Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Thoughts: Equestria Girls

This afternoon I had to hit up my local Walmart to pick up a replacement shower head and during my travels in the store I bumped into the Equestria Girls dolls which clearly state the DVD is available.  So I wandered on over to the DVD section and found one copy left.  Curiosity got the best of me and I brought it home with me.

Side note: My shower head had calcium build up I was unable to get out and was not functioning properly.  I managed to change the shower head all on my own and it’s so awesome now!  Sorry…

Once I had my shower fixed I popped Equestria Girls in the DVD player.  Now I am sure you’ve noticed by now that I tend to root for the underdog.  I liked Heroes of Cosplay last week and I liked it a lot more this week.  I also liked Iron Man 3 much more than the previous two Iron Man films.  I did not like Ghost Rider.  I like underdogs usually.

Equestria Girls quite literally seemed like High School Musical meets My Little Pony meets Monster High. 

WARNING: SPOILERS
The story was extremely familiar.  Twilight goes to this alternate world and meets the other pony/human character in the exact same way she does in the first My Little Pony Friendship is Magic episode with slight differences.  Fluttershy is the first person she meets.  Fluttershy is being bullied, Twilight stands up for her, when telling Twilight her name she squeaks it out just like in FIM and once she sees Spike she gets social.  Rarity grabs Twilight and changes her wardrobe and hair to disguise Twilight from ridicule very similar to FIM. 

The new protagonist Sunset Shimmer steals Twilights crown and intends on being crowned the princess of the school dance to which Twilight recalls the Galloping Gala.  So the six leading ladies go on a quest to have Twilight crowned the Princess of the Fall Formal.  Very reminiscent of when the ponies were preparing for the Galloping Gala.  Then when Twilight wins the crown Sunset Shimmer steals the crown and transforms into an evil human gargoyle like creature.  Similar to Queen Crystalis during the Royal Wedding.

Now I don’t expect the intended target market (children) to make these connections.  Although you never know, when I was 5 years old I remembered the wrapping paper my parents used on my Christmas gifts from the previous year.

In a lot of ways the film is boring because it’s a rehashing of previous successful pony storylines mashed together.  However, it does have its great moments.  They spend a bit of time following Twilight as she adjusts to being a human and not understanding how to use hands or run on two legs instead of four.  I liked the twist on the six friends.  Sunset Shimmer had broken up the five friends and when Twilight meets them they are all upset with each other and Twilight unites them (Elements of Harmony much?) by uncovering Sunset Shimmer as the cause.

It’s a lot of fun watching for the background character cameos.  I might watch again just to be on the lookout for more cameos.  I did see Big Macintosh, Scoot-a-loo, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Featherweight, DJ-Pon3, Trixie, Snips, Snails, Granny Smith and I know there are many more.  For the background characters it was interesting to see how they translated from pony to human animation wise.

What I did not like was the choice in costuming for the characters and the use of makeup.  The makeup seemed out of place.  These are not kids playing dress up.  These are supposed to be young girls going to a dance putting on bright red lipstick like it’s a makeup advertisement.  My problem with the costuming is the short skirts.  There is a scene where Pinkie Pie leans forward and I realized realistically her whole bottom would have been on display because the way the skirt was cut and the animation while she moved the skirt pulled up the back much like it would in real life.  Then while the girls are getting dressed for the dance Applejack has a dress on that is suited for her and floor length.  Upon seeing this Rarity shortens it to small skirt.  Clearly modesty is not okay.  I am not sure if the animators thought this was the appropriate route to take with the short skirts and makeup montage but I don’t see as being appropriate for young girls.   That’s my only real issue with the movie at the same time it’s so minimal I wouldn’t stop my child from seeing it (and no I do not have one).

It’s a cute film.  It’s not to the caliber of the TV Show.  It was not nearly as good at as the TV show.  It seemed a bit out of place.  It’s clear the animators are not used to dealing with humans.  I think the charm of MLP FIM is that they are ponies and how they function in the show is unique and while human-like still very different.

What killed me was the behind the scenes clips where they discuss how they deliberately returned to MLP FIM episodes as a homage to the TV show and that it was a new challenge to create the film because they were human.  I don’t understand the challenge when the script is the same.  This is not challenging.  It’s modifying.  They kept talking about how new and amazing everything is and it’s not.  It’s very obvious the intent was to make money while still promoting friendship.

I didn’t love this.  I don’t hate it.  It has its charming moments.  I am kind of blasé about it.