" it has a strong message of friendship and whilst this is heavy handed at times, there is no denying that it's a good message to get across"
It’s safe to say that I do not fall in to the target demographic for My Little Pony: The Movie, I have fond memories from watching the beloved animated series from the 80’s, and whilst this is not an adaptation of the beloved classic of yesteryear, it derives from the ever popular modern animated series.
Directed by Jayson Thiessen, My Little Pony: The Movie is the first film from the newly formed Hasbro arm; All Spark Pictures and is the classic story between good verses evil told from the perspective of the 'Mane 6' ponies of Equestria; Princess Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong), Rainbow Dash, Applejack (Ashleigh Ball), Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy (Andrea Libman) and Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain) and their Assistant Spike the Dragon (Cathy Weseluck) as they prepare for their first Friendship Festival. All seems to be going well until the festivities are interrupted by an invasion lead by Tempest (Emily Blunt), a broken-horned unicorn with a tragic past.
When the elder Princesses are left petrified by Tempest using magical obsidian orbs, the 'Mane 6' embark on their quest to seek help to restore Equestria before the menacing Storm King (Liev Schreiber) gets their magic and brings about an unending perfect storm.
Along the way, the 'Mane 6' meet some delightful and colourful characters including feline con artist Capper (Taye Diggs), Captain Celaeno (Zoe Saldana), Queen Novo (Uzo Aduba) and Princess Skystar (Kristin Chenoweth) all with their distinct looks and back stories.
Right from the outset of My Little Pony: The Movie, the animation is gorgeous; this is definitely one for fans of the revived cartoon series that has risen in popularity since it debuted back in 2010, a definite strength is the inclusion of the talented voice cast, lead by Strong from the series as those familiar with the revived series have a connection to the 'Mane 6' and with all that history from the series allows fans to engage, and new fans to want to explore what came before, as this is not a reboot or an origin story, it's a continuation, and I can see certain characters like Chenoweth's Princess Skystar appearing on the series, as that isn't ending any time soon.
As I said, it is the classic story of good verses evil, but there is more to it, the message of friendship is ever present and whilst it does feel that you are hit over the head with this message, there is no denying that it is a good message for young children.
The inclusion of Sia as Songbird Serenade adds another, musical dimension to the magic, there are musical numbers peppered throughout the film that felt organic to the story, with some stand out performances from Rebecca Shoichet who provides Twilight Sparkle's singing voice, Kazumi Evans who provides Rarity's singing voice with Blunt and Saldana doing their own singing as Tempest and Captain Celaeno respectively, their addition to the superb vocal talants on show is nothing short of brilliant.
As someone who wasn't all that familiar with the revival, My Little Pony: The Movie is a fun filed, colourful, family friendly outing that has enough to offer everyone; it has a strong message of friendship and whilst this is heavy handed at times, there is no denying that it's a good message to get across.