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Found 5 results

  1. Notes: A few points to go through: The entire review will contain very heavy spoilers for the movie. As such, it's contained under a spoiler tag. If you haven't seen it and don't want to be spoiled, don't click and leave. There won't be any comparisons or contrasts with the TV series, judgment of whether the movie does something better or worse than the TV series, or whether continuity's reinforced or contradicted. No judgment of existing show characters as IC, OOC, and/or flanderized. The movie is being judged as a movie, not a continuation of the series. So if you're expecting me to praise or criticize the film for sticking true to or contradicting continuity, click back now.
  2. Never really got spoilers really. Like, merely the way its told can drastically affect the way you interpret a scene. Like yeah, you can tell me Snape kills Dumbledore, (Oh come now, that's been around for ages! Don't think that was really all that important in the story anyhow. Now if I told you that literally just about everyone died...) but why, how, where, to what ends and the dramatic importance on the story can only be personally experienced. I could sit you down and tell you the entire story of a movie in summary, but it still wouldn't be your journey! A spoil does nothing but encourage you to see how events turn out! Besides... for the most part I can tend to see things coming before they happen in most movies. There's only so many storytelling conventions after all. Well... for the most part~ The Brony... I mean Pony Movie was & is a big thing for me. Granted, its not the big life changer I had gone in expecting, but it was all the same! I was squealing like any of the kiddos and never before had I felt so free with emotion enough to so genuinely enjoy myself in public. It's a happy movie! Weell... okay, the "experience" is anyway. I think that's why the movie gets such a bad rep with critics like the Tomatoes of Rotting or whathaveyou. From a technical standpoint, the MLP movie is notably lacking. If you go into this movie with a checklist of expectations, of needing things you expect every respectable movie to have, then you'll be grumpy coming out. You go in just to have a fun time, knowing its "just another kids' movie", perhaps escorting your own little humanspawn of your own, then your expectations shall be overflowing! There's a lot of movies that vie for the coveted spot of "A Faaimly Peecture" where both young & old can get different things from it. Like, say, a few times where a goon was assaulted and said goon's hands reflexively went south to the damaged area and my knowledge of anatomy would alert me that there was really only one place that hook just went. I suppose I'm more of a reaction sort of fellow, rather than an opinion piece. I suppose the best place to start is the beginning! ...Of the short before the intro before the actual movie... Yeeesh...Can't even remember the name but that was some J-Pop sparkly nonsense! All a bunch of colors and overly expressive expressions and razzle-dazzle animation... golly, that was probably what everybeing against bronies that can't get past the eighties-version of the show probably see MLP as! Though, I will grant it that its not only the first showing of a Tentacle-Dragon, but a truly respectable portrayal of what can only be described as big, goopy, monstery cuteness! While I could practically hear every brain in the audience immediately forgetting the little starchild, her pet color-beings and the... "Little Dreamer" I could hear every body in that place reacting to Ol' drooly face tentacles exactly as you knew the writer wanted them to! I know not who is responsible, but you made a bus-sized Tentacle-Dragon immediately relatable! I salute you writer! That opening title drop, man... that really leads me along. That building awe of "Omigosh, what's going ooon?!!?" Most would call this franchise sparkly, but it gets pretty easy to ignore all the colors & pastels once you get used to it. That, was well done though! That opening preparing-the-party scene: That's probably where I accepted my, shall we say, my Theatrical Alignment, with Rarity. Why, YES rainbow~ Just sloppily drape the delicate bows just aaaall over the stage... We need Presentation & Percision, darling! Have to say though, that opening song of "We Got the Beat" as sung by ponies was rather trite. Cute, but was kind of wholesale stealing that from original meaning. Another thing that we rightfully didn't exactly need in the movie. The short joke of Applejack trying to fill a mug of apple cider faster than RD can swoop it up was amazing! Kind of want to see what would happen if I could just blur-fill-in enough mugs to the point where Dash tanks too much and faceplants the paved plaza! Glad to see the mare finally gets her fill of her favored cider! Some might say that the turning point was Pinkie's supposed ruining of the party by attempting a Three-Tier Cake Cannon. I find myself asking the question of why any other being would not want to be instantaneously encased in goopy cake! And... well, let me tell you now. I'm a character driven fellow. Most of this will be regarding characters. And... well, let's face that some among you are waiting for a point to get angry at me about, so I might as well deliver a point of contention to thee promptly! Sia is garbage. Yeah, I'm not saying she's worthless or anything... She's just icing on the cake. A cake most would say is already too sweet... I don't know this Sia sort. I'm sure she's more than earned the right to be called a great singer, but she gives nothing to this movie. She shows up the first time, practically grunts, then leaves. Second time, she's singing in a cage for a few seconds before the scene changes. Third and final is her big number that we've been hyping up... and her song is pretty much unintelligible to me. I'm sure it fits, they wouldn't have paid her otherwise, but its just random noise behind mumbling for me. Sia could have been removed entirely from the movie & not affected anything. I'm not even sure I'm spelling her name right. The whole movie she's hyped up like half the reason anybeing is watching this movie is to see an animated version of this Sia and not the ponies or the actual story. Maybe a few songs I've heard from Sia without knowing about it, but as to Songbird Serenade... I... I just really cannot even care. This whole shindig is for Sia's sake. I mean, sure, I can understand Twilight doing her usual over-fretting about it but, really? YOu think its a good idea, Twi to