Creative Commons license icon

Streaming review: 'My Little Pony: A New Generation'

Edited by GreenReaper
Your rating: None Average: 3.1 (14 votes)

'My Little Pony: A New Generation' movie poster And so it begins. Again.

The long running My Little Pony is introducing its latest toyline "generation" with what was supposed to be a theatrical movie. Due to the whole "ongoing pandemic" thing, that was mostly canceled (it was released theatrically in a few regions) and the whole thing moved to the streaming service Netflix, where any further spin-offs will also be held. My Little Pony: A New Generation is directed by Robert Cullen and José Luis Ucha with co-director Mark Fattibene, and has been available on Netflix since September 24 in most regions.

Not to beat around the bush, but the last time My Little Pony launched, it was kind of a thing. I'm sure the vast majority of Flayrah's readership is well aware of the "brony" subculture, but if you somehow missed it, or would just like a refresher, this Ursa Major-nominated video by YouTuber Jenny Nicholson is recommended – though you could always troll through Flayrah's "My Little Pony" tag. The upshot: there are higher expectations attached to this series relaunch than usual.

The movie opens on a scene featuring Friendship is Magic's main cast and animation style, apparently about to set off on some sort of adventure, only to reveal this is just happening in the imagination of some young ponies playing with toys.

It's not clear if this movie takes place in the Equestria of Friendship is Magic, or if its characters are as fictional in this movie's universe as they are in ours. There are some clues that maybe this is the same world, but it's also possible that these worlds just share some similarities. I mean, beyond the whole "populated by intelligent horses" thing. I hope it's not the same; if it is, the movie would share one of the inherent flaws of the Star Wars sequels, in that the older generation's heroes are abject failures.

One of the main differences between this new generation of ponies and the old generation is that the three main types of ponies (unicorns, pegasus and "earth" ponies, i.e. ponies without horns or wings) hate and fear each other. Seeing as how the older show's characters stated goal was to maintain harmony and friendship between everyone, if they're this series' past, they did not end up doing very well at that. Of course, the movie's plot is about the earth pony Sunny's (voiced by Vanessa Hudgens) quest to reunite these divided tribes of little ponies. The actual story begins when the unicorn Izzy (voiced by Kimiko Glenn) arrives in Sunny's hometown of Maretime Bay, naively assuming she'll be welcomed by the earth ponies there.

Once Izzy reveals to Sunny that unicorns have lost their ability to use magic with their horns, and when the two further find out the pegasus ponies can no longer fly, Sunny deduces that what this world needs now is friendship, which will bring the magic back. They are joined on this quest by a pair of princess pega-sisters, Zipp and Pipp (voiced by Liza Koshy and Sofia Carson), as well as Sunny's childhood friend and current sheriff of Maretime Bay, Hitch (voiced by James Marsden). Yes, there's actually a male pony in the main cast this time.

The quest to restore magic is pretty low stakes, with not a lot of real danger involved. However, Hitch's absence allows his slimy little deputy, Sprout (voiced by Ken Jeong) to take over the earth ponies in a surprisingly accurate portrayal of cartoon fascism. Sprout's turn to the dark side allows there to be at least some stakes for the climax.
Sprout doing a good fascist impression in 'My Little Pony: A New Generation'
The movie is a musical, but I found most of the songs so forgettable… sorry, I blanked there a moment, what were we talking about? Oh, yeah, songs. Two were kind of interesting, though:

The animation is pretty good. While a lot of fans of the old show may not appreciate the fact that ponies are now CGI animated, said CGI is detailed and well done. The character designs don't stray too much from formula, but they're simple, sweet and just plain cute, so it gets the job done. They still don't actually look like real horses, though.

Personally, this is the fourth My Little Pony movie I've reviewed, so I was definitely caught up in the whole thing. Maybe it's not fair to compare this movie to its predecessors, but let's be real, it's what we all want to know. Is this a worthy successor to the Friendship is Magic generation? The truth is, I don't see this movie, or any series derived from it, blowing up and becoming the phenomenon with adults that Friendship is Magic was. But that has less to do with the quality of the movie than the fact that this generation has made a conscious decision to skew younger. It's just not trying that hard to push beyond its target audience, and that's fine, even if it's probably not what my target audience wants.

