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Director: Jayson Thiessen
Hello everybody, and welcome to my next Duckyworth’s Thoughts review!
What can I say about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? Well, I’ll just start off by talking about my introduction to the franchise and how I feel about the show as a whole.
Well, back when the series started way back in October 2010 (I was 16 at the time in my final year of secondary school), my sister was the one who brought the show to my interest. She was listening to a remix of the Friendship is Magic theme song by LapFox Records - - and I will admit, I was one of the many people who, when I first heard about the show and heard ‘My Little Pony’ attached to the name, the inner teenage boy in me winced at the thought of watching a ‘girl’s show’, despite having watched The Powerpuff Girls growing up and liking Ruby Gloom around the same time – I know, it was a little bit dim of me to do that. But, just like many people who became part of the brony group, as soon as I started watching the show’s premiere, The Mare in the Moon, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the show.
While I was still too embarrassed to admit to my friends at school I watched it, I did really enjoy watching the show every weekend. And I will admit that while I did end up losing interest in the show around the middle of Season 5 for a while, I started watching the show again this September, and I’ve recently finished Season 7.
While there were a few little hiccups when it came to the episodes and characters that I don’t like, thankfully, they weren’t very common – and to be honest, when it comes to the best shows out there, there’ll always be some episodes/characters you don’t like. The show was one of my favourites for a long time before I lost interest a few years ago, but now I’ve rekindled my interest in the show and started drawing fanart again, it’s risen back up the ranks. If I were to rank it, it would EASILY be in the Top 10.
The characters are memorable and well written, the stories and settings are creative, the morals can be incredibly mature and even thought provoking at times, the animation is really appealing, it’s got really great songs, and – to be honest, sometimes I still feel a little bit surprised that something with ‘My Little Pony’ attached to it can have this much action and drama going on at once. I can really see why this show has gone on for so long and how it received such a large fanbase outside of the target audience, and I’m personally really happy that it’s become this popular – the show deserves it.
Also – I’ll be honest, if I didn’t start watching this show, I have a feeling that the way I write characters in my own stories would probably be VASTLY different. I no longer feel afraid to go into more feminine aspects of my characters or my stories without fearing about being judged by it, and the writing on the show has helped inspire my own writing – along with the other series that inspire me a lot (Spongebob Squarepants/Disney/Pixar/Danganronpa/anime that I enjoy, for example).
So, when it came to a show this popular, I was expecting there to be a film based on the series coming out, and indeed, in 2012, Friendship Is Magic head writer Meghan McCarthy commented on the possibility of a feature film based on the series, saying that it was not in her control whether the film would be made, and surely enough, in 2014, the film was announced, being produced through Hasbro Studio’s film label Allspark Pictures.
And now that the film has come out, what are my overall thoughts on the film?
I…. really enjoyed it, I’m happy to say. I mean, it has some noticeable flaws here and there and it’s nowhere near perfect (but then again, nothing is), but I did find this film to be a LOT of fun. I heard the film sadly underperformed in the US (but it made a LOT of money over here in the UK and had a longer theatrical run than in the US, and MLP:FiM is quite popular over here – one of many reasons why I’m proud to be a Brit ) - it was rather harshly judged by people who weren’t familiar with the show, and even some fans of the show thought it was underwhelming, but while I can personally see where the complaints are coming from, I respectfully disagree with them and don’t think the film deserves the amount of hate it seems to have received from people. I mean, it did make back over ten times its budget at the box office, so that should be praiseworthy. And if I’m being brutally honest, it baffles me as to how a film based on TEEN TITANS GO did better at the cinemas than this film - maybe because it has more superhero references in it, that people would be more familiar with?
But to be fair, if I wasn’t a fan of the show, my opinions on this film would probably be VASTLY different – thinking back to the first Spongebob Squarepants Movie, I might not have loved the film so much if I wasn’t a fan of the show. This film, unfortunately, might not be the best gateway into the show for new time fans (especially seen as it takes place inbetween Season 7 and 8)…. But as someone who has been with the show since the beginning, I can see the appeal to the film.
One thing I have to really praise the film for is the animation.
Rather than using Adobe Flash, the animation program that is used for the show, this film used an animation program called Toon Boom Harmony, a program that works as a kind of an integration of 2D and 3D animation, which has been used in products like The Simpsons, The Princess and the Frog, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
According to art director Rebecca Dart, they wanted to keep to the look and feel of the television show, and the use of Toon Boom Harmony enabled them to add "simple yet impactful changes" to the designs for the big screen, such as depth and shadows for their eyes and ears, and the impression of heart-shaped indentations on the bottom of their hooves. The production crew used simple 3D modelling in another program, Autodesk Maya, as to determine camera locations, lens, and angles, rough lighting, character and prop placement, and which way the characters would be looking and expressing.
And let me tell you right now… in my opinion, the animation in this film is INCREDIBLE. I mean, the show itself has some good animation, but in this… WOW. The animation is able to capture a lot more expression on the characters (there are a lot of moments where the film manages to show some VERY expressive faces and they capture the moods perfectly in each scene – including quite a few memorable doofy expressions in the more comedic moments ), the lighting and special effects are all beautiful to behold (especially on the magic and the backgrounds ), and while it clearly looks more detailed than the show, it still looks like the new designs, settings and characters belong in the same universe.
Now, when it comes to my main criticisms against this film, it’s probably more to do with the film’s PLOT. A lot of people say that this film sadly follows easily identifiable plot elements that show up a lot in modern animated films. And…… yeah, I would be lying if I said I couldn’t see where they were coming from. To be fair, there are a number of animated film clichés I noticed while watching it -The Hero’s Journey, the main characters having an argument and falling out near the end of the film and then realising the errors of their ways before the climax, a dance party ending, and also a fake out death in one scene are some of the clichés this plays off, and when it comes to the writing from the show itself, it does repeat a few of the beats from the show here and there, I will admit – there are some fans of the show who claim it doesn’t work as well as some of the season finales from the show. But to be honest, having clichés in itself is not a bad thing if the film is fun and keeps my interest - and I thought it was a lot of fun and it really kept my interest.
I do personally really love the stakes in this film. The film starts off with the Friendship Festival being sabotaged by the Storm King’s forces, and Tempest Shadow petrifying three of the four princesses, and it was pretty freaky to watch. I know that the princesses have been accused of being made weakened unfairly in the past, but as well as it being kind of necessary for the plot to get started, I see it as making sense that the princesses would not necessarily know about what the Storm King’s army has up its sleeve if they’ve come from outside of Equestria and they’re unfamiliar with them. Also, to Cadence’s defence, she did try to set up a shield to defend Celestia and Luna, and while it does strike me as a little bit odd that Celestia didn’t try to fight back straight and instead left herself open to attack (I’ll admit that bit felt a little weird that Celestia didn’t try to fight back there when she has fought threats in the past before), I see it as her sending Luna to safety and trying to bide them some time. And thankfully, Rainbow saves Twilight in the nick of time. (But for the record, I did roll my eyes when they made it so DERPY HOOVES was the one who blocked Tempest’s fourth petrifying orb – did it HAVE to be her, writers?!)
And it makes the first act of the film pretty damn intense, in my opinion – things quickly turn south very quickly, and some of the visuals and the action DWARF what we see in the show. Hearing Celestia mention the ‘Queen of the Hippos’ (really Hippogriffs, but she was cut off before she could finish – and yes, they make a few jokes out of this ), the Mane Six and Spike travel outside of Equestria to find help to stop the Storm King.
Speaking of the Spongebob Movie, some elements of this film’s plot reminds me quite a bit of that film – our heroes have to save someone who has been frozen (albeit here petrified in stone as opposed to ice), travelling outside of their homeland while a threatening villain is constantly on their tail, and it also follows the Hero’s Journey. But hey, just for the record, this isn’t a bad thing. A friend of mine raised a good point that it seems a bit like an animated family film from the 80s or 90s, and the film moving to different and interesting set pieces reminds me a bit of films like Labyrinth, The Last Unicorn or The Dark Crystal in a few little bits. It’s a plot that we’ve seen done before, but I really enjoyed the interactions the characters have with the new faces they find, the action was great, and to be honest, when it comes to the clichés I mentioned earlier, it does make sense to me why they’re used here, and I do really like the sense of adventure that this film has.
The main characters are travelling OUTSIDE of Equestria, so it makes sense for them to not be used to the denizens of the outside world and think the ways of inhabitants of Ponyville would be different to those in, say, Kluge Town, and when it comes to the shocking scene Twilight has later on in the film when she calls out her friends for not taking the journey seriously, it does make sense to me why she would be angry with them (I’ll address this scene later, but I personally like how this scene played out). And when it comes to the fake out death, saving one of the villains and the argument towards the end, I feel it does fit the story, and when it comes to the fake out death, it actually shows a side of Pinkie Pie I don’t think I’ve seen for a long time, and despite the fact it’s clear Twilight is going to be alright (Season 8 came out, after all ), I actually did tear up during that scene due to the reactions of the characters to it, and it IS something that could very well have killed Twilight – I don’t take issues with the fake out death trope when it’s done well, and I think this is the best way they could have done it.
I also like how most of the main cast help out the characters they come across and all contribute in their own way and according to their own Element of Harmony from the show. I mean sure, Applejack and Fluttershy don’t contribute as much as everyone else, but Rarity shows generosity in showing unconditional help to Capper by fixing up his tattered coat and expects nothing in return, Rainbow Dash inspires Captain Celaeno and her crew to remain loyal to their cause and become awesome sky pirates again, Pinkie Pie brings laughter back into the Hippogriff’s lives, Spike stays with Twilight in her time of need and manages to be surprisingly badass in a few good action scenes (I mean, this IS the dragon that saved The Crystal Empire and all, but he gets some pretty awesome scenes when he lights a couple of Storm Guards on fire ), and the charitable and altruistic Twilight is willing to save Tempest from her untimely death by being swept up in the storm at the end and reminds Tempest of the magic of friendship.
However, while I don’t have a problem with the initial premise of the Mane Six travelling outside of Equestria and finding help to stop the Storm King, there are some bits I do take a bit of an issue with. The final fates of Kluge Town and Mt Aris are left unaddressed at the end of the film – seen as the film points out how much of a hellhole Kluge Town is in particular, it feels a bit surprising that the film doesn’t address what happens to its denizens now that the Storm King is gone – I mean, I ASSUME things turned out alright, but it feels a bit jarring that they show how bad the town is and don’t address it at the end or show them clean up the town. Also, I do wish that we spent a bit more time in some of these places – while I enjoyed what we saw, I can see where some critics are coming from when they say this feels like a group of episodes of the show as opposed to a film – the pacing does seem to speed by a bit here and there.