have Celestia & Luna divert the very celestial bodies, and Cadence to do some crystal lightshow (because she's apparently a crystal-mancer now?) just to make an already showy show even showier? Oh... and... just one teensy little issue... Isn't getting the Four Leaders of the Free World all in the same city, and away from their kingdoms, a huge liability? I mean, just any mercenary with a handy weapon can just waltz right in and-... oh, see, there ya go. Must say, using a crystal-forming grenade (corruption crystal matrix does look somewhat familiar... like that rock-infection Shining Armor got on his horn during Sombra's attack. Hmm...) is extraordinarily clever. Not fatal, more like a paralytic. Later, we hear sounds escaping those prisons, so its even weaker magic then the calcification Discord went though. And that's what I like about our villains. They're mercenaries. Selfish, opportunistic, but not really all that violent if they don't need to be. I like Storm King! He's got no ageless vendetta, no complex scheme with so many, easily misplaced parts. No, he just wants to wield power with the staff he's already got. Had it not needed to be powered up using four leaders as basically batteries, I feel no doubt he'd just as easily rather smooth talk his way in as an ambassador and just steal what he needs before anypony notices. I get this funny notion... that he's the way he is the same reason Twilight Spar-... wait, no.... Starlight Glim-... no, Tempest... Shadow, yes! The reason she is, because it was made clear to him early on that trusting others gets you taken advantage of. I'd say he's more chaotic than even Discord. He doesn't want to listen to your pleas, because it doesn't help what he wants and it kind of bores him. He has not much in the way of an end goal, doesn't want to make you quake in fear... you just have something he wants, and you're in his way. Pity he's not the actual villain. I mean, sure, his symbol is plastered on everything outside of Equestria, but that's all done outside the scope of the scenes we're shown. He doesn't really even show up until the last third of the movie! That's probably the biggest fault with the movie, it just changes setting far too fast because it got too excited to be "new." No doubt the moviemakers were all excited to put as many details in as possible, and I can't say I or any of you all would have done any better going in with that mindset. But it's... a bit disjointed. But I digress. I complained, belligerently, about how easily they dismissed the entire world in To Whatever & Back as the last two-parter finale. We're seeing a REAL bad habit of show-writing where we have to toss out every possible trump card and every ruling body just so we can have more drama to deal with. In this movie however... think they did it pretty well. Celestia & Luna were quickly dispatched, but they don't feel any weaker for the fall here like as what happened when Celly was gunned down by a MacGuffin at Cadence's wedding. Here, the twin leaders of the free world were pretty much suckerpunched out of commission. No doubt Tia could shoot that weapon out of the air were she not distracted trying to order out plans against this invading force and Luna was head dead-on while trying to flee to safety in mid-air. A lucky shot from our villains, I must say. Likely the opposite trope of good ol' Stormtrooper Aim. Perfect aim when it removes major players out of the story. Still... while I'd like to see our Leading Mares actually be competent for... for once, felt its dealt with well here. So, Twilight & her crew once more happen to get away from the battle to begin our journey, but there appears to be a note I'm forgetting. Ah, oh yes... that would be that... Ditzy-Doo took a bullet for Equestria! My swee' babby cheese! I think, beyond any of my doubt, that that moment will go down as the best writing & action having undertaken in any film in forward perpetum for the rest of my life! And, now look, I'm not all that avid of a Derpy fan. I frankly dislike that nickname. There isn't much to her character, but I can understand the feelings & emotions that are moored to her, that she kind of represents the brony fandom as a whole, almost. Really now, think about it. You can't really do too much with Ditzy of Doo. Play her too often and you'll have to give her a character, write her lines and risk running contrary to the ideal the fandom has ascribed to her. Miss Muffins is all about being seen, but not heard. She's silly, cute, but kind and innocent. Any of us fans would have been happy with her popping up that once to break line during a song. That's so her, after all! But... that momentary war that burst out... all the Confusion & calamity. Where I know I would have just become overwhelmed to curl up in a corner to wait it all out... I heard a high lilt of a voice peal out... as a bomb heads right for Twilight, the last royalty and hope for Equestria, all being taken down in a cruel twist of drama having been unforeseen. I could not place that voice. It did not seem to match any of the previously introduced characters. I could not, for once, fathom what was going on. And the magical aftermath settles... and we see the form of a pegasus having frozen still where she pushed the last remaining hope out of harm's way. ...a small, awkwardly placed party hat haphazardly coming off her head where she had clearly put it there only in a moment of revelry without second thought. That same rash thinking having not only doomed her, saved all of Equestria and... well, everything. The movie, everything else that happens during all of this... Rides on the grey wings of the Sunny-Haired Mare. We... Just no one could possibly ever ask for anything more of our lass Derpy at this point. That's "Jumping the Shark" done right! Think I have heard it say that that moment was essentially like all of the fandom leaping into to take the proverbial bullet. As if to encapsulate every time any audience member has cried out with the thought of "No! Please don't harm the characters I've grown to love!" And what's absolutely beautiful even more to that short, short moment is the technical, logistic side of it. You can't do much with her, even making her speak strains credulity when working with Ditzy-Doo. So just have her do what she's always done. Just be there when you need her. Think so very much can be pulled out of so little there. Don't we all wish we just simply had somebeing to be there when we needed them? Ah, but I must dry my tears of emotion for now. Before I leap into the adventure, I'm reminded of that "We Got This" song. Must