Parents need to know that "My Little Pony: The Movie" (not to be confused with the same-named 1986 movie) will appeal to young kids – especially fans of the "Friendship Is Magic TV" show – and is full of positive messages. But it does have a few scenes that could frighten very young/sensitive children. Equestria (the pony homeland) is under attack by big, skunk-like villains who come out of the sky in airships that make dark clouds that blot out the sun. And ponies are shown in mortal danger – i.e. falling out of one of the airships – but are saved. An evil pony emits dangerous electrical sparks from her horn; at one point, a pony picks up a skull, and a bug crawls out and across her face. Otherwise, the movie is loaded with great take-aways – support your friends, work together, don't give up, etc. – as the ponies band together to drive out their rivals and put on a big Friendship Festival. Expect a couple of mildly rude moments – two belches and a butt-scratch joke – and a few scenes in which characters appear to be attracted to each other or jealous. But overall this is a sweet, gentle movie ideal for young gradeschoolers.
WHAT'S THE STORY?
"My Little Pony: The Movie" opens during a very special day in Equestria – the ponies' Friendship Festival is about to take place, orchestrated by Princess Twilight Sparkle (voiced by Tara Strong) and all her best friends: Rainbow Dash (Ashleigh Ball), Applejack (Ashleigh Ball), Pinkie Pie (Andrea Libman), Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain), and Spike the dragon (Cathy Weseluck). Everything's going well ... until the evil Storm King (Liev Schreiber) and pony-gone-bad Tempest (Emily Blunt) freeze Equestria's three other pony princesses, stop the Friendship Festival, and steal the ponies' magic. Now Twilight and her friends must make a perilous journey to find Queen Novo, ruler of the Hippogriffs (Uzo Aduba), and learn the secret to defeating the Storm King once and for all.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
Stuffed with magic and sweet messages about friendship and kindness, this pony movie is a worthy pick for young viewers – as long as the scary stuff isn't too much for them. Speaking of which – did we really need scenes in which the ponies are in danger of falling off of a massive waterfall or hurtling through the sky after falling from an airship floating above the clouds? It seems a little much for the movie's young target audience. But there are plenty of positive take-aways to make up for it, with the ponies ready – nay, eager – to help each other and everyone else they meet. Parents of princess-mad kids will also appreciate a scene in which Twilight Sparkle doubts her capabilities and an authority figure tells her that "Being a princess means more than just a crown. It's a promise not to let other ponies down."
The puffy pink-and-purple visuals will appeal to young children, too. There are cupcakes and ponies in every color of the rainbow; there are rainbows that explode like fireworks and undersea dance numbers; there are songs about being awesome and getting by with a little help from your friends. And most of all, there's a magical world where (mostly) female ponies exist in a magical land of with all their best friends. It's a place that adults may not be dying to visit, but young viewers will practically want to live there. And this movie is made for them.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 5 and older
Quality: 3 out of 5
Educational value: 2 out of 5
Positive messages: 4 out of 5
Positive role models: 3 out of 5
Violence and scariness: 2 out of 5
Sexy stuff: 1 out of 5
Language: 0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 0 out of 5
Consumerism: 2 out of 5 (Are products/advertisements embedded? Is the title part of a broader marketing initiative/empire? Is the intent to sell things to kids?)
In theaters: October 6, 2017
Director: Jayson Thiessen
Genre: Family and Kids
Run time: 104 minutes
MPAA rating: PG
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