Also, when it comes to the quest to find the Queen of the Hippogriffs, it does feel a little bit odd that the Hippogriffs turn out to be more of a red herring – while one of the Hippogriffs, Princess Skystar, is one of the friends who help the Mane Six in the end, Celestia wanted Luna to find Queen Nova’s Pearl, but in the end, the pearl isn’t used to defeat the Storm King. I just find it interesting how it wasn’t the original plan that saved the day but rather creating a motley crew through friendship – unless this was some kind of strange secret test of character from Celestia towards Twilight or something just in case she made it – I wouldn’t put it past Celestia to do that, and she does say at the start of the film during Twilight’s presentation that she has all the magic she needs to improve the Friendship Festival – and she does that. But I will admit I would have liked to see that be confirmed or something – but it is sweet how the first thing Celestia yells after she’s brought back to life is Twilight’s name – she has been shown to see Twilight as a daughter figure at times in the show before, after all.
I also really enjoy the way that pretty much the whole film involves the Mane Six finding and befriending jaded individuals who needed friends to guide them through difficult times, and all of the friends they make come together to assist them in their fight against The Storm King. Capper, Captain Celaeno, Princess Skystar and even TEMPEST SHADOW are all characters with bad pasts to them who for some reason or another were losing faith in friendship, and the Mane Six all helped them in some way to regain faith in others. I know that this whole premise can sound a little sappy, but similar to when the show does it, I find it really heartwarming, personally, and the fact that it manages to do it without becoming overly saccharine (A Troll in Central Park is an example of when it gets too saccharine ), is something I’ve always respected the show for, and this film is no exception. I know it sounds a bit sappy for me to say this, but it reminds me a bit of Undertale in the sense that characters that seem untrustworthy are in reality broken individuals that need the help of others to get back on the straight and narrow – we need something idealistic like this every once in a while, I think.
As well as the action in this film being great, I have to say that one element in the film that I adore is the COMEDY. I mean it, I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard while watching a film for a long, long time. When the film starts off in the first three minutes by Twilight nervously smiling ridiculously – a scene which ALREADY had me bursting out into laughter – I knew this was going to be good.
As well as the improved animation on the characters leading to some incredibly hilarious facial expressions (I think my favourites other than the aforementioned Twilight smile are the one Spike has when he’s about to pass out in the desert that makes him look like he came out of Pony.Mov, Tempest’s expression when Verko is squishing her cheeks, the Storm King mocking the idea of friendship and a LOT of Pinkie Pie’s expressions), the film also has some great moments with the character interactions, such as it looking like Celeano is going to make the main characters walk the plank but then stopping for a lunch break, Spike becoming a puffer fish (‘Oh Twilight, WHYYYY?!’), Capper saying that the ponies have a contagious disease that make body parts fall off and then one guy grabs his crotch (You know, for kids! ), a lot of the Storm King’s lines (in fact, the Storm King IN GENERAL) and the reveal of Tempest Shadow’s real name at the end.
I did laugh out loud quite often when watching this film, and if I were to compare it to an episode from the show, I’d say this film could potentially be as funny as The Saddle Row Review or Pinkie Pride. If I were to compare it to another film I’ve seen recently, I’d actually admit that I watched Road to El Dorado recently, and the films are probably comparable in terms of how often I laughed. But I do like that the comedy in this film doesn’t distract from the more heartfelt and serious moments that this film has – and this film has a lot of those too that I really enjoyed.
All of the songs in this film are ones that I really love (We Got the Beat is probably the one I remember the least, to be honest, and I don’t have a lot to say for that one) – all of them are great in their own way, so here are my thoughts on them. Daniel Ingram, the composer of almost all of the songs in the show, really outshined himself here.
We Got This Together may be a bit of a cliched song by this point (I think that after Best Friends Until the End of Time in All Bottled Up, this kind of song might be becoming a little bit of a dead horse as there’s been lots of songs in the show with this theme), but I still enjoyed it. As well as being a good introduction, I like how it shows off all of the Mane Six and all of the different members have fitting instrumentals for their verses (Rainbow Dash with rock, Fluttershy with bird song, Applejack with country, Rarity with gentle orchestral and Pinkie Pie with polka), and it was fun seeing the cameos from other characters from the show like Bulk Biceps, Cheese Sandwich, Granny Smith, Big Mac, Starlight Glimmer, Trixie and Coco Pommel.
I’m The Friend You Need is Capper’s song, and while the whole premise of the song is him tricking them before he has a realisation about what he’s doing, it is still a catchy number , and I do really like the visuals of Capper guiding them through the town’s back alleys – and it reminds me a little bit of a more sinister version of ‘Friend Like Me’ from the Genie (fitting, because Capper is a little bit like Aladdin ). I also really love the Spanish instrumentals in the song, and I think it fits Capper to a T – I especially like the music in the bit when Capper uses the umbrella to protect Fluttershy from the bats.
Time to Be Awesome, as well as starting with Twilight breaking the fourth wall and saying ‘this isn’t time for a song’ , is as awesome as the title leads us to believe. While it may not be the catchiest song in the film, I do like how the song has a sense of adventure to it swelling up, and the bits where Celaeno sings ‘I feel the light stirring deep inside’, Rainbow tosses the Storm King’s rule book overboard and Spike and the wall-eyed pirate are drumming are probably my favourite bits here.
One Small Thing is probably the catchiest song in the whole film, with Pinkie Pie teaching Princess Skystar and the other hippogriffs how to have fun again. I heard that there were reports of people dancing in their seats in the cinema while it was playing, and I can see why. I heard Kristen Chenoweth was in the Broadway musical Wicked, and she definitely shows her talent here, much like the rest of the cast. As well as it being pretty sad that Skystar’s first line in the song is ‘I know you have important things, so it’s okay, just go’ – aww, it picks up very quickly, and it sounds very jazzy and show tune-y, which I really enjoyed. I also really enjoyed the colourful visuals in the song and the theme regarding Pinkie Pie teaching Skystar that even though they can’t be there for very long, little bits of levity really can make a difference.
Open Up Your Eyes is what a lot of people consider to be the best song in the whole film, and I’ll admit that it’s mine here too. First of all – it’s the villain song in the film, so chances are it’s going to be great from the get go, and it actually tops This Day Aria, in my opinion - sorry Chrysalis, your song is great too, but I think this song beats yours. Just please don’t subject me to anymore nightmare faces, please. As well as having the best and most powerful instrumentals, and Emily Blunt’s singing being top notch (I legitimately got goosebumps throughout the song a few times – especially the first time she sings ‘Open Up Your Eyes’ – the musical score in the background swelling just fits really well – and yes, that includes the fire bursts in the background), I like how it starts off with Twilight scowling at Tempest, thinking she’s just a crazed psychopathic minion, but then when Tempest reveals her backstory, it fades out and we see Twilight’s mouth open in shock and sadness as she can see through Tempest’s perspective and why she doesn’t trust others. I also like how the music becomes more gentle during the flashback, and Tempest’s voice drops into a softer tone, especially when it reaches the memory of the Ursa Minor attack – is it me, or am I the only one who imagines Tempest trying to fight back tears at the memory there? It certainly puts all the times throughout the film when she says ‘all this power wasted on parties’, ‘trusting strangers? Big mistake’ and her outburst at Grubber into perspective. I think the lyrics really fit too – the ‘give up your sweet fantasy land’ at first may just seem like Tempest telling Twilight to give up Equestria, but it probably also represents Tempest’s thoughts on friendship, and when you think about the fact that Twilight was technically caged by friendship (the Mane Five screwing up a few times is the reason why Tempest even found her in the first place). It’s just a fantastic song – and it’s easily up there with my favourite villain songs (I think I may need to update my list at some point, because this will make it pretty high up there. )
While I will admit that Songbird Serenade didn’t really stand out to me (all she really does is show up and sing a song and not really do much else), Rainbow shows that Sia does have fantastic talent as a singer. I know it takes part during the dance party ending of the film, but it is a really catchy song, and listening to the lyrics is pretty interesting – it actually sums up some good themes of the show in my opinion (in looking past the tough exterior of lost individuals and giving them a chance ), and I’ve heard quite a few people say the lyrics are also fitting to Twilight giving Tempest a second chance by the end.
Off to See the World, the credits song, is performed by a Danish band named Lukas Graham, and it’s a catchy little song to end the film on. Not much to say about this one, but it was a good one to end the film on.
When it comes to the rest of the instrumental score in the film, I do really love a lot of the music here. Daniel Ingram is a fantastic composer in the show itself, but with the budget allowing for a full orchestra here, the music is incredibly powerful.
But now onto my absolute favourite part of the film, which is also the same aspect which is my favourite from the show too – the characters. While I do love the plots the show has, I think the characters are probably my favourite element of it, and it’s no different to this film. As well as the voice actresses we got returning putting in fantastic performances (Tara Strong, Tabitha St Germain, Cathy Weseluck, Andrea Libman, Ashleigh Ball, Nicole Oliver and the others), I did like the way the characters were written.
Arguments have been made that the Mane Six are out of character in this film, but I personally disagree with that. True, Applejack and Fluttershy are surprisingly absent throughout a lot of it, but I think the characterisation of the others is alright.
When it comes to Twilight Sparkle, she’s still as obsessed with schedules and impressing her role models as much as ever (including perhaps the closest to a regression to a Lesson Zero style smile she has for a while ), but when it comes to the infamous argument she has with the rest of the Mane Six, I honestly don’t hate her for that and I can see where she’s coming from. To put it into context, Twilight and friends had finally come across the pearl of the hippogriffs that Celestia mentioned, and in one of the darkest and saddest moments in the whole SERIES so far, Twilight asked her friends to throw a party for the hippogriffs so that they could be distracted enough for her to STEAL the pearl from them, and then when they are banished by Queen Novo, the Mane Five all confront her over it, and Twilight Sparkle says ‘Well, maybe I would have been better off without FRIENDS LIKE YOU!!’ ……………………….damn, Twilight.
Yes, considering the fact that in Shadow Play, the Season 7 finale, Twilight had arguably her highest point in the whole series (convincing the Pillars of Equestria that Stygian wasn’t completely lost and saved him), here she has perhaps her LOWEST point in the whole series. And yet, while she was in the wrong for saying that, I don’t hate her for it, and I’ll explain why. The scene is tear-jerking in how harsh Twilight’s word were, but it did make some sense to me.
