Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Sunset’s Backstage Pass Review


It’s time to look at the next big Equestria Girls special. This time Sunset takes center stage once more as she tries to enjoy a show despite Pinkie Pie’s best attempts to sabotage the whole thing. Sunset’s a very crafty character though so she definitely has some plans on how to stay ahead this time around. It’s a pretty nice homage to Groundhog Day which makes for a fun plot.

So the special starts off with Sunset and the gang waiting for the event to start. Sunset is hyped and the others are glad to be here even if they aren’t really planning on checking out the show. Only Pinkie Pie also wants to go, but she chooses Churros over everything else and a series of wacky circumstances causes Sunset to miss out. She wishes that she could try again and her wish comes true. Now she has a chance to go to the event. The problem is that the day continues to reset every night so now Sunset has to try and get out of the time loop, but is that even possible?

You definitely feel pretty bad for Sunset here since she is trying her best to accomplish her goals, but Pinkie Pie is here to stop her best attempts at every turn. That’s not the kind of friend that you want to have at your corner. You can maybe make the argument that Pinkie Pie doesn’t know better at first, but in some of the attempts Sunset really tries to explain to Pinkie Pie why she doesn’t want anything to go wrong and Pinkie doesn’t care. She even leaves Sunset alone to fight the villains while she grabs her Churros later on. It’s clear that Pinkie has got her priorities in a pretty iffy order here. She’s really a bad character in this special. Pinkie Pie has always been one of my least favorites as the series went on and she became more annoying than quirky, but this special probably takes the cake.

The rest of the Mane 6 don’t get to do a whole lot. When push comes to shove they do take Pinkie’s side over Sunset’s which is understandable since they are closer friends, but they aren’t particularly useful in this adventure. Twilight in particular may be disappointing for fans because she just restates the obvious and barely even tries to help Sunset. Sunset is truly on her own in this one, but she does a good job all things considered. She continues to learn more each time the day is started over and tries many different ways to get out. Her idea of being nice to Pinkie Pie in one timeline was good even if that surprisingly wasn’t the way out. Then she tracked down the villains who were red herrings.

Make no mistake, there are some villains in this special, but the old ones aren’t actually behind this latest series of events. They are really just around to sing songs and try to make a career. That doesn’t leave too many suspects, but I suppose I still won’t say who the villains are just in case. I didn’t mind the actual villains. They were pretty reasonable even if they didn’t get a lot of screen time. Their goals are a little weaker than the previous antagonists, but I still wouldn’t say they were terrible or anything. At the end of the day the still did manage to go pretty far.

As always the animation isn’t bad. It’s definitely not really my style, but it’s all pretty clear so you always know what is going on. That’s a good thing. There aren’t any real action scenes to test the animators this time, but you can’t win em all. Surprisingly we didn’t get a lot of songs this time. In fact, the mane 6 didn’t get to sing so it was up to the supporting characters this time. The song was actually fairly catchy though. I don’t think you’ll really remember it for very long, but just having a song can definitely go a long way.

As always there is a moral here, but how effective it is will depend on how you tolerate Pinkie Pie. The message is that even if you have to miss an event, being able to hang out with your friends is more important. That’s certainly true, but there’s also a reason why they say you never take a close friend to your favorite cafe. You want to keep your spot separate in case things don’t go well. So since Sunset was really looking forward to the play it may have been safer to go by herself, but these guys usually do everything together so it makes sense to go with Pinkie and the others. I just think that Pinkie should have been a lot more considerate all things considered.

The writing is strong and the pacing is good. I do think this special threw more twists and turns at you than some of the previous ones. At around 25 minutes in Sunset realized that her whole theory was wrong and the characters had to do some backtracking. The kept evolving with their theories and wasn’t very linear which is good. You’ll definitely be engaged with what’s going on and while it’s played for humor, you can also feel Sunset getting more and more desperate since literally re-living an entire day is definitely rough. She was here for weeks which would drive anyone crazy. Sunset managed to keep it together, but I’m sure she’ll be a lot more careful about what she wishes for going forward.

Overall, Sunset’s Backstage Pass is a fun special. It definitely delivers on the usual MLP qualities you would expect here. The characters are nice enough and it’s just a pleasant plot that you could really show anyone. It may not be ground breaking or one of the all time greats for MLP, but it was solid and a pretty good way to end the Equestria Girl movies. Of course I do hope they keep the brand going though. You never want to see something just end like that. If you haven’t checked this one out yet then I’d recommend changing that.

Overall 7/10

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Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Spring Breakdown Review


It’s time to look at the next big Equestria Girls special. One of the big things here was that the gang was finally going to head to Ponyville. Unfortunately this only happens for a few minutes so if you’re here for the crossover aspect then you probably won’t be too satisfied. It’s a solid adventure overall though and continues to show why Equestria Girls has been a solid spinoff. We don’t get any real fights here unfortunately but maybe next time.

The special starts with the gang going on a cruise to celebrate Spring Break. Twilight Sparkle is determined to make it a success, but unfortunately Rainbow Dash is making this difficult as she keeps looking for magical threats to stop. She believes that the main characters are destined to be fighting enemies forever, but the others don’t share this sentiment. Their patience grows thin as Rainbow keeps getting everyone in trouble and their vacation may be ruined at this rate. Still, what if Rainbow Dash is right and there is a threat over the horizon?

