Has bro’s My Little Pony has been redesigned several times. Since initially developed a popular toy in the 1980s. Not only have the toys themselves changed. Shifting from a traditional cute animation style to a standout anime-inspired look.
But individual films and TV series are gradually modernizing their aesthetics and storytelling. The franchise hit record highs. When the “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” era kicked off in 2010.
With a new gathering of rabid fans – not just young girls. But also “Armor,” a nickname for those who are passionate (to some degree of toxicity). Adult male fan base.
The latest iteration, “My Little Pony: New Generation,” lightly hits the restart button:
Taking the sensitivity of the series over the past decade another step. Although despite previous plans with new characters and CG animation. It retains the spirit, energetic pursuits of its predecessors, focusing on friendship, empowerment, and magic.
Honouring the past as we tell a new story about the seemingly impossible quest. Especially for mares to reunite three fragmented lands and cultures works. Which wonders in providing innovative, fine-grained and family-friendly products.
The mythical kingdom of Equestria was hit hard. Because its three species – ponies, pegasi and unicorns. Which had been torn apart for reasons no one remembers. Suspicion and hatred of unicorns and pegasi are ingrained.
In the minds of the humanized horse population of Maritime Bay. And this prejudice is widespread. The school has erased the past from their history books. And their main commercial business, run by war victor Phyllis Cloverleaf (Elizabeth Perkins).
It is based solely on fueling the fear of winged or horned ponies. But for the stubborn and personable Sunny Starscout (Vanessa Hudgens) and her father Argyle (Michael McKean). Both belief in the path to understanding. Strange creatures have become curiosities.
Years later, after her father’s death, Sunny proudly carries the association torch and protests xenophobic propaganda. There is much to the chagrin of her pony friends. The heroic Sheriff Hitch Trailblazer (James Marsden) and raunchy deputy Sprout Cloverleaf. But with the arrival of Izzy (Kimiko Glen).
A cheerful and vibrant purple unicorn, her world is turned upside down. Desperately trying to get her lost magic back. Fleeing the ignorant townspeople, this dynamic duo flees to Pegasus-occupied Marshmallow Heights. Hoping for answers from a stranger they suspect still has their magic.
The narcissistic Queen Haven (Jane Krakowski) and her two daughters, a social media influencer. Pip Petals (Sofia Carson) and rebellious Zip Storm (Lisa Cauchy). But as the mystery unfolds and the truth about her world crystallizes, Sunny begins to question everything.
Directors Robert Cullen and Jose L. Ucha and co-director Mark Fatibene provide the film with cinematic texture.
The best rendered in sequences such as Sunny and Izzy’s escape from a problematic situation. Where a couple must dodge slime balls in virtual camera lenses and tunes. The sleek, sharp visual agility blends effortlessly with sassy poppy tunes (executive producer Ron Fair).
The rich colour history reflects the changing tone of the narrative that turns cold in sad times. Building a world is key to new beginnings like this, and the filmmakers gave each setting a distinct personality. Zephyr Heights is populated by lush Art Deco architecture.
And embellished with gold that reflects the beauty of Pegasi; the land of the unicorns, Bridlewood, is a bustling fairytale forest that contrasts with their current sluggishness; and Maritime Bay on Earth’s ponies are quaint and cosy villages that reflect their traditions.
Screenwriters Tim Sullivan and Gillian Barrow added layered and clever subtext to the story. However, it follows a predictable path and bears a striking resemblance to “Heaven and the Last Dragon”.
As a brand, in terms of franchise virtues. It’s heartening to see female characters find their combined voices a vital force. The directors maintain a pleasant tone and admirable humour. However, their brilliance lies in their ability to slip into heavier thematic content. That speaks of systematic oppression, corruption, and fascism.
Typically, however, there are some very disappointing aspects.
There are no consequences for those in power who have deceived the public. Sprout, who had become a dictator in Hitch’s absence, left without the cattle. As did his mother Phyllis, Queen Haven, and Pippa. While this creative choice may be consistent. Or an omission of the magical power of pardon ponies (which isn’t shown).
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It’s still a misunderstanding presented to younger film audiences. Also, the climax of the third act need not be self-contained. Where a more straightforward, more streamlined resolution would make more sense.