First of all, as soon as she says that, regret IMMEDIATELY sets in judging by Twilight’s expression afterwards. Second, looking at it from everyone’s perspective, both sides had a point here. Yes, Twilight was wrong to practically blow up at her friends for trying to make friends, but she was NOT in the wrong for thinking that the others weren’t taking the journey seriously. The Storm King is a very serious threat, and Twilight is constantly being hunted down by Tempest, while the others seem to have been treating it as another easy adventure for them. In Twilight’s views, they practically spent time fraternising with a conman who was only using them (not knowing about Capper second guessing himself), made a Rainboom that gave away their position, drew attention to themselves in Kludge Town and gave away their position, and while they did make friends along the way that helped them in the end, I can see why Twilight would be frustrated here, and the other members of the Mane Six, while calling Twilight out solely for getting them kicked out of Seaquestria, seemed to have been ignoring their own faults that constantly put them in trouble.
I do like how this scene was written, and I feel it plays out showing that both sides have a point and both have flaws, and I like how her friends don’t flat out abandon her after this, but are more giving her space to think things out. And to be honest – as close as friends can get, there will always be times when you argue with each other – it’s all a part of friendship. And I did feel heartbroken for Twilight and Pinkie Pie in particular here – the voice acting Tara Strong and Andrea Libman provided for the scene was fantastic and they showed a range here I don’t think we’ve seen much in the show.
When it comes to the rest of the main cast, I did like seeing all of their traits from the show being represented here – in particular Pinkie was as bubbly and jovial as ever (also, during the climax, she seems to be slipping back into Pinkamena mode when she starts pelting one of the guards with cupcakes ), Rarity was much of a generous big ham as ever (she stopped to check her reflection when she was falling out of the sky pirates’ ship and was fainting on the steps towards Mount Aris), Rainbow Dash is still excitable and adventure loving, and Spike kept his deadpan snarker moments while also being loyal to his friends and being there for Twilight in her lowest moment. While I was wishing that the rest of the Princesses played a larger role in the film, I did like the way that most of the main characters from the show played a role in the film – and I didn’t think their characterisation was a problem.
Speaking of characterisation, one point in particular that I think was particularly interesting was the fact that out of all of the Mane Six, Pinkie Pie was the one who Twilight seemed to interact with most in this film. She has the big argument with her later on in the film, and when it comes to the scene where Twilight gets sucked out into the storm with the Storm King, PINKIE is the one who looks like she takes it the hardest. When she cries in the show, it’s normally the over the top ocular gushers used for comedic purposes, but in this film, Pinkie Pie shows she can be more subdued every so often, and when Twilight gets sucked out, Pinkie Pie’s expression and breakdown is heartbreaking to watch… Also, seen as Twilight was the first one of the Mane Six she met in the show’s premiere (even if Pinkie Pie simply gasped at her when they first met ), it makes some kind of sense here to focus on her like they do, in my opinion.
As well as the performances from the existing characters from the show, I really enjoyed most of the new characters we got (besides Songbird Serenade - she was just.... there ). Grubber was a little.... meh - not the worst comic relief I've seen, but he wasn't the best either. I heard that his voice actor Michael Pena admitted in an interview that Grubber was literally just added to say funny stuff, and… it didn’t really work, in my opinion. All he does throughout most of the film is talk about cake and pies, and I just don’t think his comedy was as effective as say, Lefou from Beauty and the Beast. He’s not ‘worst character list’ material or anything, but he wasn’t as effective as the other cast members. I think the Diamond Dogs from back in Season 1 are a more effective version of this character.
Perhaps the most popular character from this film is Tempest Shadow, and, seen as she was pretty damn high on my Favourite Characters List I uploaded recently, I think it can be said that I join those people. She is one of the best villains out of the series so far, in my opinion, and Emily Blunt’s vocal performance just FITS. I heard that a lot of Tempest’s facial expressions were inspired by Emily Blunt during recording sessions, and there are quite a few moments in the film where she’s probably one of the most expressive characters in the whole cast – the best is probably the scene where Grubber accidentally makes an insensitive remark about her horn and she can’t hold her anger in. The animation there was fantastic.
Emily Blunt felt that Tempest Shadow would rarely raise her voice, and that tranquil fury would make her more intimidating, and…. Wow, she wasn’t kidding. While she (thankfully) doesn’t have the nightmare faces or disturbing means of feeding that Chrysalis has, she is still a pretty intense villain throughout a lot of the film. As well as liking her design, she’s always constantly one step behind the main cast, doesn’t pull her punches in attacking with her strength, magic or with the petrifying orbs, has those awesome effects when her magic just sparks out everywhere (I also like the touches that when she’s angry or stressed it’s much more volatile and harsh, but at the end when Twilight gives her another chance and she’s happier, it’s more stable and manageable ), has a… pretty intimidating voice and I think the attempts to make her a more sympathetic villain really work.
While villains who have sympathetic backstories and/or get given a second chance by the heroes have been done in the past before on Friendship is Magic (Nightmare Moon/Luna, Sunset Shimmer, Starlight Glimmer, Stygian and now Tempest are just some examples), and I understand why a few members of the fanbase are a little tired of it, I personally don't mind it - as much as I do like well done irredeemable villains (Chrysalis, King Sombra, Tirek and the Storm King are villains I personally really enjoy ), I do think the ones who have a possibility of turning over a new leaf are still nice to see, as I do like it when we have villains have some humanity left in them and understandable motives every once in a while, and I personally like that a lot of the reformed villains have different reasons why they turned to evil deeds in the first place, so it doesn't seem too familiar.
With Tempest, I noticed that she seems to be the most beloved of the tragic villains in the series so far next to Sunset Shimmer, and while I personally think Stygian's backstory was technically harsher (always been seen as someone on the sidelines, he wanted to try to replicate the Pillars' artefacts so he could have the strength to fight alongside them, but they thought he wanted to steal their power and forced him out without letting him explain himself, and when he returned after the Pony of Shadows 'offered' him the strength he wanted, they sealed him away for 1000 years so that he's now in a time he doesn't recognised and his family are all dead and they were about to banish him for good until Twilight intervened - ALL BECAUSE OF A MISUNDERSTANDING ), I can really see why everyone feels for Tempest - myself included.
The fact she used to be a happy child until she got attacked by an Ursa Minor (by the way, she must have been a TOUGH filly to have SURVIVED that - she doesn't even run in the flashback and tries to fight back! ), and had that scar across her eye and her horn broken, and she was practically abandoned by her friends due to them being scared of her unstable magic, causing her to lose faith in friendship and live a life of solitude and having contempt for ponies who waste all their strength and magic on parties, only caring about her horn being restored to EXTREME desperation certainly paints a picture of a tragic villain. For all intents and purpose, she was crippled due an accident, and rather than trying to help, her 'friends' practically abandoned her, and all that she can ever care about is getting her horn back while she's being manipulated by the one who's offering to 'help' her when in reality he's not going to help at all - that must have messed her up pretty badly - she got dealt a pretty bad hand in life.
Earlier on in the film, she comments that the ponies have all that power and yet waste it all on throwing parties, and…. She has a bit of a point there, I will admit. If they had focused less on domestic affairs and set up better security/military forces, the Storm King’s forces probably wouldn’t have gone as smoothly as it did, and seen as we see how rundown and dangerous Kluge Town is, a better military force probably would have stamped out the black market there and brought law and order to the streets. I also think, due to her past experiences with ‘friends’, she probably sees parties as just petty ways to celebrate something as flimsy as friendship, and seen as she comments to Twilight later that she’s ‘keeping that magic to herself’, she’s probably projecting her jealousy of those who are ‘wasting’ their magic on something she doesn’t see as worthwhile while she lost her ability to cast magic properly so unfairly.
I also do like how, when it comes to the ‘redeeming’ aspect of her character, I think another reason why people warmed up more to her in particular is due to how it was a bit more fleshed out. As well as the scene where Twilight rushes in to save her from being pulled into the storm showing Tempest that there are kind hearted individuals out there, there's a scene where she saves the Mane Six from one of his petrifying orbs - fortunately, she's restored, but she was pretty much willing to get herself SHATTERED to make up for what she did. I think that the pacing of the reveal of Tempest’s backstory and the attempts for her to try to make up in some way when she realises the errors of her ways are better than many of the other tragic villains, and at the end, it is heartwarming seeing Twilight help her let go of the past and be there for her when she needs a friend.
Also, one last thing I really like about Tempest – the reveal of her real name is one of the funniest moments in the whole film – this scary looking pony with combat training and a broken horn is really named FIZZLEPOP BERRYTWIST. I legitimately laughed a good bit after hearing that, and it was a great funny moment to end the film on.
On the subject of villains, let’s talk about The Storm King. To be honest, I didn’t think he was that bad, honestly. I heard he’s not that well received in the fanbase compared to a lot of the other villains in the series so far, but I personally thought he was a pretty good villain. True, he wasn’t in the film for very long, but the times he WAS on screen, I was busting a gut – this guy is HILARIOUS, in my opinion and he reminds me a lot of Hades from Hercules at times, albeit even goofier somehow. Liev Shrieber was clearly having a LOT of fun recording his lines, and I actually heard that he wanted to do the voice for the Storm King because his children always associated him with scarier roles. While he plays another villain here, this guy is probably more fun than a lot of his other roles. Yet oddly enough, Liev Shrieber said in an interview that he was one of the more intense roles he had to play. And out of the villains in the series, I can think of WAY worse villains – he’s not my favourite, but I still had fun watching this guy.
His introduction in the film is a funny gag, with him showing himself to be a goofball, trying to communicate to Tempest through his magic spell akin to a phone conversation getting bad interference, and it’s almost like Tempest is talking to an elder trying to use technology for the first time. I also found his talk about merchandising his image to be reminiscent of Monokuma from Danganronpa, and the first thing he does when he gets Twilight Sparkle’s magic is to mess around with the sun and the moon while having a giddy dance, and then breaks the mood when Twilight realises her friends came back to save her. Also, for some reason, just the casual way he says to Tempest ‘Get with the program – I used you! It’s kind of what I do’ had me laughing. You know what, you manipulated Tempest, and you’re responsible for everything that happened here, but god damn, you’ve got some of the best lines in the whole film, so for that, I’m almost tempted to let that slide, SK.
But on top of that, I do like the fact that he manages to be intimidating as well as funny – as well as the fact he’s taken over quite a few lands outside of Equestria before the events of the film, forced Celeano into his service, is probably responsible for Kluge Town being in the state it is, and having a design that I really like (almost looking a yeti monkey thing), when he’s about to kill Twilight and Tempest and then later when he suddenly becomes more animalistic and starts racing the Mane Six to his staff, I thought he was having a smaller version of Ratigan’s villainous breakdown, to be honest! Again, not as scary as Chrysalis, but still. And even when Twilight grabs the staff and stops the storm, The Storm King then leaps towards them with one last petrifying orb, and then gets petrified and SHATTERED when Tempest takes the bullet! So…yeah, he probably won’t be making a comeback any time soon – I doubt he has King Sombra’s regenerative capabilities.