That’s the basic synopsis and as the special isn’t all that long you can pretty much glean all of the plot from this. Rainbow Dash’s antics are exaggerated a bit in order to move the plot. Still, I would say that she is the best character here aside from Sunset Shimmer. (Who is always the best anyway) Rainbow at least tries to prove that she is right and heads off for danger by her lonesome. She didn’t need to be so pushy, but at the end of the day that’s just her nature. You’ll feel bad for Twilight Sparkle here though since she’s trying her best to make this a success and it just isn’t working. She’s fairly low on confidence as it is so these events didn’t help.

Fortunately for everyone on board, Sunset Shimmer is on the case. She still isn’t afraid to tell it like it is and even Rainbow Dash gets her feelings hurt by Sunset’s direct nature. Sunset does take Twilight’s side initially but once the tables turn she is quick to help Rainbow out as well. She’s really the team leader here and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Her only dicey leadership move is when the gang heads to Ponyville and they chat with Princess Sparkle. Surely she would have remembered that the rest of the crew were still in danger right? This part is used for humor as the Mane 6 are panicking without their leader and the ship is sinking. It does further reinforce the point of how they’ve become so relient on Sunset to solve all of their problems. I could definitely see that being a plot for a special at some point down the line.

I will admit that Princess Sparkle doesn’t look so good here. As per usual she panics quite a bit even if it isn’t very warranted. Sure, the Storm King was kind of impressive for 5 minutes when he first appeared, but it’s just his leftover magic striking the ship. Since he isn’t there in person it’s hard to say that the gang was in serious trouble. If worst came to worst they could use their powers to do something. At least Rarity’s abilities would come in handy here since she can reflect things. Once they got to the island then they would have a bunch of other options.

For the other subplots, Rarity’s romance one is basically played for laughs so it wasn’t all that bad. Pinkie Pie trying to get her cake doesn’t work so well because she should have been able to snag it. I could do without Applejack getting sick since that tends to get old pretty quick. Fluttershy definitely has a rough time of it since the animals get scared off by Rainbow. It’s easy to see why they all got upset at Dash by the end. The only person Rainbow didn’t mess with was Sunset and you can probably guess why. Nobody messes with SS unless they want to get hurt. All of the plots were pretty entertaining. I could have used a bit more action, but no parts dragged on or anything so I’ll give the special some kudos there.

I think what would have taken this special to the next level would have been to have had Ponyville get more of a role. I’m still waiting for the big crossover battle where the Mane 6 take on the Mane 6 + Sunset. That would make for a fun special. Alas, with this generation coming to a close it is looking less and less likely. I suppose by having Rainbow Dash be obsessed with combat here it was the writers’ way of reminding us that we shouldn’t always go in expecting fights and such. We can dream though.

As always the animation is pretty solid. I can’t say that flash is the best style out there, but if you gotta go with flash then it’s not all that bad. At the very least the animations are always pretty smooth and easy to follow. It doesn’t really lend itself for fight scenes quite as well, but with none in sight here that isn’t exactly an issue. We only really get one song here, but it’s definitely a pretty solid one. It was nostalgic to see the group get back together as a band here.

Overall, Spring Breakdown is a solid special. It’s not nearly as ambitious as the movies, but does achieve what it set out to do with this special. It’s just a good excuse to see the gang again and watch them go on a trip. There may not be a whole lot of danger for the team to overcome, but the writing is on point and the special doesn’t really do anything wrong. I have no complaints so the special definitely ends up being pretty solid. I’d recommend it to all MLP fans as this could be one of the last times they ever get to see the Equestria Girls star in a special.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rollercoaster of Friendship Review


It’s time to look at the next Equestria Girls special. This time it is centered around Rarity. Once of the Magic specials was also about her so she’s certainly getting around. Unfortunately this is definitely not her best appearance but she finally gets a big fight scene so that was cool. As always, this was a pretty fun special and since it is fairly short we got to the meat of the story right away.

Applejack and Rarity applied for a position a long time ago with a famous movie star. Unfortunately Applejack did not get the position while Rarity did. Rarity even got a promotion before starting. Vignette shows up to introduce herself and unfortunately she seems to be very self absorbed. Immediately Rarity begins gravitating to her more than the other characters and Applejack begins to feel left out. At first she thinks this may just be normal jealousy, but is it possible that Vignette is actually shadier than she appears?

Naturally you’ll be a little irritated at Rarity betraying her friends so quickly. It’s not out of character or anything as Rarity tends to do this a lot, but after all they’ve been through together you’d just expect her to do a little better. That’s why Rarity has never been one of the better members of the Mane 6. She’s probably the only one who doesn’t really fit her element all that much. Still, she does work to make amends for all of this during the film. Her fight with Vignette is fun as she can reflect energy while Vignette can project it. I would have liked to have seen Rarity fight a little more, but what we got was certainly sound so I can’t complain there.

Vignette makes for a solid villain. You always want to have a rich villain because it makes sense when they take the whole thing in stride. Vignette has always gotten what she wanted in the past so it makes sense that once she got such a cool weapon she would begin using it. She doesn’t owe society anything after all. The ending can maybe get a little cheesy with her, but she was never inherently evil I suppose. She was just super naive and possibly evil. She just needed to remember that social media friends are real friends. Once she accepts that then she will really be a better person.

Applejack looks reasonably good here even if she possibly does take Rarity’s betrayal a little too hard. She’s still friends with the rest of the girls so that should be a nice consolation. Even if Rarity were to leave she would have a bunch of friends. Still, it’s because she took the whole thing so seriously that she was able to find out Vignette’s real objective. Applejack may not have been able to win in their encounter, but it’s hard to deal with one hit KO attacks.

