My Little Pony is a cultural force in kids television, bringing back the 70s and 80s traditions of making kids cartoons deep, meaningful, and able to tackle complicated social issues by transforming them into arguments even the youngest child could grasp. For this reason it is loved by children of all ages, as well as many adults, and it was only a matter of time before it made it to the big screen.
There have already been a few films based on the My Little Pony animated series, and although this will be the first major, international, theatrical release of one, the quality of previous films has been superb. The plot, animation, and musical sequences featured in the likes of Equestria Girls and Rainbow Rocks has been of a standard that many adult, theatrical films fail to achieve, so it will be interesting to see what will happen with a major budget behind them.
From the franchise website, we can already tell that the plot is going to be as intense, complex, and yet child-relevant as the series usually is. The sinister villain Storm King has invaded Canterlot and seeks to steal all the magic Equestria, the land where the ponies live, possesses. If something is not done, their nation will fall to the evil tyrant. The Mane Six set off on a daring, action-packed adventure to seek friendship across all corners of their world. They travel beyond Equestria, through “magical mountains, undersea worlds, and even onboard an airship”, in a race against time to find a number of true heroes and true friends to help them save their home.
This will not be the first time that the Mane Six must leave Equestria to find a solution to their problems. For example in the series Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie have to go to Griffinstone to solve a major problem with the Griffins’ lack of friendliness, and Pinkie Pie has travelled to the very borders of Yakyakistan. In the film Equestria Girls the characters find themselves transported to a parallel universe much like the human world, where they must fight to protect the future of both universes. But this film is setting out to be unique in that it is exploring the furthest reaches of the universe of My Little Pony. We have so far barely seen glimpses of a world beyond Equestria, despite constant hinting that their planet is much, much bigger than that, and populated by large numbers of beings equally as fantastical as the ponies themselves. This film is looking to be a proper exploration of their universe.
The cast will be featuring plenty of familiar faces besides the Mane Six, as well as a few new faces, and plenty of star voices alongside the original voice actors from the animated series. We’re looking forward to hearing the usual actors as well as some celebrities, like SIA, in this movie.
Where the animation is concerned, some big changes have happened to prepare the series for the big screen. Eagle eyed viewers will notice that the original series sported much bolder, brighter colors, better suited to television screening. On the other hand, this film has softer lines and gentler, albeit not muted colors, to create better movement and balance out the contrast between the ponies and the scenery. The depth of the animation is also much richer, most likely in preparation for 3D viewing, but this stronger perspective is even obvious in the trailers. The shading and movement is enhanced by what appears to be genuine 3D animation rendering, making the background and many of the features literally pop, and making the textures of the film far more realistic than seen in the series. Nevertheless, the original cartoony style has not been sacrificed, with line art, animation movements, and the bold, slightly flat colouring of the characters being retained. This will definitely help fans, both young and old, who are not keen on too much change.
Finally, whilst we haven’t heard much of the original score, it is looking, or better said sounding, very promising, retaining much of the high quality fans have learned to expect from the series and its related films. However this time we are being treated to a live orchestra for the film’s score, a departure from the usual mostly studio and synthesized background and song music. The change of tune is definitely noticeable, but in a good way.
The film is scheduled to be released in theatres on October 6th this year, a whole month earlier than scheduled, thanks to how well the filming and editing has gone. We can’t wait!