(One thing I also found interesting is that he doesn’t really seem to know how the Staff of Sacanas works – as he accidentally noticed he can control the sun, but with that said, while he’s still getting used to it, he manages to blast Tempest off her feet and attack Twilight at some point, so he must be a quick learner!)
But now we’re done with the villains of the film, let’s go onto the other characters we have in this film – I did like the new characters we had, and I really like how they, along with Tempest, start warming up to the Mane Six with the help of their elements.
First, let’s talk about the cool cat of the cast –
NO! Not THAT one!!
Ahem – I mean Capper. I was actually surprised with how much I liked Capper – he ended up being my second favourite new character from the film. When it comes to Capper’s design, I heard that some people thought that he looks a bit out of place, but I heard that in G1, there was a villain that was also a bipedal cat named Catrina, so like a lot of things in G4, I see Capper as a Mythology Gag relating to her. You know, it’s funny, considering he’s a suave, calm and collected con artist (Taye Diggs’ voice acting is great) who at first takes advantage of the Mane Six planning to sell them to clear up his debt, I thought he was going to be unlikeable, but I like how quickly he realises the error of his ways after Rarity fixes up his coat. First of all, he’s expecting there to be a catch to Rarity’s generosity, so I get the feeling that living in Kluge Town removed all of his trust and seen as he was in debt – it feels a lot like it’s a ‘dog eat dog’ situation in the town, which makes me feel a tad sorry for the guy. Second, as soon as he starts second guessing himself, he offers a way to find them an airship, and even though it’s revealed he tries to sell them out to the local crime boss, he sends Tempest the wrong way, and then helps in the plan to save Twilight later on with the giant Trojan Cake. I think he’s a pretty cool character – and of course, there’s the bit where he uses Spike as a makeshift flamethrower and looks like he’s enjoying it.
Now onto Captain Celaeno, captain of the former ‘swashbuckling treasure hunters’/PIRATES. Much like Capper, I know that she and the pirates don’t appear in the film that much, but with the little screentime she gets, she already manages to be a fun character. First of all, Zoe Saldana does a great job voicing her, and I do like how, while being a pirate, she cares for her crew and feels repressed by the Storm King forcing them to basically be his lackeys, longing for the adventurous life that they used to have. It’s practically like someone who used to have fun in their work but then was forced into a dead end job with no joy in it. Thankfully, they stop threatening to make the Mane Six walk the plank as soon as the lunch bell rings , and it seems like her crew at first only targeted the Storm King’s forces – so like Capper, they turn out to be loveable rogues. Also, I have to admit that I really love her design, inspired by harpies – and of course, she’s like a parrot, which is fitting for a pirate.
And now onto the hippogriff version of Pinkie Pie, Princess Skystar. I mean it, Skystar is adorable as heck. Kristen Chenoweth MAKES the character – and I just love how ditzy and bubbly she is – and of course, her obsessions with shells is adorable. I do also feel pretty bad for her – it feels a lot like she’s been pretty lonely for a long time and her mother is busy with her royal duties, with her only real companions being Shelly and Shelldon (who may or may not be related to Alexander Clam Bell from Spongebob ), so the way she feels heartbroken that the Mane Six and Spike have to leave is pretty sad. It’s also pretty awesome seeing her become a cute bruiser at the end when she joins the heroes and weaponizes Shelly and Shelldon. I also thought some of her interactions with her mother were funny – like when she starts telling the story of their kind anyway.
(While we’re on the subject of this, I really love the designs of the hippogriffs and the seaponies they turn into. )
Probably the one member of the cast that seems to be the least liked new character is Queen Novo, Queen of the Hippogriffs, voiced by Uzo Aduba. While it is extremely questionable that she seems to be more of a bystander to everything and uses the pearl to turn the main cast back into air breathers while they’re UNDERWATER (THAT was rather dark that she was pretty much letting them DROWN ), I tried seeing things from Novo’s perspective, and similar to Star Swirl from the show, I can see why she may think this way. With the Storm King invading Mount Aris, destroying their home town and forcing them to hide in an underwater kingdom, I can see why she may be sceptical of visitors from the surface world, and she is looking out for the safety of her citizens – a lot of people compared her to King Triton from The Little Mermaid, and I’ll admit that, as someone who actually LIKES King Triton (he is strict, but I do see his points and the good guy in there), I can see why. But with THAT said, the fact that she so unapologetically leaves the main characters to drown is a bit harsh feeling that they took advantage of their hospitality (which, technically, Twilight did do ), so I can imagine this is why a ton of people are split on her – it is a bit too extreme in this case, and while I can see that she didn’t want the Pearl to fall into the Storm King’s clutches, I would have liked to see more scenes of her realising the error of her ways. True, she does seem to be on good terms with the ponies at the end, but I think one of the main problems coming from the film’s pacing is the fact we don’t get a lot of scenes of Novo realising she was wrong – I think Shadow Play from Season 7 did a bit of a better job with the Pillars realising the errors of their ways.
So, overall, I can happily say that I really did enjoy this film – in fact, comparing it to other films that came out in 2017, I think that this film may be my third favourite film to come out of 2017 I’ve seen so far, just behind Coco and the IT remake. True, it has some problems with the pacing, and a few of the characters aren’t as fleshed out or utilised as well as I would have liked, and I can see why some fans of the show say it’s recycling beats from the show, but I thought it was really good for what we got.
If I were to rank it comparing to the other specials in the show so far, I would personally put it just behind Twilight’s Kingdom, Magical Mystery Cure and A Canterlot Wedding – I’m serious, I loved it that much. I really liked the characterisation we did get, the songs were all catchy and fun, the voice acting and sound design was great, and the hand drawn animation we got was just INCREDIBLE.
If you’re not too familiar with the show, I’m not 100% sure that this film would be for you (it probably isn’t the best entry point into the series, to be honest), but for something from the show, I can happily say that it sums up a lot of things that I really respect the show for, and for that reason, I’ll happily watch it again and again as much as I do my favourite episodes from the show.
Despite being cliche at times, I had fun. The weakest part of the film was the characters in my opinion, as Twilight seemed to have reverted back to her Season 1 self and the others didn't really have a lot of material to work with (especially Fluttershy and Applejack). Meanwhile, the villains didn't stand out aside from Tempest Shadow (who in my opinion was the best part of the movie). They seemed to just fill the role of the villain. The story itself was okay but didn't really feel grand. It felt more like a tv movie rather than a cinematic Aside from those minor nitpicks, I enjoyed the world-building, new characters, songs (especially villain's song), and the animation.
The soundtrack oh gods the soundtrack, IT will get stuck in your head. orig00.deviantart.net/db7e/f/2… All joking aside the music is really good I really enjoy Dashie's song and the main villain song both are really fantastic but it does not have a bad tune in it.
I loved the MLP Movie and feel it deserves better than that stupid Teen Titans Go Movie which I don't understand got praise while MLP got dumped on by those asshole critic know it alls. It may not be the best film in the world, and some things might have been painful to watch, but that doesn't ruin it for me so easily. Tempest Shadow was a real epic villain with a sad story that explains her motivations.
I did a whole review, but the short version is...i like it due to the stakes, animation, and songs but it is weaker than hoped, feeling a bit too much of the same, like villain redemption #4565 and all that. A fun time but not great tbh.
As a My Little Pony movie? It was WAY BETTER that the 1986 which feels like an extended episode of an 80's cartoon with the only existence to promote toys. This one has a plot, more developed characters and as a film in general? It was decent, not great, but not as terrible as some people claimed it is. It did suffers from predictable kids movies clichés and it felt more like one of the Season Finales than a standalone story. But, it was still a fun movie, flaws and all.
I even found a fan who compared this to Troll 2...wait, what? But much of his criticism is pointless nitpicking and how much it failed to be as good as a Disney Renaissance movie. First at all, this is Hasbro, NOT Disney, so they don't have that many resources. Yeah, his criticism was just very poorly constructed. I'm gonna review the movie when the show is over, so I can review it along with the show as a whole.
Ahhh, it was a really great gift to come out of 2017. It's definitely not the best or most original movie on its own, but for a My Little Pony movie it had just about all the things a Brony could ask for. Great characterization, great songs, AMAZING animation, a sense of adventure that not even the SHOW itself had at times. Overall it's just a feels-good and innocent movie. ^^
One of my favorite things to come out of the My Little Pony franchise. While the pacing could have been a little better, it still felt like a classic animated film you'd see in the eighties or nineties.
It's pretty good. It follows many of the usual modern animated movie cliches but it's still fun.
Featured By Owner I'm a bit mixed on this film. On one hand, it has a number of story problems that drive me crazy when thinking about it later on, but at the same time, when actually watching the film, it's hard NOT to get sucked into the gorgeous animation and worlds they create with it. Easily one of my biggest guilty pleasures in Animation.
Speaking of the show, for people who watch my MLP:FiM reviews, I’ll be starting Season 8 soon after drawing a few more pieces of fanart based on Season 7 and the film (I’d really like to have a go at drawing the Storm King ), and I’m really excited.
See you all soon!
I finished watching Season 7 of Friendship is Magic, and so, here’s my Top 5 Favourite/Least Favourite episodes from Season 7, and a repost of my status update reviews I wrote for them.
When it came to my overall thoughts on Season 7, it’s tied with Season 6 as my second favourite season in the show so far. While it does have more episodes I didn’t like/felt meh about, it balanced it out by having a lot MORE episodes I can add to my favourite episodes list, and it actually has my absolute favourite episode in the whole series now.
Top 5 Favourite
1.A Royal Problem (My new favourite episode in the whole show )
Character development? Check. Some really good worldbuilding? Check. Good heart? Check. An episode focusing on the two princess sisters that gives Celestia as much love as her sister and gives Celestia the love she deserves? Check. A more sympathetic appearance of Starlight Glimmer? Check. And…. One of the things I mentioned in that list of 3 things I’d like to see most in future episodes? Check! (The one thing I mentioned on that list is probably the one I was imagining would be most likely to appear, but was something I really ADORED seeing – a Princess Celestia episode that shows her kicking ass and vanquishing a threat. )
So, let’s get onto the episode.