say I adored Rainbow Dash's part and in this movie as a whole. Once more I'm reminded of how she seems more like a symbol of Courage rather than Loyalty. But I noticed that, that message in that song feels a little ominous. "I've got this" is the sorta self-reassurement we tell ourselves when we're buckling under stress, and I think that's a tone that certainly carries onto the rest of the movie too. But anyhow, after this, our six heroines fall off the Canterlot mountain into the river below. Putting aside how that should still be fatal, I have a Big Question here. Just how do the places from this movie line up on the Equestrian map? I'm no good for directions, but... they fall into a river, follow it... East? then somehow wind up in a huge, trackless desert? Deserts seem to be the one severely lacking biome in Equestria, and on top of that, somehow that desert immediately leads right into a port-town right on the ocean? H-how? Can deserts even do that? Be right next to large bodies of water like that? Then, after that, we seem to be up in the air, traveling over the ocean to who knows where to a forested area then somehow poof back into Equestria! I was initially worried about them not being able to juggle as many characters as they wanted to, but holding scenery for longer then fifteen minutes seemed to be the bigger issue! Did adore that port town! It's a right wonderful thing to see a part of Equestria that ain't so happy-happy, party-all-time sorta place. Cause really, no matter how peaceful and utopic a society is, there will always be shady parts of town! And another thing, that I REEALLY want an answer to: What even was the name of that town? Because this place was MADE to be a wealth of new RPing for the fandom! The place where anything can be bought or sold! Though on top of that, this tiny town gives us all another huge shift to the fandom. Anthropomorphic & Furry characters are now a thing in this fandom! We've all argued about what the difference is between a Furry & a Brony (there has got to be a smattering of jokes for that!) but now, there ain't no reason not to anymore! Kinda woulda preferred this world remaning strictly quadrepedal, but... well, more OC options, eh? There was toad people, bipedal fish, anthro lizards... that cat... All wealth of variety you could imagine! Guess the only rule to Equestria now is no human faces. Eh, a great setting all the same! I loved that scene where Pinkie hollers out for somebeing to (Oh heh, validates my "Somebeing" now don't it? More then ponies about, eh?) guide them to their next destination and she rattles off items, among which is a Picture of Maud. Now, we All know how valuable that is, but I loved how every audience member, especially the older ones laughed out loud along with me when one voice out of the excited crowd shouted out with a somewhat nerdy request of "I'll take the photo of her sister!" Because we all know that One Guy in the crowd! I can just SEE it now! Some large, overweight, mouth-breathing, wall-eyed fish person slowly picks Maud's photo off the ground and just becomes instantly enamored by her immaculate visage! And so begins an endless, tiring journey for him to finally meet his beloved on her doorstep! ...Oh... yeah... I guess I have to touch on Crapper at some point. He seemed to be another Aladdin copy street-tough. Sure, he was... fine, but he still struck me as an unnecessary addition that we'll undoubtedly never see again. Capper was pretty dapper, I must say, a fine example of the sorts from this port town if we had to only get one named character out of that visit. I do approve of how well he and Rarity "hit it off." There was this whole... sort of betrayal thing he did but... while I loved the town, still seemed to just be a Stage in the movie rather then a part that was imperative to where the story wound up. Will grant him a fair bit of respect for him addressing Spike during combat with the line of "You are a fire-breathin' dragon, ain't you?" How could anybeing worry about their odds when they've got a dragon their side, eh? Kind of didn't like all that stuff & nonsense about how easy it was for the villain crew to track down the hero crew. I suppose, yes, Storm King kind of had claim over this little Port-Town and would probably know when they showed up, but still, Tempest Shadow sure did show up pretty quickly after what must have been essentially abandoning the three princess they had flashfrozen down. Second time, I'll grant them. Rainbow had been deprived of her chance to show off during that interrupted party, and it was a joyous moment. RD ain't known for patience after all! Third & final time the villains showed up again... that was just a cheap shot at dropping a cage on our protagonist having been left alone for a few minutes. As with the huge issues I had with Whatever n' Back, I kind of feel they made the villain force a little too unreasonably strong to match what we've worked the good side up to after all this time. Oh, and speaking of that "Joyous Moment." Yeeeah, I dunno Dashie. Probably don't want to be giving a pep talk to a pirate crew. Yeah, sure, no doubt you're loving this, Raininator, but... Well, Each one of these feathered fellows happens to have some form of prosthetic. Sure, I know that's a joke. Peg-claw, Peg-foot, Peg-beak, Peg-tail... funny there, until you realize that this means they've seen Actual Combat. Not PG kiddy show hoofin' of enemies or magicy hoohah... straight-up lopping off of parts, deep wounds that don't heal right that require amputation, actual health concerns actual pirates face. Not to mention that I'm pretty sure a fully-stocked pirate boat usually has significantly more then just four members to keep it running. That seems strongly like they lost quite a few friends in the fights with the Storm King that reduced them down to the mere delivery ship they now are. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand... that's kinda the thing with pirates, you know? They can't be kept down because of what they are. As soon as they're let loose from being directly pointed at with whatever weaponry you have, they can go back to robbing whoever they want in the Wild Blue, because its kind of hard to track rogues in uncharted wat-... well, skies in this case. That pep talk kind of just reminded them that "Oh that's right! We can just go right back to doing whatever we feel like! We can lie to whoever wants to try controlling us!" So, without the Storm King around Caeleno and her crew are just as likely to go back to robbing everybeing they come across if they want. But I'm sure it's a Friendly Mugging! Oh! And Caelano herself! Love that design! I... don't know how a harpy has giant feather ears like that, but she's totally beautiful all the same! Loved that one aftercredits scene of Spike trying to chew on her crystal peg leg! Well, after their run in with pirates & getting shot down yet again by the villains du jour, the main seven find themselves at.... Happy Hippogriff Land to find the wossnames they thought would help save the day or whatever. And, the... the thing here is... that I want to make a solid point across to any who read this... and... as a mythology buff myself I'm... I'm rather offended by this... But HippoGriffs & HippoCampi are NOT the same thing! Yes, to any fan who actually was excited for the FishMutants... I mean, "Merponies" then I'm sorry to tell you that, no, they are not a race or species of their own. That was all a merchandising cash ploy for... I mean, Magical Effect. Now granted, The Hippogriffs turning into Hippocampi (which is old greek for a horse with the bottom half of a fish.) clearly means that there's a preconceived form for these new forms. Implying that the idea of a Merpony is around in Equestria but none are actually shown anywhere in this movie. I will certainly grant that Hippogriffs are by and far better designed than merponies. Princess Hyperactive looked far better in her original birdy form and alot more withstandable without all the constant, fishy, thrashing about she did as the stereotypical ditzy teenager. Queen Nova though I liked better. Probably just because we finally have a positive Queen around and a princess in her intended role of "daughter of the actual royalty." Was pretty convinced Queen Nova was being played by Queen Latifah. Thing is... Thing is... Problem most watchers have with this portion of the movie is that they accuse Twilight being out of character & just taking the solo road of just stealing what she wanted when met with adversity. I say that's entirely within her character and the whole point of the movie. That's what this movie is about. Trust Issues. Everything just about literally blew up around poor Twilight Sparkle and the fate of the world pretty much literally rests on her back now. She can't afford to lose! ...granted, quite sure we covered this issue in the show... when... like, the Plundervines came up and she insisted she had to go on alone when all her friends didn't want to risk losing the last leader in Equestria. But the point still stands. At the best of times, like when this movie opened up, Twilight isn't one to take stress well. This is a situation that really doesn't feel like just a quick party will help. Friendship won't help matters here nor do we have the time to just yuck it up with the natives to gradually earn their trust. Their Queen said she didn't want to help and there was no other options to take. Sure, i can't begin to comprehend how "Giant Orb that Turns Things Into Being Part Fish" in anyway helps the problem at hoof, but still. And on top of that, this point has been made blatantly clear during the past few days. Trusting others hurts sometimes. They gave the invading force enough trust to talk things over, and they didn't want to talk. Everything blew apart there. They fled to a strange town, trusted a CatPerson when they needed a guide and got backhanded again when he tried to sell them off as slaves... or food, that guy looked rather dubious. They went to the only town they had any information, they're last hope for saving the world, and they simply got shot down because they didn't want to become involved. Their position was habitually compromised time and again. Twilight was supposed to have "Got This" and she can't do anything. (Eh? Eh? And y'all didn't think a song could also be foreshadowing!) Ask yourselves, haven't you ever had a moment when you were backed up against a proverbial wall with no other options for you to take? Simply convincing them wouldn't work & Twilight's only working off of panicked guesses at what to do here. I'd say it was less moral for her not to let her friends in with this plan, maybe talk it over with them first, than her outright trying to steal the MacGuffin object to supposedly win the war. Huh. Guess that Pearl really wouldn't have helped. The Hippogriffs did show up a little bit towards the end and that Pearl never showed up again anyways. But, after this, our protagonist is laid low by the character arc she's going through and gets captured and taken back to where everything eventually went down. And this, is probably the best time to touch back onto the remaining characters, the villains. Grubber is best villain! Sure, he's pretty much a useless, comedic relief sidekick that doesn't add much, but I can totally relate! Really has that feeling that he's with the bad guys just because that means he can enjoy the baked spoils of their conquests. Sure, a bit annoying but not as insufferable as Scrappy-Doo levels sidekicks tend to get. He really does seem to know his place in this hierarchy but still manages to keep his own personality in spite of it! Oh, and Tempest Shadow. (No, While I may not belief in Spoilers, what her Real Name is just too good to ruin for any other fan!) I bring her up now, because at this point in the movie, she gets her villain song. Man... Villain Songs... That was just far too intense & mature! ...What? You don't think the Pony Movie can be mature? The entire time during that song, there's little in the way of distracting visual effects, no chipper music, just the whole thing set in the brig (prison area) of an airship while Miss Shadow's giant head looms center screen staring over the audience the writers know have small children and she says with a matter-of-fact tone of what is esentially: "Wake up Little Ones. Life is Pain. Sometimes things turn out wrong, hurt you, make you incapable of playing nice with others. Life will hurt you, test you, and make you wish for the times you were happy like you are now when you're young & protected. Expect others to hurt you, because they often will." Ah Jeez... I've never thought I would see media meant for children take the effort of teaching the lesson that we're not special, that life isn't always easily solved by being happy at it, that you should be afraid & scared sometimes. Maybe some haven't seen this, expecting it to just be another kids' movie of fluffy nonsense like so much has lately been. T.S is undoubtedly Emo, but she has well enough reason to be so. Ah, Jeez. Poor Tempest here. Got mauled when she was young, and as a result she was handicapped and prevented from ever having anypony be her friend. Granted, there's still, like, her entire teenage years for her to be social... there's a big time span there to do, like, whatever to fix that so still moping about that now when you're adult enough to be leading an army kinda seems to point out that maybe you're standing in your own way here, but... still convinced that you've got a reason to distrust all the time, Tempest. