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My Little Pony: A New Generation – Movie Review

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My Little Pony: A New Generation – Movie Review

Rating: B- (Okay)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Netflix

The My Little Pony toys and cartoons feel like products that would be largely stuck in the ‘80s and mainly enjoyed by those nostalgic for the property. So, it was quite remarkable how those equestrian figures suddenly became enormously popular in the 2010s. There’s obviously enough interest to continue with new ponies (and merchandise) and My Little Pony: A New Generation does an okay job of bringing forth the next version. It will obviously appeal to the hardcore fans, first and foremost, but the result is a passable viewing experience for everyone else with nice themes and an inviting visual look.

Setting it many years after the Friendship is Magic era is a clever idea, allowing the filmmakers to add modern technology to the world and this is done to solid effect as does the other changes. The notion of the different pony breeds developing a prejudice against one another leads to an intriguing political commentary, especially the way propaganda and fear-mongering is used. With misinformation rampant online, this is a very worthwhile message to send to children. One subplot involving a red pony forming an angry mob brings to mind quite a few recent events, including a certain riot in January.

Directors Robert Cullen and Jose Ucha and their team at Boulder Media give the film an appropriately bubbly appearance with the expected rainbow colours. The animation is stunning, reaching the quality one expects from the Pixars and DreamWorks of the industry. The animators give the ponies a lot of expression and charm. These also help with the humour, which proves to be clever and smile-inducing. James Marsden gets the funniest lines as a sheriff who joins the main ponies on the adventure. The leads have plenty of personality and are able to develop into entertaining characters. A New Generation is a musical and the songs are pleasant to listen to, with the filmmakers giving the sequences the needed energy.

The movie’s pacing could have been better, as it races from one plot point to the next. The middle section turns on the sugar rush pacing as it tries to juggle the various storylines and character arcs and we get introduced to new ponies. At a certain point, the cotton candy sweetness of My Little Pony also starts to become a bit too much to take. It’s a credit to how likeable the lead characters are that the movie is able to remain tolerable through its runtime. The film definitely exists to set up a new series and possible movie franchise, which should please fans still on board this train.

My Little Pony: A New Generation does exactly what it sets out to do, which is to introduce viewers to, well, a new generation. When Hasbro gave Lauren Faust the keys to the ponies, she set out to not make a commercial just meant to get children to beg their parents to buy toys. Faust and her successors deserve credit for accomplishing that goal. Your mileage may vary on the overall quality, but there is clearly a lot of thought and care put into making sure children will get good messages with characters they can identify with. A New Generation ultimately becomes a harmless little escapade for youngsters.

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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