The other characters mainly get the shaft here as naturally not everyone can get a whole lot of screen time. Still, they all contribute here and there. Sunset once again showed that she has the greatest skills out of all the characters. She was able to win in a game that was made to be rigged. If that’s not talent then I don’t know what it is! Twilight did her best but playing by the book doesn’t always work. She needed to throw her ring with her heart instead of her mind.

There’s only one bad subplot here and that is the one with Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash. It’s an annoying trope that I can’t say I’m surprised to see. Rainbow Dash is usually the brave character so naturally the film thought it would be humorous if she got scared of the roller coaster while Fluttershy could handle it. I’m fine with Fluttershy not being scared for once even if that seems odd, but Rainbow Dash shouldn’t be nerfed. The whole thing feels super forced and as a result Rainbow Dash looked pretty bad here.

Naturally the animation is pretty consistent with the rest of the series. The character designs aren’t bad and the animation is pretty good. There aren’t really any memorable songs here this time, but the intro theme to the special is always fun. It does remind me that the main MLP show needs a theme song revamp at some point. Something with a cool techno/rock beat to it. I think that would take the music to the next level.

Overall, The Rollercoaster of Friendship was a good special. It’s not quite as good as any of the main movies, but with only about an hour to work with I think it did a good job of including everything it could. Take away that one subplot with Rainbow Dash and it would be even better. Still, this is definitely a title that I can recommend to anyone. It’s got a lot of heart and there’s nothing all that bad about it. With this I am basically caught up with all the big Equestria Girl stuff. All I have to do now is watch a bunch of the shorts and I can say with confidence that I have finished the world of MLP. (Until more stuff air)

Overall 7/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Mirror Magic Review


It’s time to look at the big climax to the trilogy! The Mane 7 have gone to the theater to see how the film went. Naturally it was quite good, possibly the best film they ever saw. The heroes are pretty nice people so they don’t want to make a big deal of this, but then they see that Juniper is working here and decide to pay her a visit. After trying to sabotage the film, Juniper was fired and forced to work as a sweeper at the theater. The Mane 7 remind her of this and let her know that it’s what she deserves. Juniper decides to get back at the heroes and finds a mirror. With it she can throw people into other dimensions and even finish her chores quicker. She slowly begins to use this mirror more and more until she is completely hooked on it. Now she does not want to ever turn away from it. Why should she when this grants her super abilities?

Sunset realizes that she’s going to need pony power for this one and calls up Starlight Glimmer. Together they can succeed where the Equestria Girls failed. Juniper may have magical abilities, but the heroes have the power of friendship on their side! The big battle between good and evil starts here and it will definitely ensure that you never look at the characters the same way again. It was nice to see Juniper get a super form here as the other specials had been pretty down to Earth. Seeing the characters go cosmic again was definitely a blast.

Meanwhile, Juniper is a pretty fun villain here like in the other special. I do think that it’s basically impossible to sympathize with her at all. Considering how many crimes she committed in the last special, you’d think that she would be incredibly grateful to be working anywhere right? Instead she spends this time griping the whole while. She’s clearly very bitter about everything and hasn’t learned a thing in her exile. By the end we find out that she just wanted friends, but I’m not sure that I buy this. There was certainly no indication that this was the case until the very end. I think the heroes basically tricked her into believing that this was the case.

I do think Starlight Glimmer was pretty out of character here though. This seems to be the case a lot of the time when the Ponies show up in Equestria Girls though. Starlight acts like a complete beginner here. She isn’t very powerful or confident which isn’t like her. She gives some advice here and there, but spends most of the time just staying in the background. She could have been cut out of the film and nothing would have changed. That’s my main problem with the whole thing. Starlight should have been brought in to have a big fight with Juniper or something. Otherwise why even show up? Still, at least we finally got the big meeting between the two characters even if it was handled poorly.

All told, this trilogy ended on a pretty high note. The writing was good and the special’s short length really allows for the action to start up right away. I still say that Starlight was misused here, but you can’t win them all I suppose. The mirror was a good piece of tech so hopefully it shows up again. It could easily be used for a bunch of different plots which would certainly be fun.

Overall,, I have finally finished all of the Magic specials. With this I am one step closer to catching up with the MLP series. That will certainly be a pretty big milestone. If you haven’t seen these specials yet then you should do so. All 3 of them combined are barely an hour so you really can’t go wrong there. The low key best character of this is probably still Juniper’s uncle. the guy really did his best to help her turn over a new leaf. It’s just a shame that she persisted in staying with the darkness. At least now that she’s friends with the MLP characters she’ll have positive influences. (Provided they remember to check up on her from time to time)

Overall 7/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Movie Magic Review


It’s time to look at the next installment in the Magic trilogy. The heroes have arrived on the set of a Daring Do movie and are looking forward to seeing it be made first hand. As Rainbow Dash is a big fan she is determined to help the crew do it right. Unfortunately a ghost has been scaring people off the set and now even the props for the movie have vanished. Without those the movie will have to be put on indefinite hold. Dash can’t have that and so she decides that the group will find this ghost. She even brought along her super speed amulet so she can take this villain down a few pegs. Still, will that be enough to defeat an actual ghost?

This really plays out like a classic Scooby Doo film. It’s pretty neat to see how the MLP crew would handle such a task. Of course, it is a bit obvious who the culprit is from the start. I think the one area where the special made a mistake is in only having a small cast around. From those characters only 2 of them feel like actual suspects. You have a spoiled actress who keeps saying that she wants out of this film and then you have a movie attendant who really loves being in the film business. Hmmmm, who’s the likely culprit? Well, the actress would be the obvious guess since she doesn’t like the movie, but through that you know who is actually guilty. Still, even if you know who it is the actual mystery is still pretty fun.