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIf it weren't aaalso, the little fact that you're working for Storm King too. Cause, you know, you did say you were expecting him to "Make you whole again." (Yeah, that phrase setting off anybeing else's Feminism Alarm? Or maybe a little heavy on the Handicap Discrimination there?) Isn't that kind of a great deal of trust there too? Yeah, being mean to others because that's what you expect is one thing, but crying to Storm King her and acting surprised that he suddenly doesn't want to hold up his end of the bargain kind of makes you a massive hypocrite. So too, I was balking at the notion of a broken horn. Seems be that having the last two inches snap off still doesn't effect your magic usage all that much. A bit random & dangerous, like having a perpetual firework stuck to your forehead, but still. Kind of seems like whining if you you complain about your horn damages in front of your hornless earth pony friends, ya know? I mean, ya don't see pegasai constantly flaunting their wings in front of-... well, okay, I'll grant you that. I still hold that breaking a horn, especially at a young age when it ought be able to grow back somewhat or at least get used to it being like that; its kind of like breaking a toe. It doesn't really cripple your life, despite that being the point of designing it broken like that, but it might be something to be shy about if its pointed out too much. This... really raises curious questions about that one vendor in that Port Town that was selling unicorn horns. ...does this mean he killed the pony that had it,or are there ponies walking around with their horn having been sawed off entirely? Are unicorn horns supposed to be an aphrodisiac in this world too? So, really, Tempest is kinda of a bit shallower then I first thought. Still quite relatable and a welcome somber change to ponies as a whole. And... yeah, still kinda love her too. Hey, I gotta thing for Mayaderes and Pathos! As for the ending, can't say I remember it too well at this point several days away from having watched it. Seem pretty by-the-numbers really. Everything wrapped up nicely I suppose. I do kind of find that funny though... that it seemed that "The Storm King" really only wanted to make the biggest storm he could. Like he just wanted to live up to his title. Kind of a shame that he straight-up done got murdered. Just full up broke to dadgum pieces he done did dere. Sure, they made a joke about that in the credits, what with the stacking back up the shattered pieces of the body of the defeated leader among the crowd of his goons you left behind and convinced to play along with your party. Bit of a dark connotation there, I must say. If there was any villain in the MLP franchise that I would wish for a reformation it would be Storm King. He seemed fun, and willing to listen to others if it benefitted him. Not nearly as bloodthirsty as Sombra, Tirek & Chrysalis were! Besides, I'd love to see that seven foot yeti try to walk peacefully among ponies! Well... they're not yetis per se... the official Wiki states the Storm King & his goons as "Storm Creatures" being their species name. That's, like, another thing I want somebeing to get back onto me about. Name of Port-Town & Storm Creatures... this is gonna bother me now...
  3. The appeal of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comes from a combination of factors. Aside from its lighthearted tone and cute art style, its characters are surprisingly three-dimensional, and its best episodes can be quite funny as well. This show's cult following didn't come out of nowhere, and much of it comes down to the show's main themes. To me, the most important part of Friendship is Magic's appeal is that so many of its stories revolve around the main characters needing to move past their own insecurities. This show does an excellent job with audience identification, even outside of the target audience, simply because it fleshes out its protagonists and treats them with empathy. On the other hand, My Little Pony: The Movie is asinine and derivative, and while there's several factors in its overall sloppiness, perhaps the greatest is that it trades the show's stories of insecurity for slapdash adventure cliches, seemingly assembled at random. What little remains of the show's soul is scrambled by the slapdash execution, which is too busy hopping from formula beat to formula beat to sufficiently develop even one of its characters, and it's all brought down by a truly wretched sense of humour. Perhaps it would be difficult to make a My Little Pony movie which really taps into the show's main strengths, but on the other hand, there's no reason it had to be this bad. (note: spoilers follow) When Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt) attacks the Equestrian capital city of Canterlot on behalf of the evil Storm King (Liev Schreiber), Princess Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) and her friends Applejack, Rainbow Dash (both voiced by Ashleigh Ball), Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy (both voiced by Andrea Libman), and Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain) set out to stop them and save Equestria. That summary has more names than plot, and that's largely because there's barely any plot to speak of. In essence, the film consists of a handful of episodes defined primarily by the ponies' quest to find the hippogriffs, whom their monarch Princess Celestia mentioned before being captured by the Storm King. In the process, they hop from random setting to random setting, meeting a new handful of underdeveloped characters along the way. My Little Pony distinguishes itself from other animated features through a focus on talking rather than violence to resolve conflict, but because the characters are so underdeveloped, the story beats still come across as overly familiar. Any time we might have learned a little about the actual people in this story, the antagonists arrive to shove Twilight & co. off to the next predictable beat. Worse still, many plot points are dubious at best. On multiple occasions, the plot only moves forward because one of the ponies idiotically calls attention to herself, despite