First of all, let’s get to the elephant in the room that I’m sure a lot of people are curious to hear my thoughts on – Starlight Glimmer using magic to switch the cutie marks of Celestia and Luna. Starlight’s temper getting the better of her and her resorting to magic to solve her problems has been a recurring theme in her episodes, and I have heard that some people say that seen as she uses the exact same magic she used when she was a villain, she hasn’t changed at all – similar to the reaction to Every Little Thing She Does. While I do understand why people may not like this part of Starlight’s character, I personally see it more as being similar to the way Discord still uses chaos all of the time – they may be reformed villains, but old habits die hard, and I personally think it gets a little bit odd that Discord gets a free pass where Starlight doesn’t. But that’s just my thoughts on it. Also, in A Royal Problem, Starlight tried to approach the problem differently and only resorted to using magic when peaceful and rational thoughts failed and Celestia and Luna were yelling in each other’s faces. Also, when Starlight did switch their cutie marks, she immediately and seriously regretted her decision and had a nightmare about the consequences – and it turns out that the cutie mark switching was the best way to get Celestia and Luna to properly walk a day in each other’s shoes and learn more about the difficulties that each of the two sisters has to face due to their royal duties due to the way cutie marks work.
I know Starlight is a very base breaking character for a lot of reasons, but personally, I just don’t find myself disliking her, and while she isn’t my absolute favourite character, I am beginning to like her more as the series goes on.
Also, when it came to Twilight’s part in this episode, where she turned into the ballerina model and was constantly checking up on Starlight makes sense to me. I see it more as her being excited about the fact that the Cutie Map calling on Starlight, but also wanting to make sure that Celestia and Luna didn’t fight and wanted to know what the princesses were like in private.
But now onto my absolute favourite parts of the episode – Celestia and Luna’s bond in the episode, and especially how Celestia is written in the episode. This by far the BEST portrayal of the two siblings in the whole show, and while Luna had episodes to shine and develop her character (TOO many, I’d personally say, but I digress ), Celestia sadly got the short straw. But along with Celestia Advice showing how similar she is to Twilight Sparkle and her own doubts about Twilight moving away and making her a more three dimensional character, this episode goes into more detail with her strengths and weaknesses, and above all, when it comes to Celestia and Luna’s arguments, it really makes them feel like real life siblings, as siblings often do argue with each other and don’t always see eye to eye. It makes it all feel very believable.
Celestia and Luna both have valid gripes about each other because neither fully comprehend the other's issues. Luna thinks Celestia is an attention hog who doesn't appreciate her efforts because she's too busy basking in the adulation of her subjects, when Celestia is really a royal who is trying her hardest to APPEAR happy with everything who doesn't dare show her frustration or weariness in public because it would affect her reputation. Celestia thinks Luna is too caught up in her own troubles to think of others and is ungrateful for everything Celestia does for her, but Luna is just exhausted and desperately lonely from her solitary nights guarding everypony else's dreams.
And I do really love how the episode shows both sisters just how tricky it is to be in each other’s shoes and how each of them have difficulties in their duties - Luna discovers that Celestia needs excellent diplomacy skills and strong cheek muscles to handle all her daily events. It's not all just smiling and waving like she expected. Celestia, meanwhile, discovers that Luna needs to understand dream psychology to help ponies with their nightmares, right after getting in over her head in Starlight's dream almost immediately. She has to pull Luna from her own nightmare and into Starlight's dream due to how lost she is about what is happening. The way that the two sisters come together despite their bickering earlier to help each other out with their problems is also really sweet, showing despite their differences, they still care for each other very much.
Also, I have to admit that seeing Celestia and Luna be humanised more leads to some very hilarious and sweet elements in the episode too. Celestia is shown to be a very good baker with how she makes pancakes (and puts on smiley faces on them with fruit - ‘It’s HAPPY to see you!’ ), and Luna is skilled in gardening and aromatherapy. I also found it pretty funny how Luna takes a bite out of a WHOLE PINEAPPLE and eats a banana PEEL, and then later on when she does a pretty poor job at dispelling rumours of Timberwolves (but to be honest, considering how PATHETIC the Timberwolves were in Spike at Your Service, I don’t think they need to worry about them ), and then fails to smile in front of the camera, resulting in the school trip losing funding.
Also, I find it strangely adorkable that Celestia talks to herself at times when she’s alone – but it feels a bit sad too, as she often has to rely on her own help due to being a slave to public relations a lot of the time, and if she came across as flustered, it could affect her public image.
And I know what a lot of people are thinking right now – isn’t this exactly what led to Nightmare Moon being created? Why are the royal sisters having this going on again? Well…. I can personally say that when it comes to siblings, I can speak from personal experience – I love my sister a lot (she’s pretty much my best friend – she’s my B.S.B.F.F – Big Sister Best Friend Forever ), but we have the occasional time when we have an argument and don’t see eye to eye. It happens – and when it comes to Celestia and Luna, it makes them feel more believable as characters that they have sisterly arguments, to be honest.
…But with that said, there was a rather horrifying moment of the episode where I legitimately had to stop the episode and pause for a moment to get over it…. LUNA HAVING A NIGHTMARE THAT HER TEETH ARE FALLING OUT FROM SMILING FOR TOO LONG….. I mean it, I legitimately felt sick to my stomach watching that bit. If you don’t know, one of the things I’m particularly sensitive to is when any piece of media has body horror involving TEETH. I’m self conscious about my dental health, and one of my biggest fears is having something go wrong with my teeth and having them fall out. So, when Luna had her teeth fall out in her nightmare….. I self consciously ran my tongue over my teeth to make sure they were all right….
But now to get to what was my absolutely favourite part of the episode – Starlight Glimmer’s nightmare. As well as showing how bad Starlight feels for what she did, showing she’s developing as a character, it also leads way to the coolest moment of the episode…
Daybreaker is to Princess Celestia what Nightmare Moon is to Luna, and that alone makes the second half of the episode PHENOMENAL, and she has the awesome design to boot.
As Nightmare Moon represents what Luna became after she became jealous of Celestia and felt their subjects preferred Celestia over her, her insecurities overcoming her, Daybreaker is a representation of what would happen if Celestia stopped caring about holding back her power for the fear of harming others and just did whatever. And let me tell you – Daybreaker’s existence alone adds a TON to Celestia’s character.
Due to Daybreaker’s presence, it seems to me that Celestia is far stronger than has been shown but she intentionally holds back, out of fear of what cutting loose could do to everyone around her – which could also explain why she, even though putting up a good fight, doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to combat in the series. She’s scared of causing collateral damage and harming her subjects, while Daybreaker doesn’t give a damn about it. It also feels to me that Daybreaker is more a manifestation of Celestia’s personal fears, and it feels like her subconscious thoughts were mixed into Starlight’s dream – and seen as Luna knows about Daybreaker, I think Daybreaker must have been existing in Celestia’s own nightmares and fears about breaking a pedestal that she seems to have been put on by her subjects.
I always saw Celestia as being JUST as, if not MORE, a tragic character than Luna was from her appearances earlier in the series and the whole Nightmare Moon scenario (dealing with having to banish her sister and be alone for 1000 years), with the show going into detail how lonely Celestia really feels and how uncomfortable she is with having to constantly smile and appear regal and refined when she prefers to act like any other normal pony, but this episode made me feel even MORE for her with what Daybreaker represents.
Also, Celestia fighting off Nightmare Moon and Daybreaker was AMAZING. While Celestia’s own magic doesn’t work in dreams, with Luna’s magic, she’s easily able to fight back and dispel the two evil sides of the two royal sisters, and it was awesome.
Also, one final thing about Daybreaker – she’s just as much of a ham and devours as much scenery as Nightmare Moon – cackling so much she could pretty much be The Hyena of the villain cast – even more than Discord.
Nightmare Moon: You can't get rid of me so easily, sister! Unless you plan on SMILING me to smithereens!
Daybreaker: Ugh. So much black. We get it, you're sad. You could really use some... SUN!
…..and even though Daybreaker is only seen here, she’s likely the single most potentially destructive entity in the whole show with the pure raw magical power she has – yes, even more so than TIREK, in my opinion – Tirek had to DRAIN the strength of everyone to get his power, but Daybreaker (and Celestia for that matter) is easily the most magically potent character in the whole show...
(In fact, I can imagine that if Celestia came face to face with King Sombra's door that traps you in your worst nightmare, as well as Luna becoming Nightmare Moon, she'd probably see herself snap and turn into Daybreaker. And I can tell you - Daybreaker is pretty damn scary. )
So, in short, I absolutely ADORE this episode.
2.A Flurry of Emotions
Is it weird that I, a man who has admitted he's not too fond of real life babies or small children in real life, want to babysit Flurry Heart after watching the next Friendship is Magic episode, A Flurry of Emotions? Because.... I mean it - I want to babysit her- she's just too cute and adorable. And considering what I think about young children in real life, that is REALLY impressive.
And needless to say - she's a reason why I absolutely LOVE this episode.
And it's funny, it's simply a babysitting episode, which often leads way to the same jokes or scenarios that you would expect, but I personally LOVE the writing on this episode- it's one of the best written 'baby hijinks' episode I think I've seen for quite a while. The characters are great, the heart is great, the humour is great, the moral is great - it just makes me really appreciate that in Friendship is Magic, the slice of life episodes can garner just as much admiration as the episodes involving a terrifying villain trying to take over the world. It's one reason why I love this show so much.
But enough of me gushing, onto the episode itself.
Shining Armour and Cadence need a bit of a break from looking after Flurry Heart, so they pop up and ask if Twilight and Spike can look after her for them while they go to visit the art exhibition of Shining Armour's friend Spearhead. However, Twilight has other responsibilities that day, but due to her OCD nature and wanting to spend time with her niece, can't bring herself to say no and says yes - but the pressures of her schedule and looking after an energetic baby with intense magical powers catches up to her.
First of all - I really do love the 'realism' in this episode. As adorable as the episode is, it also really well showcases the ups and downs of looking after a young baby.
As much as they love their daughter, Shining Armour and Cadence, like a lot of parents, occasionally need some time away from her to themselves to take a break from looking after her, and they quickly start missing her and return home. Taking care of a baby can be REALLY stressful, especially seen as the parents have really important jobs on top of that (Cadence is the Princess of Love and Shining Armour is Captain of the Guard), and it can be difficult to juggle around that responsibility at the last minute. Twilight's firm tone towards Flurry Heart is understandable, as it is best to discipline a child with a firm tone of voice so they know they did something wrong, but it is REALLY hard to use it on a very young child without scaring them. (On a side note, while I personally thought that it was odd that Shining Armour seemed to be the most exhausted and Cadence looked relatively fine in The Crystalling, I do appreciate how both parents look tired here, giving more sign they’re balancing the duties and not making Shining Armour seem as much of a butt monkey. )
These are all very realistic problems that a parent, baby and babysitter would have to think about in real life, and the writers on this episode definitely did their homework.
