So, MLP: EqG has finally been unleashed to the masses. Like many of my fellow Bronies, I went into this movie with both equal parts excitement and dread: Would it be good? Would it be bad? Would it be funny? Would it be a blatant, cynical cash-grab? Well, after seeing it, I can safely say that, yes, it is good. Not perfect, but most certainly a great flick, either with kids or without.
The story takes place after the events of the season 3 finale where (spoiler alert), Twilight has become the newest princess of Equestria. She travels with her friends to the Crystal Empire, and not long after that, her crown (the Element of Magic) is stolen by Sunset Shimmer, a former student of Celestia. Twilight must follow Sunset through a magic mirror to another world, in order to recover the crown.
However, upon arrival to this new world, she finds herself transformed into a human, and must become the "princess" of the nearby school's dance in order to recover the crown.
The plot is fairly simple, but moves along nicely, and the film never feels like it's dragging. The strong writing and characterization the show is famous for is all present and accounted for. Even in another world, everyone acts more or less how you'd expect them to, and everything that's great about the characters in the show is what's great about the characters in the movie, too.
The story even has callbacks to the original 2-parter that started the entire series, and does so in ways that feel natural.
One of the funniest bits in the movie involves Twilight's adjustment to being a human instead of a pony, and it's funny every single time they make this joke. And don't worry, if you were a fan of this concept before the movie, there's plenty of it to go around.
Sunset Shimmer does fall slightly into that "popular girl that hates the main character" trope that alot of high-school stories have, but fortunately, it's underlined with darker motives, with actual payoff in the end. Overall, the film has a notable lack of "high-school drama" garbage attached, except where actually appropriate for the story.
One clever bit of writing I'd like to highlight happens when we're first introduced to the "new" Pinkie Pie, where in a single line of dialogue, she explains: 1. Why all of the Mane 6 entering the portal to this new world would have been a bad idea (something that could have been a bit of a plot-hole otherwise), and 2. Setting up this new world for it's own possible spin-off show.
One aspect of the proceedings that caused alot of concern among the fans was the inclusion of a love interest for Twilight, Flash. Flash is one of the weaker aspects of the film, but I can't really hate him... mostly because it's really hard to hate a cardboard cutout with no personality. He's mostly just kind of there during the movie, but any scenes with him are short, and ultimately pointless. The best thing I can say about him is that he's easy to ignore, which he is. If you're THAT opposed to him, he probably won't affect your overall enjoyment of the film, and except for a MINOR IMPLICATION at the end of the flick, it's easy to just move past him and forget about him.
I'll admit, I wasn't quite sold on this new animation style before the movie came out. Especially based on the concept art and toys, it looked really odd to me. I can say with pleasure, then, that it looks MUCH better in-action than some of the trailers and art would have you believe. There's obviously been great care taken in making sure the Mane 6 are always appealing to look at. Everything's nice and bouncy and fun, and while slightly different from the show, it has merits in it's own way (sure as hell looks better than Johnny Test, that's for sure!).
In addition to the strong writing, there's plenty of the sight-gags and humorous facial expressions for all the Mane 6, yet another thing that the show is good at, that translates into the film.
There's also lots of "humanizations" of characters from the show walking around, more than the trailers let on. I won't dare spoil them, but keep your eyes peeled for a few chuckle-inducing cameos.
My only gripe in this regard is that slightly less care was given to the backround characters. While the Mane 6 always look good, you'll occasionally have those awkward moments where the backround characters just look strange. They're in the relative minority, but still worth noting, regardless.
The characters are all voiced by their voice-actors from the show. Frankly, that's all I should have to say on the matter. Everyone sounds great, the acting is great, what else do you want?
As for the music, Daniel Ingram once again lends his musical talents to the proceedings, and the songs are more-or-less as good as you've come to expect of the series. Granted, the songs are a bit more "Pop-y" than you're probably used to from the show, but they're good songs regardless.
Is Equestria Girls a perfect movie? It is not. The love interest is entirely superfluous, the backround characters are occasionally jarring, and the ending feels a bit like the writers pulled it straight out of their butts at the last second.
But is Equestria Girls an entertaining flick with buckets of charm? That, it most certainly is. Everything you love about the show is here, from the memorable characters, to the excellent humor and appealing animation.
If you're a gung-ho hater of this, based solely on the concept alone, then Equestria Girls probably won't change your mind. But if you've even got one foot on the fence, then it's hard to see how you wouldn't be able to find SOMETHING of merit about it.
And as one last thought, I'll say that I was prepared to be angry at this movie for one thing. However, I stuck around to the end of the credits, and was rewarded for my patience. Yes, this movie has a Marvel-style end credit thing for you to look out for. Fans will be pleased.
I won't give a score, but I will say that fans with an open mind should DEFINITELY check this out.
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