knowing very well that they need to keep a low profile. One plot point which is particularly dubious, although for different reasons, is near the end of the second act, when the film attempts to complicate its plot somewhat by showing a break in the main group's friendships. Unfortunately, this only occurs because Twilight acts blatantly out of character. This is irritating for fans, and since the film spends no time on actually developing these characters, newcomers won't have any reason to care about this contrived conflict. Frankly, characterization isn't exactly the film's strong point in general. Applejack is given almost nothing to do, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash are reduced to caricatures, Pinkie Pie is significantly weighed down by the film's awful jokes, Spike is so minor that I forgot he was in this, and Twilight isn't allowed much of a personality at all. The one time when Twilight actually livens up is in the aforementioned second-act fallout, which is initiated by her attempting to rob one of the film's numerous new characters for seemingly no reason at all. Aside from just how far this is from her personality in the show, it's also something which I highly doubt neophytes will find endearing, which will make it even harder for them to be invested in the plot. The new characters, meanwhile, are far too underdeveloped to leave much of an impression. Capper (Taye Diggs) is your generic dashing rogue, and while the pirate captain Celaeno (Zoe Saldana) strikes an impressive posture, she too never becomes more than an archetype. Worst of all are the hippogriffs, most notably Princess Skystar (Kristin Chenoweth), whose constant chatter is immediately obnoxious and makes for perhaps the least tolerable stretch of the whole film. Like Capper and Celaeno, these characters are ultimately relegated to an extremely familiar archetype, but Skystar the probably the most memorable characters in the movie, if for all the wrong reasons. The ponies only ever cause trouble for these characters, and yet of course they return to help in the final act, because that's what happens in every movie like this. The new villains are more of a mixed bag: the Storm King is your run-of-the-mill snarky villain, and his already rote personality is made unbearable by the terrible script. Meanwhile, Tempest Shadow is little more than generically menacing, but the final act suddenly reveals a traumatic backstory which, for just a brief moment, revives the empathetic themes which define the show. Unfortunately, she's not made even slightly sympathetic after that moment, and everything she does after that strictly follows template. Plus, the quiet menace of Blunt's performance sometimes just comes across as boredom, which further diminishes the character's appeal. Despite my allusions to the script's terrible jokes, there actually aren't that many to speak of. Most of the film's humour is derived from the characters' personalities, but because they're all so simplistic, much of this humour falls flat, and Pinkie Pie in particular comes across as noisy and shrill. When actual attempts at gags are made, they're invariably weak, and several take the form of dated references or even cheap anachronisms. The first time we see a magical device ring like a cell phone, it's a novelty for this series, but when it's repeated later in the film, it just comes across as trite and lazy. What entertainment the film does provide comes from its songs and surprising dark edges. Most of the musical numbers are derivative, but they're at least lively and varied, and one or two are even catchy. More than one song feels like it only exists to fill time, but one which takes place on a pirate ship in particular is another of the film's rare flashes of empathy, and is perhaps the best example of the film solving conflict with dialogue rather than violence. Too bad the villains arrive right after to up the tension. On brief occasions, the scale of the setpieces transcends the tedious plot, but these moments are few and far between. A little more exciting is that this film is actually one of the darker stories in the franchise. In an early scene, all of the four princesses except Twilight are literally turned to stone, and several later scenes involve unscrupulous figures attempting to literally enslave the protagonists. There's even a scene where the main group appears to have drowned. These moments of intensity are more unique for the series than for kids' films in general, but they're the one thing which gives the movie any personality or life. There's also a scene or two which are quieter than the usual family feature, but most of the film is exhaustingly busy and loud. Finally, it must be noted that My Little Pony: The Movie heavily revises the series' aesthetic, and not always for the best. The character animations are significantly more detailed, but while this often comes with fluid movement, it can often seem overblown, like when a pose is held for a few seconds too long in a music number, or when lip flaps feature more frames than actually fits the dialogue. Every single new character design is colourful yet profoundly generic, matching their personalities. Much more troubling are the backgrounds, which contain a lot of detail but bury it in dark colours, and in contrast to the bright and cheery show, several of the environments here are painted in varying shades of red, grey, and brown. The line work is still consistently interesting, but the characters almost never feel like they're actually in the set, largely because the environments are either static or filled with conspicuous low-quality 3D models. Many objects are also shaded to have a distracting, almost plasticky depth-of-field effect, to the extent that it's difficult to tell where the 2D art ends and the 3D models begin. On a more subjective note, the level of detail at times feels like a betrayal of the show's appealing simplicity, but it's not hard to see the appeal of adding dimension and complexity to the show's art. If only it was better executed. Some of those backgrounds are genuinely pretty, and the songs at least have some life to them, but even those elements can't keep My Little Pony: The Movie from feeling double its length. The poor comedy and the poor characterization are merely the most significant of several issues keeping it down, and even the occasional glimmer of life can't save a movie without a context to support it. In fact, considering that the songs can be found outside of the film and presumably pack just as much impact, there's really no reason to watch My Little Pony: The Movie at all unless you're the most devoted fan of the series. It's hard to translate a the character development of a long-running show to the big screen, but there's absolutely no reason this couldn't have been fun on its own merits, especially given that some of the show's best writers are involved. I'm not surprised - all the warning signs were in the trailers - but just don't know how this went so wrong. 