And on top of that, Flurry Heart is a VERY well written baby character - like Mary Gibbs from Monsters Inc and Jack Jack from The Incredibles. Despite being a smart little baby with magic powers, she still has physical and emotional limits, like when she has trouble standing or winking due to her coordination not being fully developed, and she doesn't understand the complete impact of her actions - because, how could she if she's THAT young? And she also doesn't at first understand that Twilight can be angry at her but still love her. I just think Flurry Heart is written INCREDIBLY well – one of the trickiest parts about writing a baby (or child character in general) is making them endearing while still making them ACT like a baby or child would – Flurry Heart is one of the best examples of a baby character done right, in my opinion.
Also, when it comes to her magic causing trouble, first, not only is it understandable that she wouldn’t fully understand the implications of her actions – being a BABY and all – but I also appreciate how the problems she causes is because Twilight was focusing on other things instead of Flurry, and the little princess is trying to entertain herself or look for ‘Whammy’ – so this was on Twilight, as she was trying to balance looking after a baby and visiting the hospital at the same time.
(I understand that Flurry Heart is, surprisingly, a very polarising character in the fanbase, as a lot of people seem to blame her for things that go wrong and lash out at her. As someone who isn’t fond of babies in real life, let me say right now – SHE’S ONLY A BABY, so you can’t blame HER for what’s going wrong! She doesn’t know any better!! I’ll admit, every time I’m annoyed by a baby or child in real life, it more often that not really is the PARENTS’ fault for not knowing how to calm down their child or care for them properly. ……wow, is Flurry Heart beginning to cure my dislike for real life babies? I will admit, after I saw Flurry Heart in The Crystalling, whenever I see my coworkers bring in their young children, I will admit I do find them more endearing and can see more of the cute side of babies now than I did a few years ago. )
Second.... the heart in this episode. I fell in love with every single character in this episode and how they acted. Even with hijinks going on and people having to be accountable for their actions, every character is kept likeable. (And personally, after TRIXIE’S performance in All Bottled Up, I needed this. )
Shining Armour and Cadence are very well written parents and a really cute couple here – needing time away from Flurry Heart, but also remembering what she needs while they’re away, beginning to miss her when they’re at the art gallery, and vowing to give Twilight more warning about babysitting duties in the future. I will admit, I personally went ‘awww’ for them when they started crying in the art gallery while missing Flurry Heart. Speaking of the art, I think Spearhead managed to be a pretty funny guy – and speaking of which, his reactions to Shining Armour and Cadence missing Flurry Heart was pretty sweet, honoured his work could provoke such emotion. Also, due to their hair being messy, you’d think they were sleep deprived, but when they’re fine in the art gallery, it was nice to know they were just in a rush.
Princess Cadance: This one kind of reminds me of Flurry's hair.
Shining Armor: Uh-huh... And this one reminds me of Flurry, too.
Spearhead: How so?
Shining Armor: It's small... like her!’ Aaawww!!
(Also, at the end of the episode, when they both see Flurry Heart again, Flurry backs out their hug to go back to Twilight – both parents are shown to be a little sad at this, thinking their baby didn’t miss them at all… Thankfully, she does – but it just adds to how much the episode tugged at my heartstrings.)
Twilight Sparkle also comes across as incredibly endearing here – she has to learn not to try and balance her busy day with looking after her niece, but it is really sweet seeing her play with Flurry Heart, and even when she ends up yelling at her niece at the end of the episode when she’s at her limit, it’s understandable, and she does feel bad for yelling at Flurry Heart and not spending better time with her. (In fact…. I will proudly admit I did get a bit teary eyed during that scene. It reminded a bit of a less severe version of the scene in Monsters Inc where Sully accidentally scares Boo – both scenes tugged at my heartstrings pretty badly. ) Also… the fact Twilight wants to try to cheer up some sick children at the hospital AND play with her niece being the main conflict of the episode is really heartwarming.
Speaking of Flurry Heart, I don’t think a character in recent memory from the show tugged my heartstrings this much since the cinnamon bun Changeling himself THORAX.
I know this bears repeating (funny, because she and Twilight do play with stuffed bears), but I loved her even more by the end of the episode. If you look at the doodles she draws on Cheerilee’s blackboard, they’re stick figures of herself, Twilight and Spike. (Aww… she already sees Spike as family. I imagine her seeing him as an uncle or big cousin. ) She also tries to get the Cake twins to share a toy with each other (though she does accidentally break it in half ), really sweetly hugs and kisses Twilight to show she forgives her for yelling at her, and they end the episode playing together.
Also – Spike got moments to really shine in this episode – this was a really well written performance for him – continuing on Season 6’s legacy of giving Spike some of his best appearances in the whole series (that was one reason why I loved Season 6, to be honest – how Spike was written really fantastically and didn’t get as much abuse. ) As well as the funny bits where he tries to look after Flurry Heart, he really gets into the stories that Twilight is reading to the sick children at the hospital, rummages around in the toybox for the Cake Twins’ spare balloon toy, seems to be good at looking after children by his interactions with them, and at the end, he gets to read the ‘Dashing Dragon Warrior’ book to the children at the hospital – the way the one child says ‘You look just like him!’ at the end was sweet too.
Third - the episode manages to be pretty hilarious in places.
The art gallery had a LOT of funny moments, like the ‘A Thousand Nights in a Hallway’, with Shining Armour and Spearhead getting a thousand yard stare. Speaking of which, I think Shining Armour probably delivers my favourite funny line in the whole episode – ‘Is this art… or a mistake?’ I literally had to pause the episode because I was collapsing into laughter – the timing and the way Andrew Francis (Shining Armour’s voice actor) delivered the line was PERFECT. But a lot of Spike’s snide remarks (another fantastic line - Spike: ‘When they said mashed peas were her favourite, did they mean her favourite thing to decorate a room with?!’), some of the moments with Flurry Heart and Pinkie Pie’s great performance in the episode, and the hijinks with the magic got me busting a gut at times - It's endearingly hilarious to see Flurry's baby logic make her think Whammy could be inside her bottle. Also, Shining Armour’s ‘baby talk’ was a mixture of hilarious and adorable.
……So, yeah, in case you couldn’t tell, I absolute ADORED this episode. I don’t think an episode was so heartfelt to me since HURRICANE FLUTTERSHY, to be honest. I just…. Want to give everybody in this episode the biggest hug in the world, I loved it so much. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside after watching it.
3.The Perfect Pear
Yes, I know… the fact that it’s not my #1 favourite in the season is probably a pretty controversial opinion, but while I do really like this episode, it does get held back from the #1 spot due to my personal criticisms regarding it.
The funny thing is about this episode is that, when I sit back and think about this episode in detail, this one SHOULD be my favourite episode of the whole season. Not just because of the overwhelmingly positive reception the episode has got from the fanbase, but due to quite a lot of elements in the episode I personally really enjoyed.
The Apple family has been touched on a lot in previous episodes, and it was always a point of interest to know what happened to their parents, as it’s all but been implied throughout the show that their parents have sadly passed away as they’re always speaking about them in the past tense. It’s also an episode teaching about ending family feuds and not living in the past, with Grand Pear coming all this way to make amends with Granny Smith and bury the hatchet, sad that his daughter is no longer around so he came too late to make amends with her. Some characters in the show we’ve seen before give some good backstory involving the Apples and the Pears (even though Burnt Oak seems like a character that I would have liked to learn a little bit more about).
William Shatner and Felicia Day are really great guest stars in the episode – I will admit I haven’t cared much for William Shatner in the past, but he does a fantastic job as Grand Pear with a really heartfelt performance. And it was really sweet seeing Grand Pear make up with Granny Smith and of course, that last shot of the apple and pear trees intertwining was a really sweet one.
And Bright Mac and Pear Butter were a cute couple, and I did like seeing what traits their children inherited from them. There was some really good stuff here!
So… why ISN’T this episode one of my absolute favourites, especially when everybody else in the fanbase considers it to be a masterpiece?
Well…. Maybe the episode should have gone into a bit more detail regarding the feud between the Apples and the Pears, for example. Remembering The Hooffields and the McColts (unfortunately, it came to mind early on in the episode with the feud starting for pretty petty reasons – and it’s not a good sign when an episode remind me of THAT snooze fest), one gripe I have with feuding families that have had rivalries for a long time is that when it comes to the rivalry catalyst, it often seems to be rather…. Underwhelming why the feud started in the first place. Even with the original Romeo and Juliet, a huge part of my thoughts goes towards the extremely petty rivalry and I just think ‘if they can’t remember why the feud started, why is it still going on?’ A lot of the flashback is just focused on Granny Smith and Grand Pear bickering and keeping their children away from each other, and I just thought it would have been a bit more interesting if it went into more detail why the feud started in the first place. Maybe if Grand Pear and Granny Smith used to be friends, but they valued completely different things and as the years went on, a rift started to grow between them – or perhaps if they had wronged each other in some way rather than just being business rivals. This may be nitpicking, but I was thinking that the whole feud felt a little bit shallow and superfluous as the only real reason why they’d have any bad blood was just being business rivals – I felt it could have gone into a bit more detail there. I mean, just because two farms are making different produce doesn’t IMMEDIATELY mean they’ll have to start fighting unconditionally.
I also thought that it would have been better if the episode didn’t spend a ton of time with Applejack, Big Mac and Applebloom walking around everywhere trying to find other ponies to ask questions about the Apple and Pear feud – it did seem like it was beginning to eat up some of the runtime we could have spent fleshing out a little bit more about the feud or the romance. If the three siblings started off the episode putting up fliers asking about the history of the feud, and then everyone all came together to share their stories, it could have brought them all together so less time would be eaten up by the three siblings walking around. Again, probably another nitpick, but I just feel that the episode’s pacing gets a bit broken up in a few parts in this episode.
And…. I want to apologise in advance for what I’m about to say next. I’m sorry, everyone.
*puts on a hard hat* Okay, I’m going to address the elephant in the room here *swallows hard* – I think the episode went a bit too beat for beat with the whole typical ‘Romeo and Juliet’ style romance between Bright Mac and Pear Butter, and it did feel a bit….. too cliched and predictable for me.
Oh, dear, here we go – this, being the meat of the episode, is something I know that everybody cried at and got emotional while watching it. I’m…. probably going to sound cold hearted here, but I didn’t shed a single tear while watching this episode. I thought the plot of the romance, while having some bits I did love… felt a bit unfulfilling.
