My Little Pony: The Movie (Autism Friendly Screening) (U)



Musical (2017)
104mins Can/US

Starring: Kristin Chenoweth, Tara Strong, Emily Blunt, Liev Schreiber
Director: Jayson Thiessen
Writer(s): Michael Vogel, Meghan McCarthy, Rita Hsiao
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Princess Twilight Sparkle is nervously preparing for the inaugural Friendship Festival in Equestria, aided by pals Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Rainbow Dash. Following the arrival of musical act Songbird Serenade, a large airship descends on Equestria. The vessel contains broken-horned unicorn Tempest Shadow, cake-guzzling underling Grubber and hulking guards loyal to The Storm King. They enslave hundreds of ponies but Twilight Sparkle escapes with her five friends plus Spike the dragon.

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LondonNet Film Review
My Little Pony: The Movie (U)

I'm not, and never have been, the target audience for My Little Pony: The Movie, an animated musical fantasy expanded from a candy-coloured TV series and the popular line of toys. Jayson Thiessen's simplistic yet heartfelt picture grazes in completely different cinematic pastures from the ones I frequent. Judged against other animated features, which have cantered across the big screen in recent months, this hoof-tapping ode to friendship and self-sacrifice isn't quite thoroughbred material. A script credited to three writers is saddled with greetings cards platitudes - "Friendship didn't fail me. I failed friendship!" - that mean nothing but somehow nourish the film's underlying message of steadfast unity in the face of adversity...

My Little Pony: The Movie. Copyright: Lionsgate Films/Hasbro. Caption: Rainbow Dash (voiced by Ashleigh Ball) and Captain Celaeno (Zoe Saldana) in My Little Pony: The Movie, directed by Jayson Thiessen. All Rights Reserved.One clumsy joke for parents references the board game Hungry Hippos while another scene includes a throwaway line of dialogue that trots tantalising close to smut: "That princess is not going to stop me from getting my horn back!" Don't frighten the horses, I mean ponies. Songs are relentlessly upbeat but instantly forgettable, relying on snappy lyrical wordplay like "We got this/You got this/We got this together!"

The film's four-legged heroine is Princess Twilight Sparkle (voiced by Tara Strong). She is nervously preparing for the inaugural Friendship Festival in Equestria, aided by pals Applejack (Ashleigh Ball), Fluttershy (Andrea Libman), Pinkie Pie (Libman again), Rarity (Tabitha St Germain) and Rainbow Dash (Ball again). "Every pony's happiness rests on your hooves," they tell Twilight Sparkle, who frets she will disappoint older princesses Cadance (Britt McKillip), Celestia (Nicole Oliver) and Luna (Germain again). Following the arrival of musical act Songbird Serenade (Sia), a large airship descends on Equestria. "I bet those are the clowns I ordered," giggles Pinkie Pie. Instead, the vessel contains broken-horned unicorn Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt), cake-guzzling underling Grubber (Michael Pena) and hulking guards loyal to The Storm King (Liev Schreiber). They enslave hundreds of ponies and petrify princesses Cadance, Celestia and Luna. Thankfully, Twilight Sparkle escapes with her five friends plus Spike the dragon (Cathy Weseluck). They embark on an epic adventure to save the realm. En route, the friends encounter a smooth-talking feline trickster (Taye Diggs), a gung-ho pirate captain (Zoe Saldana) and an excitable hippogriff princess (Kristin Chenoweth). Meanwhile, The Storm King orders Tempest Shadow to give chase. "Fail me and your horn won't be the only thing that's broken!" he booms.

My Little Pony: The Movie is a harmless and occasionally mawkish fable, brought to life predominantly with the same hand-drawn visuals as the TV series. Computer-animated elements are sporadically introduced for set pieces but the quality throughout is quite basic. Vocal performances are energetic, led by Libman's Pinkie Pie - a veritable sugar rush of high-decibel whoops and whinnies. Director Thiessen doesn't rein in her exuberance and she becomes the mane attraction.

- Jo Planter

My Little Pony: The Movie. Copyright: Lionsgate Films/Hasbro. Caption: Rainbow Dash (voiced by Ashleigh Ball) and Captain Celaeno (Zoe Saldana) in My Little Pony: The Movie, directed by Jayson Thiessen. All Rights Reserved.


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