3/10 + Decent songs. + Occasionally gets surprisingly dark. + Detailed animation... - ...which is brought down by cheap backgrounds. - Extremely formulaic. - Wildly underdeveloped characters. - Very poor sense of humour. As a bonus: on my usual pony rating scale! Score: Entertainment: 3/10 Characters: 3/10 Themes: 6/10 Story: 2/10 Overall: 35/100 I would generally round this to 4/10, but this is one of those cases where the averaged rating doesn't really reflect my personal rating. Anyway, you can find my backlog of pony reviews at my offsite pony blog, and you can find many more movie reviews at my primary blog. (Also, I'd like to promote my Patreon, but I don't think I'm allowed to do that on this site. Link is on the main blog. If it displeases the mods, I'll remove this line.)
  4. I originally planned on this being a full on review of Amazing Spider-Man. Something thought out and considered, a piece of writing that read like someone was trying to explain himself in a ordered and intellectually stimulating manner. But y'know what? I don't feel like. This movie doesn't deserve it. I wish not to think about it more than I have to. If I do that, than I'm just gonna be grumpy the whole night, and you know how that is. So...yeah, ASM sucks. Not totally and utterly, but it is a sucky movie, failing to work both as a piece of entertainment and as a cinematic understanding of one of my favorite characters. And it wasn't like I went in wanting to hate it. In fact, back in 2010 when they announced the reboot, I was one of the few fans I knew of looking forward to it. I loved the first two Raimi movies, the second of which I still consider to be the greatest superhero movie ever (yes, I rank it over The Dark Knight), but Spider-Man 3 left a horrible taste in my mouth. I was excited to see a Spider-Man movie with a younger Peter Parker still going to Midtown High, maybe with a deeper exploration of Parker's coming-of-age (the Raimi films were more focused on a man trying to find balance in life, as opposed to a kid forced to become that man sooner than wanted). And I thought the casting of Andrew Garfield was pretty darn good.The Social Network had just come out and I knew him from that great performance; I had not yet had my opinion of him tainted by his horrible New York accent in "The Daleks Take Manhattan." Those were the least embarrassing monsters he faced in New York City, as we soon discovered. We'd be getting the Lizard, as well as a proper Gwen Stacy after the horrible botch job in SM3, Uncle Ben was gonna be played by the Illusive Man, Spidey had actual web-shooters as opposed to those gross organic ones in the Raimi trilogy, and back then I still had a prayer of seeing some sort of connection with the developing Marvel Cinematic Universe. I had learned to temper my expectations after the last one, but I was optimistic. I was looking forward to seeing how this turned out. But then the costume design was revealed, and the whole thing just sort of snowballed from there, and now I'm typing this, and you will read it, and that's where we stand. And before any of you tell me, yes, I realize SM3 is worse. That was a confused, ridiculous mess of a movie plagued by too many chefs in the kitchen. Yes, some of it reaches unfathomable levels of stupidity, and I am well aware of that. In fact, I can confidently say that movie was my personal Ovaltine decoder ring moment. It taught me that the world isn't perfect and that bad movies can be made from really good things. But that doesn't excuse ASM one bit. Sucking slightly less then something else is not a mark of quality. That's a mark of sucking slightly less. Slightly. Like I said, I'm lazy and don't want to talk about this, but I feel as though I should explain to you guys why I'm constantly putting this film down. Thus, I shall resort to the dreaded list format from here on out. But first, I feel it only fair to point out the things this movie does right, because I'm a great guy. So... - Martin Sheen and Sally Field, while maybe not as warm as Cliff Robertson and Rosemary Harris, make a pretty good Uncle Ben and Aunt May. They're convincing as real parental figures, and they're likable enough that I'm appropriately bummed out when Uncle Ben meets his fate. - The fight scene in the school is neat. It's fast-paced and intricate like a Spider-Man fight should be and it's cool seeing the webbing play a larger role than before. - I like the part where he smashes the alarm clock. - Pffffffffffbbbbbt. Okay, THINGS THAT SUCK: - Peter Parker sucks as a protagonist, and it's all thanks to the script. It can't decide what it wants him to be and he ends up being an unlikable cypher who mumbles his way through everything because Garfield can't figure out how to play him. The most consistent character trait he has is a weird stalker-y streak, wherein he takes pictures of a girl he has a crush on (but doesn't know) and uses her picture as his desktop wallpaper. Yikes. Chicks dig the Edward Cullen hair. - Gwen Stacy has no freaking character. She's just there to serve as a plot device and love intrest, the latter of which is unfortunate seeing as how she shares absolutely no chemistry with Parker. Aren't Emma Stone and Garfield dating in real life? - Oh hey, the Lizard is here, and he sucks too. Ignoring the fact that the film just ignores the fact that he has a family he's struggling to keep safe from his lizard-ness (that was all in deleted scenes, more on that later), his character is even more confused than Parker's. First he's the only nice scientist at OsCorp, but then he's implied to have betrayed Parker's father, but then he's a anti-hero trying to save war veterans, but then he's going after Parker, and then he wants to turn everyone into lizards because...he can? You can't give a shit because you can't figure out whether you should. - They eff up the origin story big time, turning Parker's motivation for becoming Spider-Man into a ripoff of Batman Begins and having Uncle Ben die over chocolate milk. And I wouldn't mind them changing the context of origin story so much if it wasn't so obvious they only screwed up the origin story out of a hipster-y desire to be different. - In