First of all, in the first flashback, Pear Butter and Bright Mac first met each other when they were just baby foals, but sound almost the same as they do as adults aside from a slightly higher pitch…. That….. took me out of the moment quite a bit, I will admit – if they looked like Applebloom’s model, than it would have been more believable, but they look as young as the CAKE BABIES here, and yet they can speak very well and they sound a LOT like they did when they were grown up…. That ruined the immersion for me, I will admit, and it just felt a bit too corny there.
Also, when it came the romance between them growing over the years, I’ll say that seen as the two started off loving each other at a very young age, it felt a little… suspension of disbelief breaking for me that they hit it off THAT quickly without them going into detail about them meeting. I did like the song Pear Butter sang, it was really sweet, but I just felt that the episode went a bit too fast when it came to the romance between the two of them and it could have gone into more depth. The episode flashback ended with the Mayor taking on the Friar Lawrence role and marrying Bright Mac and Pear Butter, but when it suddenly just ended with the two planting the trees and Bright Mac and Pear Butter staying together- I’ll be honest and say that there were a few wasted opportunities here too.
While it’s all but stated that the two of them are dead, I was left wanting to see scenes like the two of them raising Big Mac, Applejack and Applebloom – in A Royal Problem, one of the dream bubbles we saw was a baby Applejack, and that led me to think that the episode would show something like that. To be honest, I was thinking of the Hey Arnold episode ‘Parent’s Day’, which is about Arnold learning the story about his parents from his grandparents, and there was a scene there where the parents are forced to leave their baby son behind, and I legitimately cried my eyes out in that scene when I watched that episode. Unless there will be more episodes in the future where it goes into a little bit more information about it….. I’ll be blunt and say that I’m a little bit disappointed if it won’t show anything like that. I mean, I know it’s a foregone conclusion they raised a family, but I would have liked to have seen even ONE little scene with them with their baby foals… it would have been so perfect to see….
So, there, I’ve stated my honest thoughts about the episode which I’m sure is going to get me in a LOT of hot water with everyone, so I’m sure that some of you think that I didn’t like this episode.
N-No! Not at all! As I said, I really did enjoy this episode. It IS heartwarming and has some really poignant and sweet scenes in it. I did enjoy learning about Applejack’s parents. I really loved the scenes where Granny Smith and Grand Pear make amends. There was a lot of stuff I loved in this episode.
It just felt a bit….. incomplete at times, at least in my opinion, and I felt that after reading all of the positive comments of people giving this episode acclaim, it suffered from a bit of hype backlash for me personally. I personally feel that some of the other episodes this season just felt more complete and more in depth with the writing – A Royal Problem and A Flurry of Emotions in particular just made me feel more emotional than this episode, I’ll admit.
Is it my favourite? ……No. But I do really appreciate what this episode has done, and I can also really see why a lot of people say this is their favourite episode in the season, if not the series.
First of all, it took SO long, but we FINALLY...FINALLY!!! have another episode that focus on Princess Celestia and gives the poor underappreciated royal the love she deserves. I love Celestia a lot more than most of the fanbase seems to, you see, and when the fanbase isn't focusing on Luna and glorifying her (I mean, I like Luna too, but I find Celestia to be a more interesting character, personally ), they seem to be portraying Celestia as a heartless tyrant, which is completely out of character for the benevolent leader who has a mischievous side and was forced to banish her sister for something LUNA did, and she felt absolutely horrible about it afterwards. Celestia is a MUCH more three dimensional and more likeable character than her hatebase seems to portray her as. While I understand why Starlight Glimmer has some detractors, Celestia is a character where I simply don't understand where her haters are coming from, to be blunt.
Thankfully, this episode gives Celestia some well deserved love. Not only does she give Twilight valuable advice about what to do with Starlight Glimmer, but she even admits that she went through the same type of situation with Twilight. We see her as a classroom teacher, we see her fret and have doubts, we see her pace while she considers plans, we see her reflect on the past, and we see her relationship with Twilight go into more depth. I also thought she could be pretty amusing in this episode ('I wasn't aware I was an expression.' ) Also, Celestia laughing – we need more of that, please.
I also love Twilight's conflict in this episode - she is completely in character here as she starts fretting about where she needs to send Starlight now that she’s learned all that Twilight can teach her, and starts having these over the top (though, admittedly, believable – well, besides Ember and Starlight acting out of character and the one changeling speaking in flowery language ) fantasies about what could go wrong when Starlight leaves. It’s a very believable conflict to have, and I do like how the episode portrays Twilight’s concerns.
Also, when it comes to comedy, Discord is up to his Trickster Mentor schtick again here - Discord was helping Twilight by making her realize Starlight was ready to graduate, and out of all his appearances with Twilight, this was probably his tamest scheme yet, the worst possible outcome of it being Twilight getting mildly embarrassed, and when it comes to the medals, it was pretty hilarious when Discord takes his head off to get the medal on, and Luna struggles to get Thorax’s necklace on due to his horns.
Spike also gets some hilarious bits (like when he's trying to distract Starlight so Twilight can measure her wall and when he imitates Rarity briefly ), and Pinkie Pie preparing and cleaning up the party got me grinning too.
(However, now that I think about it, Celestia sending Twilight to Ponyville had a rather bad effect on Moondancer….. Part of me wishes that this was focused on a little bit more – seen as we SEE Moondancer in the episode’s flashbacks, I do personally wish it focused on Celestia’s relationship with her OTHER students. Also, where's Shining Armour's photo on Twilight's mirror?
However, speaking of call backs to the first episode of the show, Celestia’s letter to Twilight regarding wanting her to make friends shows that Celestia was as seriously concerned about Nightmare Moon as Twilight was and wrote it as a gentle nudge to help Twilight learn to make friends and overcome Celestia’s personal concerns, and I do like how the friendship letters get brought up again, as I do like the parallels between Celestia and Twilight’s relationship, and Twilight and Starlight’s relationship. )
Within the first MINUTE of the episode, Discord made me laugh quite a bit at a joke where he makes his fingers eat the sandwiches (literal FINGER FOOD ), and later when he was impersonating the tea shop owner, I had to stop the episode for a bit to get over my laughter. This episode, being a good Discord episode, has some great bits of visual comedy to add to the Slice of Life episode. But on top of that…. There’s some surprisingly good WORLDBUILDING in this episode, I thought.
Realising how much effort Fluttershy puts into her tea parties, Discord tries to make sure the tea party he runs at his house is exactly to her liking. First of all, it’s pretty sweet seeing Discord’s whole conflict in this episode being trying to make Fluttershy feel comfortable, and the worst he does to the ponies he comes across is crack the odd joke or cover them in the money he’s paying for his purchases. When it comes to the reason WHY Discord is actually BUYING things as opposed to just conjuring them from nothing, I see it more as him trying to look for what Fluttershy would like and buying things her way. He COULD conjure something from nothing, but I see it more as him trying to impress his friend by doing things her way.
To be honest, I’m not just into this storyline because I’m British – but to be truthful, we’re all into our cuppas over here, tea is practically our lifeblood - but because, not only does it have Discord being as funny as ever, but it’s showing Discord and Fluttershy’s character development (Discord having his first episode where never does anything mean or selfish, and Fluttershy also showing how open she is her friend’s eccentricities and knows how important his chaotic personality is to him – it’s interesting that Fluttershy is offered milquetoast, as she used to be milquetoast, but in part due to her friendship with Discord, her character has developed past this ), and actually managing to show that Discord HAS to act chaotic, because if he completely tamed himself…. He’d cease to exist.
This episode reminds me a little bit of the Spongebob episode Not Normal, where Spongebob tries to act ‘normal’, but ends up becoming a monotone blend in as a result, but…. Better. I do like Not Normal, but I think this episode is better written - Discord follows the same example of becoming bland and robotic as a result of making his house and himself ‘normal’, but as a result, he loses his magic powers and becomes more transparent, which is only fixed when Fluttershy reverses the fading by acting chaotic herself, restoring his physical presence and his magic. It’s interesting – this is a slice of life episode about accepting differences…. Culminating in a near CHARACTER DEATH for our resident god of chaos.
Also, Discord’s NORMAL outfit looks an awful lot like Mr Rogers from Mr Rogers’ Neighbourhood.
I know that reading the concept ‘Fluttershy and Discord have tea parties’ sounds like a dull premise, but I personally found this one to be really fun. Not just because I love Discord and Fluttershy as characters and they play off each other well, but also due to exploring what exactly would happen if Discord ever acted ‘normal’. It’s… an episode I wasn’t expecting to love this much, to be honest. True, it’s no A Flurry of Emotions or Royal Problem, but I did find myself really liking this one. Leave it to Discord to make TEA PARTIES fun.
Top 5 Least Favourite
1. All Bottled Up
I mean, I know she’s full of herself and can be overbearing at times, but I thought that after ‘To Where and Back Again’, where she showed she did care about Starlight and helped her out (even giving her a speech to help her get back on her feet)….. it feels like her character took a huge step in jerkass in this episode. And I mean…. A HUGE STEP IN JERKASS.
I mean, I know the moral is that ‘even if they are your friend, you can’t stop yourself from being angry towards someone when they do something wrong as it’ll cause harm to you BOTH in the long run’ (again, a moral I really do like), and it made Twilight’s doubts regarding Starlight befriending Trixie in No Second Prances hold more weight that Starlight can now see Trixie’s flaws, but GOD DAMN did Trixie get annoying in this episode. I mean, the thing about her turning everything into teacups wasn’t TOO bad as she was simply excited she had got a spell right and it was actually kind of sweet seeing Starlight teach her friend about magic and Trixie being excited, and it does EVENTUALLY dawn on her she's driving her friend nuts, but…….. UUUUUUUNGH.
Trixie constantly messes up what Starlight is doing and just brushes all she does wrong off, doesn’t seem to really learn lessons from what she does wrong, makes harsh comments about Starlight’s past, brushes it off when the Cutie Map disappears like it’s unimportant and acts all nonchalant about everything, doesn’t wait for Starlight to finish her instructions as to how to perform magic and says ‘Well, YOU should have finished your instructions first?’, is blind to Starlight’s growing impatience (even when Starlight bottles up her anger, ANYONE should be able to tell something is wrong), and when Starlight’s anger escapes from the bottle and her complaints come out of the other ponies’ mouths, it seems REALLY unbelievable that it takes her THAT long to realise that it’s really Starlight’s own thoughts coming out of their mouths.
I mean, the moral is a relevant one, but for the sake of the moral, Trixie acts more obnoxious and self-centred than usual, and if you were to look at this episode alone, you’d wonder why the hell they became friends to begin with! I can see Trixie making a few ‘Least Favourite Characters Lists’ as a result of this episode, to be honest.