I do think it was a bit of a stretch how the villain outran Rainbow Dash though and then captured her. Rainbow Dash isn’t a normal human like the rest of these characters, she has actual super speed? The whole thing felt like plot hax to be honest. Still, it did add a little sense of danger which is always good though. The team’s plan to capture the villain was also pretty well thought out. It just goes to show that the ponies have brainpower as well as brawn.

The ending was handled pretty well as the villain starts to go through the motions of pretending to turn over a new leaf and all of that. The director doesn’t buy into it and wants the person off the set. This time the culprit basically gets off with a slap on the wrist, but I guess it makes sense since this character is likely still a minor and as such can’t do a whole lot of hard time anyway. She’s banned from the set and that’s really all you could ask for.

From what we saw it looks like the Daring Do film will be a riveting success. I was half expecting the actual Daring Do to show up, but I guess she could have ended up stealing the show. Surprisingly there aren’t any real songs here, but I suppose maybe that would have been out of place with the whole mystery angle going on. I’d say that the first special beat this one as a result, but Movie Magic certainly did have a little more danger and suspense in the plot so it was pretty close. There’s not much to say about the graphics as they are effectively the same as in the first special.

Overall, Movie Magic is a good follow up to the first special. The main characters are a pretty close knit team by this point so it’s nice to see them making plans and such to catch the enemy. The villain was also fairly memorable and made for a good antagonist. I’ll talk more about her in the final special review. The 2nd special in a trilogy is usually more for set up than anything else and that’s exactly the case here. The third special is where everything finally connects and we learn who is really pulling the strings here. Lets just say that everything has been leading up to this moment.

Overall 7/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Dance Magic Review


It’s time to look at the first of 3 Equestria Girl shorts. Initially I was going to review the 3 specials as one post as some sites seem to list it as season 1 episodes 1-3, but at the same time it’s hard to find an actual title for what that series would be. It sort of tows the line between being 3 separate specials and a quick miniseries. To make it simple I figured I would just treat it as 3 quick specials. As such these reviews will be a bit smaller since it’s like reviewing an episode.

In this special, the Mane 7 are trying to earn some money to repair Camp Everfree after the events of the film. Unfortunately things are not going very well on this front. The group has not made a lot of money and the deadline is almost here. That’s when Rarity has the idea of entering a Dance competition where the grand prize would give them all the money they need. The risk is that the entry fee will clean them out so they either win it all or lose everything. The rest of the MLP members reluctantly agree to this. Rarity is confident that they will win, but another wrinkle is thrown into the plan when a group of rival classmates steal Rarity’s idea for the show. With only minutes remaining, can Rarity think of a way to still claim first place?

This plot has been used before in the main series where some characters stole Rarity’s ideas as well. As she has the mark of generosity that makes her a very easy target for hooligans like this. It can be a bit annoying to see Rarity so oblivious, but this is why she isn’t the leader of the team. You can bet that this wouldn’t have worked on Sunset Shimmer or Starlight Glimmer. It’s a good conflict here as the heroes can naturally go and beat these kids up with their super powers or they can make the heroic call and let them be. I’d at least report them, but it’s your word vs theirs which makes things fishy.

Alas, this special isn’t really about big conflicts and such. The heroes decide to help the bullies out anyway since they were so desperate. It turns out that these students weren’t so bad after all and all of that. It’s a bit hard to swallow of course, but I suppose it is what it is. The Mane 7 have always been pretty good at forgiving people so it’s not exactly surprising that it would play out this way. I do think Sunset was ready to fight if necessary though which is why she’s such a good character.

This was a good way to start off the trilogy as we got some good musical beats during the dances. The special had a lot of energy throughout and had good writing. The animation looks pretty similar to the movies although naturally it’s not quite as detailed. It’s bright and colorful which is the important thing. I’d compare the animation to Rescue Bots or something of that nature. It won’t be winning any awards, but it’s not bad either.

From the villains, Sugarcoat is annoying though. She’s not grateful in the slightest and is quick to mock the heroes even once they are all on the same side. She seems to think that she is a little better than everyone else and her arrogance is unwarranted. Look, I’m all for arrogant characters, but if you just got saved by someone in this contest you probably shouldn’t be talking tough for a while. The others may have also started out as villains, but at least they knew to stay quiet once the Mane 7 had pity on them.

Overall, Dance Magic shows that it’s good to be kind, but you also have to be ready for all of the cheaters in the world. They aren’t going to just let you get past without a fight. It’s one thing to help someone out if they seem nervous, but if you’re in a competition you shouldn’t show off your routine before you have it securely patented and registered. Rarity taught us these valuable life lessons. If you haven’t seen this special yet then I’d recommend changing that. It’s pretty fun and easily works as an episode in the series.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Equestria Girls: Legend of Everfree Review


It’s time to look at the next Equestria Girls film. The first ones were pretty solid so I was confident that this one would be more of the same. It’s definitely another good installment. While I still miss the real Twilight, I suppose this version of the character is still reasonable. This movie has less action and intensity than the previous ones, but is able to focus more on the writing and emotional aspect of the characters. With quality writing throughout there really isn’t much to dislike here.

The film starts with Twilight and the gang heading to a forest for summer camp. They’re all eager to participate in the various activities. They can finally feel like normal people again after their crazy magical adventures in the previous films. Unfortunately Twilight is having a tough time relaxing because her evil alter ego is determined not to let her succeed. At this point, she is out of options and starts to think that she may be doomed to plummet into the darkness. Sunset decides to help her, but meanwhile the Mane 6 are being wrecked by their own powers. Can Sunset help these poor teens or will they have to learn to fend for themselves?