This is how a fox ends this review!

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

There was also a tweet about one of the songs having similar beats to K/DA - POP/STARS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOxkGD8qRB4

But that's hard to find the tweet/note of the comparison that I saw because someone apparently did a whole Friendship is Magic remake of the music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0CTrsCruRg

So that's enough internet for me today.

Your rating: None

Fox is kinda cute, but the FiM one is better. Or furrier, at least, which amounts to much the same to me.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

It's also good to see that Rainbow Dash is wearing her Covid mask for the video. That's January of last year, so she's ahead of the curve.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

On another point I'm sure if you went back in the 90s and said this pony toy collection would have major motion pictures being released in 30 years, they would have told you to eat your hat and do the actual more sane thing and invest in beenie babies instead.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

While we're discussing the music (I totally missed the Nirvana sound, that's a "note from Ed", but now I definitely hear the grunge influence; I don't get the K/DA comparison, other than "similar beats" means someone just realized that pop songs have, well, similar beats) I did actually mean to note in the review that the movie doesn't feature any variation of the "My little pony, my little pony ..." jingle that's been there since the beginning. Yeah, I mean, now the FiM version is the one stuck in my head, but I was well aware of the other versions' jingle long before 2010, despite so obviously not being the target.

It's kind of like a Bond movie without a gunbarrel swoop; you might not notice something's missing at first, but your brain does.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (2 votes)

Also, as streaming movies can qualify for Oscar consideration, there's no reason Netflix can't still submit this movie for the Best Animated Feature category. It will be interesting to see if they do; I mean, it has almost no chance of a nomination. Even if Netflix does submit it, their main FYC push will still definitely be The Mitchells vs. the Machines, which actually does have a chance. 2017's FiM movie was pointedly not submitted, but Netflix feels more like it would than Lionsgate (I mean, if I'm even correct in that's the distributor's choice to make, which I might not be).

I have no idea how the songs would do, though I'm guessing "not well" (speaking of Bond movies, I'm pretty sure Billie Eilish's 'No Time to Die' is going to win that), but I would totally love "Danger, Danger" a.k.a. "Fascist Grunge Pony Gaga: The Song" to be performed live in front of the Academy.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Wrong again. Sunny plays the MLP jingle in Izzy's house, just after they enter, on the "music box" she built.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

While I am now glad I did not put it in the actual article, it's still just a glorified Easter Egg? Dang.

That's like, if the next Halloween movie, the third in this series, only featured Michael Meyers briefly on a TV screen somebody's watching ...

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

It also shows up when showing various situations in which the queen never takes off her crown. She sings "Keeping the queen clean..." in the tune of it.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Got to disagree with this review. It feels like you missed so much of what actually happened or just completely misinterpreted it.

It's not too much of a change having CG ponies because we had that in the previous MLP film and this one also looks really, really good. The animation is smooth and many scenes are just beautiful in their own right.

Sprout's villain song is awesome and probably the best song in the whole film. Sprout's song is also good for showing how things can go bad without someone being evil. While it's true I can't recall all the songs even after watching it twice, both the ones you mentioned did remain in my head. While they were going on, the songs were also pretty cool, if some were perhaps a bit too "pop" for my taste.

The low stakes is not really a bad thing. Not everything is about saving the world. Although, they kind of are trying to do that. When we're talking about what they are trying to accomplish I'm surprised you don't note the similarities with another film you reviewed, Raya and the Last Dragon, as the plots are very similar (no pun intended). Both have a main character whose dad is dead/petrified after the first act and whose mother is never even mentioned. Both involved a previously harmonious world which is now divided and a dream to unite everyone again. Both involve a time jump between the set up and the actual adventure. Both involve travelling from group to group to unite magical stones. Both climax with the stones not actually working and requiring the different parties to give up their animosity and trust each other before the magic works.

I'm also surprised you don't bother mentioning that the whole is just a lot of fun. It is paced well, keeps escalating situations, doesn't take itself too seriously and is packed with jokes. And the good thing is, whether you think it is aimed young or not, those jokes cater to all ages and it never feels too juvenile. There are jokes about paperwork, mortgages, fireman calendars and political allusions that are clearly not aimed at little kids.