Oh, yeah – the Mane Six. Their subplot (and song) just fills up time that could have been used to try and rectify my problems. If Trixie started off more TAME in her nonchalance and didn’t jump straight to acting as insufferable as she did, the episode could have been better, but because a good bit of the episode is spent on some team bonding exercise that doesn’t accomplish anything and the Mane Six singing about stuff we already know, it just jumps straight to Trixie acting INCREDIBLY insensitive right out the gate. And when it comes to the game the Mane Six are playing, it feels more like something that would be more suited to fill up another episode. If they did what Dungeons and Discords did and NOT needlessly cut back to them, it could have left more time to iron out the flaws the main plot has.... but as it is, the jokes that their subplot has aren't funny enough or different enough to rectify anything. As I said, it seems to be doing stuff we've already seen before.
…………So yeah, as I said, if the writing on Trixie was better, the episode would have been FINE. But I feel they just went WAY overboard with Trixie acting like an insensitive schmuck. I get they had to make her cross the line for the sake of the moral (and we all have times when our friends do something that we don’t agree with we have to assert ourselves and tell them they need to stop), but…. There are better ways to do it without making the character acting out of line act like an obnoxious tool.
2. Honest Apple
Honest Apple on the other hand is an episode that I personally feel disappointed in, however. ‘Be respectful and thoughtful with your opinions’ is a moral that a LOT of people need to learn. People work hard on what you're critiquing, your opinions are not more important than others', and there's a difference between critiquing a work and simply insulting it. ‘It's my opinion’ is not a free pass to be a jerk……. The moral is a FANTASTIC one that is especially important considering what horrid things people write on the internet when they’re critiquing things and act like jerks (because they think it’s fine if they won’t suffer any ‘real life consequences’ as a result) – but the execution of the episode kind of botches my enjoyment and just makes it disappointing.
This episode is kind of like 28 Pranks Later for me in that respect - while the character learning a moral does deserve it, but what the rest of the characters do kind of undercuts the moral. I get that Applejack isn’t the most interested in fashion, but her actions towards the fashion designers make her look like a jackass throughout the first half of the episode, and it does seem a LITTLE bit questionable that Hoity Toity and Photo Finish only have completely POSITIVE things to say. Experts tend to be the most in depth critics – for example, if I'm out of my element, I often don't have much to offer except to say, ‘That looks fine. I like that.’ Or ‘I don't really like that. But I couldn't really tell you why in detail, I’m just not a fan’, but when I try talking about something I’m really passionate about, I try my hardest to go into more detail as I’m more savvy with that particular field. With Hoity Toity and Photo Finish, I would have expected them to be harder to impress, while AJ should have been the one to have the ‘identical belt’ situations where her lack of experience left her with little to say. I think the lesson could be clearer if we were pitting vague, unhelpful criticisms against respectful, constructive critiques that helped the designers improve their designs – and it was more that Applejack was getting flustered that she didn’t have anything different or varied to add as opposed to her just doing things like telling the fashion designers to rip all of the buttons off their clothes or PERSONALLY DESTROY SOMEONE’S FEATHER HAT. Yeah – what the hell, Applejack?!
Also, Rarity…. Are you SERIOUSLY considering hiring a pony who doesn’t really care about fashion as a judge? I mean, I know Rarity says Applejack knows the most about practicality, but it just felt a bit weird she hired someone she knows isn’t very fashion savvy.
I also thought the pony Rarity introduces Applejack to who doesn’t like apples is a jerk too. I get what Rarity was trying to do and it does fit the moral, but it just added more mean spirited stuff to the already mean spirited parts of the episode we had already.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love Applejack as a character, and personally find her to be rather underappreciated and an underrated member of the Mane Six, but it’s just an unfortunate fact that some of the episodes she’s been in a starring role in I’ve seen recently do tend to have a few odd elements in the writing…. I just want to clarify that quick.
3. Secrets and Pies
Secrets and Pies… left me feeling a little bit discrusted. It felt a bit like humble pie in a few places, burnt me a bit in others, and despite a few sweet bits of tasty comedy, the overall writing felt stale and raw. (Okay, enough with the pie puns - but yeah, to be honest, I wasn’t a fan of this episode. )
This episode feels like a lesser version of Party of One to me – both episodes involve Pinkie Pie being driven mad, she constantly follows Rainbow Dash around to find out her secret, and…. To be honest, I was expecting Pinkie to turn into Pinkamena again by the end of it…. Except this time trying to go all Mrs Lovett from Sweeney Todd and turning Rainbow Dash into a pie as opposed to a cupcake.
As much as it feels weird that Pinkie Pie couldn't notice the bloomin' obvious that Rainbow Dash didn't like her pies, I do think that Rainbow Dash is rather.... oddly written in this episode.
Rainbow Dash didn’t think to simply TELL Pinkie Pie that she doesn’t like the taste of her pies she bakes for her after all of these years? Why did she have to lie for so long? Out of fear of harming Pinkie's feelings? I... think it hurt her feelings MORE to know you've been lying to her all these years... She does act rather inconsiderate in this episode by simply throwing away all of the pies Pinkie put a ton of effort into making - and no, she doesn’t always give the pies to someone else, she flat out THROWS THEM OUT a few times, ends up making Tank feel sick (giving her some negative points in terms of being a good pet owner – yeah, what the heck, Dash?! You really cared for Tank in the past, and considering the fact you supposedly LOVE Tank, getting him sick ON PURPOSE feels really cruel of you ), and somehow manages to get away with her very bad acting for YEARS. You…. Never noticed something weird about this until NOW, Pinkie Pie? No questions asked about where the tin goes to and how she can just eat HUNDREDS of pies at once? And apparently, Applejack and Twilight have to EXPLAIN to Rainbow Dash how flawed her thinking is…
On top of Rainbow Dash’s rather negative portrayal, this episode is just boring to me besides that. I suppose that some of the detective scenes were funny, but because the episode ended up being predictable (what Rainbow Dash does with the pies was revealed very early on, and a ton of it is just eating up time watching Pinkie Pie investigate), it felt to be a rather forgettable episode as well as a rather grating one at times.
Also, when it comes to the start of the episode, Spitfire says – ‘Well done, CRASH!’ Oh, what th- STOP IT, Spitfire! STOP CALLING HER THAT!
4. Not Asking For Trouble
For an episode involving Pinkie Pie FINALLY going INTO Yakyakistan as opposed to the first time where Party Pooped teased us with the gate opening but then trolled us with Pinkie Pie being pulled all the way back to Ponyville before she had a chance to actually LOOK INSIDE…
I’m… pretty underwhelmed… It’s probably this season’s equivalent of The Hoofields…. And…..The….Mc…..Cooolllts….. Agh! SORRY!
This is one of the few episodes where I was bored throughout most of the thing. As bad as All Bottled Up is, it at least TOLD A STORY. In Not Asking For Trouble, Pinkie Pie goes to Yakyakistan, an avalanche happens, and then her friends clean it up - episode over. And no, I didn't leave anything out - at least any SUBSTANCE. For most of this episode's runtime, literally NOTHING happens.
If this is going to be what ALL of the episodes involving the yaks are going to be like…. I can imagine I may end up forgetting about them, because this episode, along with Party Pooped, is just unmemorable.
When you know that the ELEMENT OF LAUGHTER herself can’t bring much life to your episode, you know you have problems. I mean, I did like her spending time with Gummy and a few of the jokes like making food snow, but when it came to the yaks themselves, I will be honest and say MAUD PIE has more life than these yaks – their culture is boring as tar. All they do is stomp on wood all day, according to this episode. (And no, that isn't an innuendo.... but that would probably make the episode interesting at least. )
I think it would have made for a much more interesting episode if, rather than fill up over half of the runtime with them being stuck in that blizzard, it would rather have Pinkie Pie finding out that despite their rocky start in Party Pooped, they’re really just as fun loving and boisterous as she is, learning that she’s the perfect friend for Prince Rutherford. In fact, if this episode was one involving the Cutie Map, I can see it being more that the yaks have an argument among themselves over whether their festivities should get in the way of their work – maybe if there was something up with the surroundings for their village they had to fix and a problem was they were getting stressed over their work and needed to unwind or something? I’m not the best when it comes up with thinking of personal improvements for an episode, but that’s just what I had in mind for a better storyline. (But if it was similar to my idea for a storyline, to make it morally grey and not one sided, probably have it so that Prince Rutherford is so stubborn and proud because he’s been entrusted with the leadership of Yakyakistan to such a degree that he believes he has no time for fun and is better than everyone else, for example.)
Because, to be honest, this episode doesn’t have anything BAD in it, per se, but it doesn’t really have anything especially memorable or good in it either. It’s an episode that’s just…. There. We never really learn WHY Prince Rutherford is so stubborn, and what we DO learn about the yaks pretty much equates to stomping, eating and sleeping. …….Riveting.
5. Hard to Say Anything
Hard to Say Anything is one that I can imagine angered quite a few shippers in the fanbase, namely in how it wrecked the Cheerilee/Big Mac ship. To be honest, I don’t personally think it’s bad Big Mac fell in love with someone on his own, and they do bring up how immoral it would have been if Big Mac had got together with Cheerilee as that would imply that FORCING two people to fall in love would have been a GOOD thing – so I do actually prefer it that Big Mac fell in love with someone on his own, and he was pretty adorkable when he started admitting his affections for Sugar Belle. But yeah, beyond that – this episode was a bit too predictable for my liking, to be honest. I wasn’t a fan of Feather Bangs (even though I did like that he wasn’t a complete ass at the end, his actions of shoving Big Mac aside earlier on in the episode did rub the wrong way almost immediately ) – I’m just not a big fan of characters that remind me way too much of boy band expies (I VASTLY preferred Big Mac’s country song, personally) and him cutting in on Big Mac got annoying fast - and while I do like the way that Sugar Belle pointed out that they were treating her in the wrong, I will be honest and say that Sugar Belle was not that interesting of a character. I mean, she’s nice and sweet and I do like how she stood up for herself and pointed out it was wrong Big Mac and Feather Bangs were treating her unfairly and she was getting annoyed by it, but I just thought she’s not that interesting of a character at the moment. Maybe she’ll get more screentime in later episodes to expand on her character more, but at the moment, she’s not the most interesting character. As for the episode itself, it’s….. meh, to put it simply.
My next Friendship is Magic review I'll be uploading will also be my next Duckyworth's Thoughts review, as it'll be time for me to review the 2017 film next. I'll try and watch it soon, and I'll be sure to share my thoughts with you all.
See you all soon!