One interesting part of the Equestria Girls section has always been how Sunset took over the leadership role. The rest of the Mane 6 appear to be lost without her and tend to panic quite a lot. I suppose they have less magical experience than their pony counterparts so this makes sense, but they really tend to pale in comparison to the others. Without Sunset and Twilight they would have given up many times over. None of them get particularly large roles here as it’s all about the 2 leaders, but they’re still around of course. I am glad we got to see their super forms again as that’s always pretty cool.

As always Sunset is pretty great here. She doesn’t jump to conclusions even when the facts appear to be self evident and she makes sure everyone calms down so nobody does anything crazy. Sunset also acts as the veteran of the group and constantly gives everyone sound advice. She also doesn’t mince words or beat around the bush. You can see how she is clearly the best member here. Sunset just gives the whole group a lot of focus and determination that they wouldn’t otherwise have. That’s not a skill you can just learn.

Meanwhile, this is one of Twilight’s weaker appearances I’m afraid. She spends most of the film being scared of her inner darkness. It’s a plot point that is as old as time and it’s certainly not bad to be afraid. That being said, she just gets less time to really look good as a result. At least this film does mainly dodge the romance angle that plagued the last few films. Trust me, that’s a subplot that you will be glad is gone. It didn’t actually add anything to the story. Granted, we did get some minor tricky moments with Timber, but fortunately they weren’t occurring often.

I’ll give the film credit for giving us a proper climax. The main antagonist actually gets super powers which I was not expecting to see. That was pretty cool. We also did get a bit of a fight towards the end or at least you could call it a skirmish. Having everyone transform into their powered up forms was just what I was hoping to see. It was a nice way to end the film and completed the experience. It makes all the difference.

There were two new characters for this movie so lets quickly talk about them. One of these is Gloriosa. She runs the camp and is very enthusiastic about making it a good time for everyone. She seems nice enough and since it’s a lot of work it is good that she has a cheerful disposition. I’d say she made for a fun new character. Unfortunately, Timber is not nearly as good. The guy can be pretty annoying at times and gets too much screen time. Ultimately you never feel like he has a handle on the situation.

The animation is pretty consistent as always. If you liked the animation for the previous installments then you will certainly enjoy this one as well. It’s flash style so the colors all look pretty good even if the designs don’t have that 3D depth to them. I certainly wouldn’t give the graphics a thumbs down. What is a little surprising is that this movie doesn’t have as many songs as you would expect. They are noticeably absent. I suppose MLP doesn’t always have to break out the songs but you’ll have come to expect them after a while. The soundtrack isn’t bad, but you just feel like you are missing something without them.

Overall, This is a pretty good Equestria Girls installment. The change of locale is pretty fun. A forest is about as different from a school as you can get right? The movie plays out like an extended episode would and it works smoothly. You have your main story, problem, and then resolution. It all ties together pretty well. There may not be a lot of stakes this time around, but the references to the previous film do remind you that the supernatural enemies could be around any corner. I’d recommend checking this film out. The writing is on point and it’s an enjoyable experience. I do hope that down the road we can see the Mane 6 contribute a bit more though. Don’t get me wrong, Sunset can handle her own movies just fine, but the old guard should at least get something to do other than watch during all of the crucial moments.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Friendship Games Review


It’s time to take a look at the third Equestria Girls film. While the first 2 tried to be taken very seriously as slice of life films with a little danger and tension thrown in this one opts for a more low key experience. Instead of a very dark and mysterious intro song during the credits we get a very happy piece. Instead of seeing a thief break into Equestria and stealing a relic during the opening scene we have…Rainbow Dash pulling a prank on the main characters. Sunset even breaks the third wall to let us know that there won’t be any big end of the world stuff this time. It’s a bold move on the writers part but not necessarily a bad one. Not every film has to be a life and death scenario. Sometimes it’s fun just to see the heroes hanging out…but if that’s the case then why did I feel sad for a split second?

Well, the plot of the film is that the Friendship Games are coming up. Rainbow Dash wants the team to be prepared to give it their 100% during this competition because anything less than a gold trophy will be disappointing for her. I can understand the sentiment but she has to realize that the rest of her teammates aren’t quite on her level. Still, she is confident that they can win, especially since the Mane 6 can Pony up when they start singing. Sunset thinks that the games sound like a lot of fun, but none of the characters invite her to sing with them so she doesn’t say anything. Still, she senses that something is wrong. Someone is draining the last remnants of magic from this world and that’s not a good thing.

Meanwhile we then cut away to the second part of the plot. Most good films let you see both sides of the situation and this one is no exception. Just as we had the heroes earlier now as get to see the drainer. False Twilight Sparkle has appeared in the world and she is trying to find out why there is magic in her seemingly normal world. She starts to drain the Mane 6 of their abilities while also helping her school win the Friendship games. Twilight isn’t a bad person, she’s just been making a lot of bad decisions. As for the Friendship Games part, she is being blackmailed into entering by her principal. Losing isn’t an option so if she has to crush the Mane 6 in order to succeed…so be it!

I knew we would eventually get to see Twilight Sparkle of this world so it was nice to finally have her make a debut appearance. She definitely seems like a very reasonable character and I think it’s fair to say that she is a good character. She takes things in stride for the most part and it’s nice to see her hold her own against the Mane 6. It also opened the door for a school against school rivalry. While none of the students like Twilight, they do go to her defense when the Mane 6 arrive. While the film sets up some parallels between the characters for a nice rivalry it unfortunately doesn’t go anywhere. It was still a cool scene though and I appreciate the film trying to give the other characters some personality there. Twilight ultimately comes close to forsaking everything for power and shows that she may not have the strongest will power of the group. No matter though, she is still the strongest and even Sunset was losing in their skirmish.