I don't know why you think it's not clear whether this is in the same world or not. It's clearly stated that Twilight and the others were real characters and Sunny's dad was doing research on the past. We also can see that in the abandoned architecture at Zephyr Heights. There has been discussion on the failure of the Mane 6; we don't know how long all that was, it could be hundreds or thousands of years and things change in that time scale. The Roman Empire united a lot of places and then collapsed. I think the bigger questions are not just why it failed but how the knowledge of the past was lost, what happened to all the other kingdoms (dragons, changelings, etc.) and how the world continued to function without magic.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

I don't think we disagree with any of the points here; I may not be as enthusiastic, but I liked the animation, liked the "Danger, Danger" song, and overall liked the movie. If that was unclear, I think in this review I was overly cautious and tried to head off bronies who I figured would be ride-or-die FiM purists; I may have judged wrongly there. (Also, a joke at Lady Gaga's expense might have been badly timed.)

I guess the only thing we actually disagree about is the "historicity" of Twilight Sparkle and friends (I'm more of a "MLP multiverse" theorizer). However, I think this may in fact be a wonderful fanfiction prompt for you, Rakuen. Yes, the story of a young pony student named Kenny Firedog (this is your OC self-insert, so you can decide his pony type and change the name if you like) in a Pony Philosophy (Ponylosophy?) course is challenged by his charismatic, handsome, charming, sophisticated, witty and well-hung earth pony professor, Crossie Foxyface, to prove Twilight actually existed. You can add, like, random sex scenes of dubious consent; I know that's kind of your thing (note that any involving Professor Foxyface should make constant and unambiguous reference to how large his genitalia are, even by equine standards, this is VERY IMPORTANT). You can call it "Magic Is (Not) Dead" or something.

Your rating: None

Mmm, perhaps I over read your negativity to the film. But, I'm still not sure how to see this "I don't know what Lady Gaga [or Nirvana] did to deserve this, but it was bad." as a positive reference.

For me, I loved it. Although the entire first half I was bothered by the lack of explanation for what went wrong in the past.

Interesting story prompt though.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

Well, it is a villain song; as far as I know, Lady Gaga is a perfectly nice person (and GR added the Nirvana bit). So it was a comment on morality, not quality.

Your rating: None

I just have one question? Why is there a lighthouse? At no point in the film does it show or imply that the ponies use boats or ships.

Your rating: None

So the pegasi don't crash into the cliffs, of course!

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

I'm going to assume that's more of a budget thing; the animation is really great, but water is notoriously hard to animate, and it's still a relatively small studio behind the movie, so they probably just decided, yeah, the story's not actually about boats and shipping, so we can assume that's all happening just off screen.

I'd say there are plenty of implications that the ponies use boats just in the setting. I mean, besides the lighthouse there is the literal name of earth pony's town being a horsey pun on the word "maritime", which does strongly imply the ponies use shipping. Also, there's not much reason else to have a city in a bay if shipping isn't involved somehow. Plus, the unicorns and pegasi negatively stereotype the earth ponies as smelling fishy, which implies an active fishing industry, of all things. (I think there's a pony parody of Lovecraft's "Shadow over Innsmouth" using seaponies fanfic prompt here.)

Your rating: None

I was kinda hoping for a BioShock Infinite cross-over.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Given the story, I think we can safely assume that the different pony kinds are shut up in their own enclaves and not travelling, shipping or talking one another. (It's still an open question if the three settlements shown are the only pony settlements.) But all that used to happen in the old world and we know that several old world structures and locations still exist. I've heard that Zephyr Heights is built on what used to be Canterlot. True or not, it still has an old station for travelling between settlements. Ponies used to have ships, as seen on multiple occasions in FiM, so the lighthouse (and location of Maretime Bay) could just be a remnant of old Equestria. That seems more likely as we never see or hear of the lighthouse being used.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <img> <b> <i> <s> <blockquote> <ul> <ol> <li> <table> <tr> <td> <th> <sub> <sup> <object> <embed> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <dl> <dt> <dd> <param> <center> <strong> <q> <cite> <code> <em>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This test is to prevent automated spam submissions.

About the author

2cross2affliction (Brendan Kachel)read storiescontact (login required)

a red fox

New teeth. That's weird.