Let’s get one thing clear: I appreciate the show on a passive level. Yes, I have seen every episode but I like it for the writing and the strong female characters, something I haven’t found since Buffy. I don’t engage in the fanfic, the fanart, or any of the brony community that has overrun the Internet. When I saw an ad for this run before the previews the first time I saw Monsters University, I cringed. Sadly, this was released to home media on my birthday a few weeks ago, making this a birth movie (see Rango for definition). I caught this on YouTube just to see how bad it was. Just becuase you can humanize ponies does not make it 20% cooler.
Now, for those who generally avoid this stuff unless you have a young daughter or in fact a brony (slowly backing away) and have already seen this, I’ll bring you up to speed. Twilight Sparkle, having been transformed into an alicorn (half pegasus, half unicorn) and elevated to princess status at the end of the third season, has to jump through a portal in order to retrieve a crown with mystical powers from an evil pony. On the other side, however, is the human world. She is transformed into a human and has to fit in at high school while trying to get the crown back. Of course, there are humanized forms of every pony in this dimension, including Princess Celestia and her flowing sherbet-colored hair (this looks incredibly bad from a professional standpoint, running a high school or whatever with obnoxious hair colors but that’s not really the point here).
Wouldn’t you know it, there’s a school dance! As Twilight meets up with her now-hateful friends, they team up to take down this bad pony and save the dance. How? By having the whole school vote for Twilight as the princess of the dance; that way, she can get the magic crown or something. A showdown takes place as the evil pony/human whatever transforms into a demon and brainwashes the students (Wilhelm scream included in the chaos). Of course, all is right and things are set up for season 4 as Twilight is introduced to a potential love interest that she fell head over hooves for in the human world.
The show itself isn’t that bad. Sure, it’s had some controversy like the removal of Derpy Hooves (who will be back in season 4, thankfully for reasons too lengthy to go into here). But here, the main problem is the humanization of the characters. The appearance is Bratz-like, unrealistically skinny. There was no real reason to go into the human dimension other than to expand the storyline and sell toys that also look like Bratz. It’s canon, there’s no way around it. Also, did it really need a theatrical release? Why not just a direct-to-DVD release, like what Planes should have been in the first place? Who knows?
Putting aside the cynicism, this wasn’t my cup of tea. Some of the framing was off where if one person was talking, you never saw their faces or the mouth was cut off. A little more work in preproduction could have been useful. Take it or leave it.