‘My Little Pony’ Review: A Stirring Dose of Female-Hearted Love
The narrative of ‘My Little Pony’ is remarkable for the way it passes the Bechdel test.
It’s very easy to be derisive towards My Little Pony: The Movie. After all, the movie, like its cult TV series, is a tsunami of bubbles, cupcakes, rainbows and everything you can imagine in Skittles colours. And for the regular cynics, it can be very headache inducing.
But if you manage to look past its template of serving the core audience base, it actually has something to offer that most films fail at. It offers a stirring dose of female-hearted love.
The film begins in the wonderland of Equestria where the ponies are gearing up for merriments with thumping music and dance. But the fun is soon taken over by fear, when Tempest (Emily Blunt), a broken-horned unicorn and her storm creatures unleash terror in the land of the never-ending parties.
It’s now up to Princess Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) and her friends Rainbow Dash and Applejack (both voiced by Ashleigh Ball), Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy (Andrea Libman), Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain), and Spike (Cathy Weseluck) to save their homeland.
The flat animation may not be something to rave about, but the narrative is remarkable for the way it passes the Bechdel test.
Considering the number of male-only blockbusters that get peddled by Hollywood, it’s delightful to see a film populated by compelling female players that targets the children, thereby dragging in reluctant adult males and female in the guise of parents.
Moreover, the females in the film, equestrian or otherwise, don’t need to be rescued by men. They can be pretty-eyed, they can sport a long mane and they can fight life-threatening terrors with grace. It is so celebratory towards the female sovereignty that it goes on to make men marginal.
If the con-feline Capper (Taye Diggs) is suspected, the chief villain, the Storm King’s (Liev Schreiber) evilness is plain and boring. By the end of all fighting, singing, and dancing, Jayson Thiessen’s film blows gender norms to smithereens without ballast and bombast.
The TV series bloomed into a cult because it cultivated opposing and distinctive traits to nurture the idea of friendship in Equestria. The film version not only augments it to stage bigger battles, it also bargains emotionally prudent resolutions.
If one of the goons is reduced to tears because a pony lends her ears to him, the broken-horned villain changes sides because our heroine empathises with her. Friendship and a hug can really save the world.
So if you’re a hard-nosed disbeliever not ready to give it a shot despite some well-landed gags, go in for the sake of your kids. This film can make your little ones question the absence of gender parity in cinema while being cuddled by colourful ponies. Isn’t it worth buying a ticket?
(The writer is a journalist, a screenwriter, and a content developer who believes in the insanity of words, in print or otherwise. He tweets @RanjibMazumder)
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