fact, the whole movie can be summed up as lacking any vision. This isn't the work of a director trying to tell a story; this is Sony trying to crap out a Spider-Man movie in time so the rights to the character doesn't go back to Marvel/Disney. This not only leads to characters and motivations that aren't well thought out, but it's obious that much of the movie went through the ringer in the editing room. Almost every scene that made the Lizard's character make any sense at all were cut, and that Untold Story bullshit isn't seen in the movie at all after the first act. - Speaking of which, nobody gives a shit about Peter's parents, nor should they. It's an uninteresting plotline that only serves to make the movie more angsty and "gritty" then it should be, and it only furthers the biggest moment of "not getting it" in the entire movie: the implication that Peter Parker, one of the greatest everyman-turned-hero characters ever, a character defined by the randomness of his origin story and his struggle to try to come to terms with the greatness thrust upon him, was always destined to be a Spider-Man. And yeah, the mysterious parents story was in the comics. And it was awful. - The movie follows the Marvel Ultimate Universe example of making everything connected in a bid to make the narrative easier to follow. Everything is a freaking coincidence: Peter's dad just so happened to work with Curt Connors, who just so happens to work for the company whose experiments turn him into Spider-Man. And Connors also just so happens to be Gwen Stacy's mentor, while Gwen just so happens to be the daughter of the police captain going after Spider-Man. Remember when I said The Winter Solider was awesome because it trusted the audience was smart enough to follow along? Yeah, this is the opposite of that. All it accomplishes is making the world feel smaller than it should. - The character designs are god awful. There's a reason no one has messed with Steve Ditko's original spider-suit design all that much since its creation in 1963: it's perfect. It's dynamic and unique and just oozes cool, no matter what. Following in the footsteps of the rest of the movie, the spider-suit redesign is different for the sake of being different. The over-complicated gloves, the pajamas-like quality, the basketball texture, the yellow eyes, the mismatched colors, the silver sneakers. It all adds up unmitigated fugliness, standing toe to toe with the 2011 movie Green Lantern uniform in terms of sheer ass. Ewewewewewewew. The Lizard doesn't look too much better. You had one job, guys: a lizard man wearing a lab coat, and instead you give us this flat-faced goof that looks like a reject from The Super Mario Bros. Movie. That's hilarious. And even worst... - I can't take Peter's struggles as Spider-Man seriously because the movie doesn't. He keeps coming home with bruises and blood-shot eyes, he bends a freaking goal post with a football, suddenly materializes on the 10th floor of building without using the entrance, and fails to give one excuse for any of it, and yet no one questions him on any of this. - The movie attempts to make Spider-Man more jokey than the Raimi Spidey, which is line with the character. Unfortunately, this movie is remarkably unfunny and quite obnoxious. If I see that stupid small knifes bit one more time. - If it wasn't "Dig on this," the crane scene would be the dumbest thing to ever happen in these pictures. - Peter Parker discovers his powers by ripping a woman's shirt off, and then he orders his web fluid online. - Speaking of which, he uses Bing. Loser. - The musical score is generic as hell. - The web-shooters have muzzle flash. - Edward Cullen hair. Okay, I'm done. Screw the sequel, I aint waisting money on Elctro looking like Mr. Freeze and characterized like Jim Carrey's Riddler while the Green Goblin looks like the mutated offspring of Beavis and Butthead, all while Parker actively tries to mess up his girlfriend's chances of going to college.
  5. That's a really freaking smooth gif. This is a good one, guys. I'm a bit lazy, so don't expect anything too well written/proofread here, but yeah, Winter Solider is the nearly perfect version of what it wants to be, and that is the most adult movie Marvel Studios has attempted thus far. Not to say it isn't fun (because it's really, really fun and kids will enjoy it to bits), or that it dips its toes into Man of Steel's 9/11-imagery-happy madness (I said it was adult, not mind-numbingly manic-depressive). It just takes chances that I couldn't see the other Marvel movies. Gone is the pulpy adventure tone from The First Avenger, replaced with a spy thriller where no one can be trusted, morals are questioned, and the usual robot-blasting and monster-punching replaced with straight up guns, knifes, and hand-to-hand combat, with some shield-tossing and the occasional exploding helicarrier thrown in. If the first one was Raiders of the Lost Ark, this one is Skyfall. And it appears that the overriding theme of Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is subversion, because Winter Solider drops the whole enchilada and rewrites one of the core aspects of this canon. It can be a bit heavy sometimes, what with its central character questioning how he can be the living embodiment of his country when he doesn't know what his country stands for anymore and whatnot, but thankfully these people know what they're doing, unlike some other filmmakers. It's certainly gritty, but it's the classy kind of gritty. Overall, it's a good time. It's well-paced, the cast is great (I hope to see Anthony Mackie's Falcon around for a long time), it's engaging from beginning to end, it's probably the best action movie out of all the non-Avengers movies, and while it's a bit disappointing that he isn't in the movie more than he is, the Winter Solider is an absolute highlight. It's a smart movie, one that expects that it's audience is able to keep up with it and think about what it's selling, and I can't think of too many summer movies that do that. This alone would get the movie my recommendation. If I had any problems at all, it's that I find Cap's key to be really weird. I mean, Tony Stark's Dora watch makes sense, and so does Dr. Selvig's discarded underwear in Thor: The Dark World, but why would a piece of gum be Steve Roger's wait wrong franchise. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo stop reading this and see it. Please. And stick around for both the mid and after credits scenes. The first one introduces a key element for Avengers:Age of Ultron, and the second...well, I ain't giving that away.