Yes, this film actually had a cool climax with a real fight in it. After the last two films I was a little worried about how this one would be handled, but it turns out that my worries were unfounded. I am very happy to report that you can expect some lasers to be thrown. I’m also fine with Twilight having the edge since no matter what universe it is you would expect her to have the strongest abilities. It’s why I would like her to go all out in the main show a little more since we can plainly see just how much potential she has at her disposal.

While the animation and soundtrack aren’t quite as dynamic as in the first two films I would say that it still holds up well. As I mentioned earlier this film isn’t trying to be cinematic and opts to act like it’s just another episode. That’s not a bad thing though as the classic episodes are pretty solid so if anything the movie is trying to puts its fans at ease right away. We get some nice songs during the movie as well which were nice. If the film had been longer we could have seen more events before the final one. I like to think that the Cutie Mark Crusaders may have ended up stealing the show. They’d probably ace these events. The short length helps the film keep its tight pacing, but I think adding in another 20 minutes would have helped the movie flesh out its various subplots.

Of course, you can’t have an MLP film without the Mane 6 getting into more disagreements. This part of the film feels a little forced as the friends should be over this kind of thing by now. They’re all getting on each other’s nerves for minor things like Rarity making costumes for everyone, Pinkie Pie not liking how the group is taking things seriously, Fluttershy’s music being annoyed (Slightly more major) etc. This paves the way for Sunset to show up and remind the heroes that she is their true leader. It was nice to see Sunset step up and everything, but I do think that the main characters shouldn’t fall to pieces so quickly. It just goes to show that they need Twilight or Sunset around for guidance. As always I would say that Rainbow Dash was the best of the main characters though. She’s here to win and doesn’t believe in holding back. The others could learn a thing or two from her. Still, none of the characters are bad, they’ve all got their moments.

Overall, The Friendship Games were fun. I’m always up for a competition and since the film also added in a little extra danger in the climax I was certainly hyped for that. I do think that the plot for this film can feel a little similar to the last one since they’re both competitions in a way, but singing is a lot different than running a relay race so I’ll let that slide. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would recommend doing so. It’s a fun movie that has the right balance of slice of life with a little action by the end. What else could you ask for? We’ll see how the next film fares as the heroes head to the forest.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks Review


Looks like it’s time to take a look at the next Equestria Girls film. The first one was pretty fun and it’s always nice to see the Mane 6 in new adventures. I don’t know nearly as much about this human spinoff series as the Pony one, but I am slowly becoming quite knowledgeable on the subject. While this film dials down the stakes and such from the first film, it’s a pretty solid adventure as well. The film’s also quite short, but still manages to give us quite a few songs. I would have liked it to have been a little longer though so we could have seen some of the other teams.

The film starts off with Twilight stopping Sunset Shimmer from destroying the world and the effects are felt even as far as a little cafe on the mainland. There we see 3 villains who realize that magic has now entered the human world. They decide that this is the perfect opportunity to take over the world and so they enter the local school singing competition as transfer students. Sunset Shimmer quickly realizes that this characters have some kind of mysterious ability so she gathers the Mane 6 and even brings in Twilight Sparkle from Ponyville. Can these fighters stop this trio of danger or will their friendships be lost to the wind?

Right away I did like the opening credits/song that was used to start the movie off. Coupled with the opening scene of the villains it made for a pretty nice way to start the film. It felt cinematic and there was a sense of danger. You always want to start a film off like this even if it was a little misleading compared to where the film would go from there. I always think you need to add something extra when you’re making a TV show into a movie. Something that immediately lets you know that you’re watching a feature film like an amazing animation upgrade (DBZ Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan) or a catchy theme. Rainbow Rocks pulled this off.

As expected the soundtrack is top notch as well. The songs are pretty fun although the villains definitely out shined the Mane 6 at least during the concert. Their songs just seemed to be better but the heroes were dealing with a lot of grief that likely held them back. Also you do have to account for the fact that we’ve heard a lot of friendship type songs already so hearing the opposite is always fun. Even in the main MLP movie the villain song ended up being one of the best. There are a bunch of solid songs in the film which are likely the highlight.

The animation’s fairly good. In this respect I don’t think it looks a whole lot different from the show or the Youtube shorts, but the animation isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. It gets the job done which is the important thing. The transformation forms of the heroes are still a blast even if they didn’t really get to fight here. The character designs are on point as well.

If the film falters a little, it’s in the climax just as with the last film. We see the villains transform and you prepare for a big fight as the heroes decide to transform as well. Then the power of music beats the villains so we don’t get a proper fight. I wouldn’t call it disappointing since I think a part of you will maybe even find this to be the expected outcome, but it’s still a little unfortunate. I would have liked to have seen the characters throw down. If anything it would probably be a stomp since Sunset and Twilight can really fight well. The others can sit back and watch the experts at work.

Now lets talk about the characters. The three villains are brand new so I’ll start with them. Adagio is the leader of the 3 and typically takes charge. She’s a reasonable villain who tries to stay serious despite one of her lackeys not being particularly competent which always harshes her vibe. Adagio’s plan was well thought out and seemed like it had a great chance at working. I don’t think there were any flaws to her character. Despite this, my favorite member of the villains was Aria. She’s fairly defiant and hints several times that she has ambitions of becoming the leader. She seems to be the most confident as well as the meanest member of the group. I would have liked to have seen her get more of a role.

