a world with a lot of people disconnected and not friendly to one another. (Our world.) Other subjects are lightly touched upon, one of them being personal sabotage when Sunset makes a video of pictures she has of Twilight not doing very humanly things such as not knowing how to pick up a library book with her hands. I like how the story exemplifies the term ‘high school.’ Now, let’s get on with the fun stuff.
Twilight’s human friends barely had any lines in the trailer, so it would be interesting to see just how big of a role they got. Suffice to say, they’re still the same lovable ponies, just in human form. Fluttershy for example is always there at the school grounds handing out fliers for people to volunteer at an animal shelter. It’s sweet, but sad when no one comes to her. I just wanted to jump in the screen and help out. Pinkie Pie is the head of arranging the Fall Formal, and is as friendly as always. Applejack retains her strong inner personality, and Rainbow Dash with her love of being awesome. Let’s not forget Rarity, she retains her generosity for others, such as when she gives Twilight a disguise so she would be unrecognizable since all the students saw the rather off-putting video of her thanks to Sunset.
The antagonist is as you know a unicorn named Sunset Shimmer. With a great name and design, I was looking forward to seeing what she would bring to the table. She also has a very interesting backstory, first heard about on her toy. I was hoping it would be carried over into the movie, and it is. She was a former student of Celestia, but ultimately went down her own path. I love backstories like this, we need more stuff like that in the show. Sunset as a human loses her pizazz, since she’s basically the definition of an arrogant, stuck-up snob that everyone either loves or dislikes. But she’s definitely a solid addition to the cast of characters, a memorable antagonist despite her ending.
Now let’s be frank here, one of the major fears of the movie turned out to be true, a romance subplot between Twilight and a guy. This guy goes by the name of Flash Sentry. The sad part is that the whole romance aspect of the movie could have been cut out. I was sitting there watching and thinking, “You know, they really could have done away with it and there would have been no difference to the story.” It’s true, it would have made zero difference. It’s nothing special, it’s pretty much just what you’d expect. Generic crush which leads into Flash asking Twilight to dance with him at the Fall Formal. The subject of romance and crushes is barely in the show, and Twilight has never been shown to care for that. So to see her blushing over a guy was a little strange. It didn’t hinder the movie too much, and Flash is not that bad of a character. Though, despite the ending, Meghan McCarthy confirmed that Flash would not be appearing in Season 4. So in the end there wasn’t much point to this aspect of the film.
Allusions to our current culture are there. I found myself laughing when the human versions of the Cutie Mark Crusaders were wondering how many hits their music video has gotten while looking at the computer screen. You can tell it’s YouTube, which was funny. I also like how they’re dismayed by the comments on the video, such as ‘epic fail’ and ‘funniest thing I’ve ever seen,’ since those type of comments are all over YouTube. One of the coolest aspects of the film is seeing all the various cameos of the human versions of the ponies back in Equestria. From Photo Finish to Granny Smith, it’s a blast to be able to see them and I’m sure the animators had fun implementing them. Trixie even gets a little scene to herself, it’s one of the funniest. (Also cause Twilight doesn’t understand what a vending machine is.) As for the climax, it’s good stuff. Sunset Shimmer’s demonic form was unexpected and is reminiscent of Queen Chrysalis’ transformation. (Not sure if that was intentional or not.) Let’s not forget the songs. It has the right amount, and are used to move the story along nicely. The music is just fantastic, I’m looking forward to re-hearing all of it.
Overall, Equestria Girls is a highly entertaining movie. Sure, the romance was forced and some may be disappointed with Sunset’s outcome, but in the end the positives outweigh the negatives. The story is good and the characters were great to see, especially on the big screen. It’s funny, cute, and reminds everyone that friendship IS magic. It’s a pretty good thing to check out in the meantime while waiting for Season 4 I’d say. And be sure to stay during the credits for…muffins.
Daniel is a huge fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. His favorite is Fluttershy and you can follow him on Twitter: @Destroyer_199