On paper, turning titular pony characters of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic into the titular Equestria Girls in Hasbro’s animated film My Little Pony: Equestria Girls is a stupid concept. It’s blatant reuse of previous material doesn’t help much.
The first two-parter episode of the first season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is rehashed in the animated feature “Equestria Girls” when the adorkable Twilight Sparkle enters a new dimension while in pursuit of a thief who stole her Element of Harmony princess crown. This dimension is populated with most of the main and minor MLP:FiM cast (spotting each one is a fun game for Bronies) in human form as they attend a typical high school. All the humans seem to have various cases of jaundice that has rendered their skin to various shades of color only acceptable as normal in cartoons. Now a human herself, Twilight must make friends, confront the villain, and use the power of friendship to make things go back to the status quo.
But as I actually watched the film, I could see how Equestria Girls effectively appeals to the MLP:FiM franchise’s fans. It hits the children with plenty of sight gags, fun animation, and a simple story to follow while showcasing familiar characters in human form. Parents who get dragged to see Equestria Girls will enjoy the positive messages the film sends such as the power of friendship, having confidence, and adapting to a new environment like the new grade their kids will hit after the end of this summer. Bronies will love the various cameos of characters, the callbacks to the original MLP:FiM series, and general humor & tone of the film. Hasbro aimed to make a film that appeals to its fans and Equestria Girls hits it well.
Though “effective” doesn’t mean excellent. Taking off my tiny Brony fanboy hat (I’ve only seen three episodes and remember one) in exchange for my critic hat, I can’t give credit for originality due the plot being a rehash. Various side plots and conflicts are introduced and resolved too quickly to have meaning in the film. Some of the character designs tread upon Furry levels and become a polarizing issue depending on your opinion on Furries. And the pony to human concept still feels stupid and is a blatant pandering to fans as it attempts to widen its target audience while competing with other human doll-based franchises. And it also feels like Hasbro is saying “Now pull this off, cosplayers.”
In the end, I can’t argue with what the fans want. And I did have fun watching Equestria Girls. So if you are a MLP:FiM fan and can find one of the limited screenings of Equestria Girls in your area, it’s at least worth a viewing.
And if you are a Derpy fan, you’ll want to stick around during the end credits.