Unfortunately the third character falls flat. She is Sonata and is the token comic relief character of the group. She can’t really comprehend basic english at times and is always getting upstaged by everyone. She never ultimately helps the group out and I can see why the others would constantly get upset at her. She’s likely here to ensure the villain plot never gets too serious or dark but I think cutting her out of the equation entirely would have probably been a good idea.

Now lets look at the Mane 6. They are all fighting because of the band and tensions are pretty high. Most of it can be directed at Rainbow Dash as she has decided to be a one person show. She goes on random guitar solos and never lets the others have any creative input. While she is definitely going too far, you can’t put all of the blame on her either. It is Rainbow Dash’s band after all and she was probably hurt that her friends were so quick to replace her as the leader with Twilight. There’s no reason she should have to give up the spot right? Also, the friends were forced to stop her from sweeping the floor with the other contestants during the semi’s since she was playing too good. That’s usually not a problem but in this case it would reveal the Mane 6’s true identities to the villains. All in all, Rainbow Dash was still one of the best characters here as always. She just dances to her own beat and everyone else has to try and keep up.

Rarity and Applejack don’t get to do much here but of course they aren’t happy either. Applejack doesn’t like Rarity’s designs and Rarity doesn’t like not having the designs. Pinkie Pie doesn’t do much here aside from constantly complaining that everyone is taking the competition too seriously. If I were the other characters I would agree and then cut Pinkie Pie from the team. Then of course we have Fluttershy who is sad because she’s written a few songs but Rainbow Dash never uses them. I can see why she’s a little upset there, but she should have pressed the issue more. If she mentioned the songs while everyone was around that probably would have forced Rainbow Dash to use them or to at least confront the issue.

Twilight Sparkle looks a lot better here than in the last film. That’s because her terrible romance doesn’t pop up quite as often here. I do have to list that subplot as a negative though. Whenever that guy shows up Twilight seems to go crazy and it’s weird since she is usually above such emotions. Twilight is the hardened Princess of Friendship. She oversees it without getting involved with such things. I’m hoping that for the third film this subplot finally dies out. Beyond that Twilight’s plot is about dealing with the high expectations everyone has of her. She gets past it reasonably well. I do have to call her out for another scene though and I’ll include the rest of the Mane 6.

So of course Sunset is dealing with a lot of apprehension from the other students since she used to be a bully and almost blew up the planet. It makes sense that the students would take a while to warm up to her, but the Mane 6 are past that right? Well, they constantly bring up the fact that Sunset was evil and like bragging about how they crushed her. It happens a number of times from several of the ponies to the point where it becomes a running gag. Sunset has to constantly say that she’s okay with it, but none of the ponies seem to have any social awareness. They put her in a lot of awkward situations. Then when she calls in Twilight to help and the two had made up from the first film…Twilight acts very stern/uncertain with Sunset. Why would she not take Sunset’s hand when she was trying to help her up? The long hesitation felt really forced since they were on good terms.

As for Sunset, she was a great character as expected. She is really the heart of the team. While the Mane 6 are constantly fighting and being meant to each other Sunset tries to be a shining light to them all. She always takes the hero’s route out of a problem and ultimately reminds the team why they are together. Not inviting her to sing with the band was definitely shallow of the team, but Sunset overlooked this for the greater good. I can see why she is generally accepted as the Mane 6’s leader in this part of the franchise. So far she’s done a great job of it and I’d still like to see her fight with the Ponies in the main series at some point.

Naturally there are a bunch of other characters who get to appear for a bit through cameos and guest star roles. The DJ character certainly played a pivotal role at the end. Trixie also got a big role although it certainly wasn’t her most heroic role. I can see why she would be upset though since there was a lot of cheating going on during the competition which almost robbed her of the hard work she had put into it. In general I also liked seeing everyone get competitive over the competition even if it was due to a lot of mind control shenanigans at play. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do right?

Overall, Rainbow Rocks was definitely a solid sequel to the first film. I think it’s hard to say if it beats the first one because I always like seeing the group get together for the first time, but at the end of the day we can’t have ties. I’ll say that Rainbow Rocks was an improvement and I look forward to seeing how the next film goes as well. It’ll be tough for the next movie to have as many quality songs as this one since the plot revolved around music here, but I’m sure that the series will think of a good plot. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I recommend it. It’s a pretty fun story about friendship and music. At the end of the day those things are crucial to a good movie. We even have the trope of the big cosmic characters (Luna and Celestia) looking terrible as the new villain shows them up which is always important.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Review


Let me preface this review by putting on the record that I’ve always been a fan of having characters turn humanoid. It makes for a great super form since humanoid creatures are better able to fight on a high level because of how maneuverable they are. So, when the Pony franchise decided to have the main characters become humans I was excited. Finally, the Mane 6 could fight even more powerful threats. Unfortunately, I have to say that ultimately that hasn’t seemed to be the case as of yet so I’m thinking that their pony forms are the definitive versions. Still, this was a pretty fun film and definitely one that I could recommend.

The film starts with Twilight Sparkle trying to confront her insecurities about being the new princess of Equestria. She hasn’t been having an easy time of it lately because there is just too much pressure for her. This doesn’t get any easier when Celestia’s original pupil Sunset Shimmer shows up and one shots Twilight. She steals the crown and escapes into the human world. Dazed and confused, Twilight heads into the portal, but she still isn’t ready for a confrontation. Turning into a human seems to have regressed her confidence even further so now she panics and yells constantly while needing more support from her friends. Fortunately the rest of the Mane 6 have alternate versions in this world so she has to find them all and then unite to stop the powerful Sunset Shimmer. Can they really defeat this demonic pony who is bent on destroying all of reality?

It’s a pretty epic plot. Still, I do feel compelled to let you know that this film isn’t all about the action scenes. The final fight is over in around a minute if not sooner and we don’t get to see the pony versions fight either. Honestly, the TV show probably has more fights on average. So, the film took the opposite approach from what you would have expected and used the human world as a way to nerf the ponies and to treat them more like humans. We do get teased with what the fight scenes could be like though as they all get transformation scenes and prepare to fight Sunset. Perhaps in a future film we will get to see them have a real fight if they are able to access their abilities at will.

The bulk of the film is Twilight trying to get the Mane 6 to get along. See, Sunset knew that the ponies could be a threat (Even if Rainbow Dash is the only one who can realistically fight her) so she tricked them all into not being friends anymore. It was quite easy to be honest as she just spun a few lies and convinced them all not to try and talk to each other. Well, Twilight won’t let this stand. She would have solved this puzzle even sooner if not for getting dragged into a romance plot. This is the weakest part of the film. So, Twilight meets some random guy and suddenly she is acting like a random live action heroine. Twilight Sparkle doesn’t do romance. The TV show is all about how Friendship is Magic and that’s all you need. Romance is relegated to the side characters like Big Mac who don’t really have an on screen presence in the first place. The romance naturally doesn’t go anywhere so it really wasn’t needed. It also results in the guy saving Twilight 1-2 times when she should have saved herself.

The animation looks pretty good. It’s basically the TV show, but using human designs for everyone which is fun. As a big supporter of franchises getting as many spinoffs as possible I’m all for it. The Equestria Girl spinoff series has also lasted quite a while which is definitely cool. We also get a lot of songs which is nice since the show hasn’t featured too many of those lately. The songs are pretty emotional and have a lot of heart backing them up. There aren’t enough to be called a musical, but there are certainly enough for them to be noticed.

Now lets talk about the new character Sunset Shimmer. She makes for a pretty good villain and that’s something that the series has needed. A bully type character who can fight back. The character type of an original student turning evil and escaping is a classic one that works really well. Sensui from Yu Yu Hakusho was excellent since he was a look at what Yusuke could have been if he had gone down a darker path. Sunset is essentially a dark Twilight who may be even stronger than the princess. Unfortunately we don’t get to see her in action much, but she’s definitely a fun character. That’s why it’s a shame how her character arc ended here. I think keeping her around as a long running villain would have been nice. I’m sure she’ll be a good hero as well of course, but she won’t get to show off her tougher side quite as much. I’ll be interested to see if she punches someone out in the sequel though, that’d be cool.

I’ve already spoken a bit about how Twilight Sparkle is out of character here so I won’t go into too much further detail. I will say that she was just lacking in confidence too much here. This isn’t season 1 Twilight, she’s come a long way since then. Between that and the romance she just wasn’t the main character that I’ve come to root for. I want to see more of her rage mode like against Tirek. From the other members of the Mane 6 they are played pretty straight from the show. The only ones with a big role though are Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. Fluttershy is still getting picked on and letting everyone walk all over her so she doesn’t look very good, but Rainbow Dash steals the show as always. Pretty much all of her lines are talking about how awesome she is which is excellent. I get the feeling that Sunset never tries to bully her since that wouldn’t end well. Honestly, in the end it seems like she only rules the school because the tough characters just don’t care and the rest get bullied into submission. Rainbow Dash probably would have lost in a fight since she had no powers at the time, but it would have been neat to see. The school administration is blind to the truth so the students are on their own.

I don’t think Spike needed to be brought along with Twilight and honestly she would have looked better without him since he’s just around to make her look bad. He does work well as a hostage in the climax though. Again, the climax was pretty exciting even if it did end up being rather anticlimactic at the end. I still appreciate the film giving its all in trying to get the atmosphere down just right. Now, this review may have seemed a little on the negative side as I read through it, but this was a pretty solid film. At the end of the day movies really need to fill two questions with the right answers in order to win the day.

First, “Was the film enjoyable?” This film was definitely fun. The pacing was pretty solid and you’ll be left feeling pretty good about the experience by the time it’s all over. It’s not as if this is an end of the world event. Treat the movie as a slice of life adventure with a little drama and you’re all set. Second, “Did the film make any costly mistakes?” I’m not talking about minor stuff like the Twilight romance. This is more for big things like: Did Twilight get nerfed into the ground? Was their animal violence? Bad script? Stuff like that. Equestria Girls was safe from the start for most meaningful negatives due to its rating so it was almost always guaranteed to be fairly decent. The more realistic negatives it would have to watch out for would be things like crude humor and generally bad characters. The series has always had good writing though so I had a feeling that it wouldn’t go that route. It’s a classy franchise. So, the film may have had some areas where it could have improved, but on the whole it did a good job of being quite solid.

Overall, I’m ready to see what the next film has got up its sleeve. The film did a good job of expanding on the main characters in their new world. Now that Twilight is gone we’ll see how her other self handles all of this. Will she get the memories of this latest adventure or will everyone have to clue her in? Time travel and dimension hopping are always tricky, but I’m sure that the writers have a good idea of where to go from here. I’m still waiting for a big budget crossover movie between the ponies and the humans, but we’ll see if that ever happens. It may not be necessary, but I’d like to see the two teams duke it out before eventually teaming up to take on an iconic villain from the past. We also need to see Sunset and Starlight fight since the two are both prodigies who are likely each stronger than Twilight Sparkle by a wide margin. There are a lot of good potential MLP fights come to think of it. Ah well, they’ll come in time.

Overall 7/10