A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Education about other people, places, and cultures can diminish misunderstandings and avoid unwarranted confrontations.
Stand up for what you believe in. Do your part in welcoming others with open arms. Don't rely on stereotypes or hearsay to judge or cut yourself off from those you don't know. Choose friendship over fear and distrust. The defense industry claims "to be scared is to be prepared," but Sunny counters, "fear is not your friend." The different pony populations needlessly move from defense to offense without any proof they're under threat.
Positive Role Models
Sunny wholeheartedly believes her dad's lifelong lessons that unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies can all get along. This runs contrary to what the rest of the earth pony population believes, which marginalizes Sunny in her own community. They believe these other populations have magical powers and evil intentions to hurt earth ponies. Sunny shows compassion for others and courage in standing up for what she believes in. Phyllis runs a factory to produce unnecessary defense technology, and when her son Sprout becomes sheriff, the power goes to his head and he behaves belligerently. Sheriff Hitch, on the other hand, is able to pivot when faced with the reality that unicorns and pegasi aren't out to hurt him.
The underlying message is not to judge or stereotype others based on appearances, physical or cultural differences, or hearsay. Sunny, Izzy, and Zipp represent a young generation open to relating with "others." A line about choosing openness and friendship rather than "building your wall." The cast behind the characters' voices is diverse.
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Violence & Scariness
Animated violence that could frighten very young kids includes ponies nearly falling off cliffs or out of second-story buildings, a military-style robot attacking defenseless ponies, and characters being chased or pursued in various scenes. Earth ponies believe unicorns can "zap" them with their "horn lasers" and "fry'" their brains. Two characters are imprisoned in a (not very scary) dungeon. The main character's dad has passed away after an introductory scene. A power-hungry sheriff leads an angry, unthinking mob.
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"Butt," "stupid," "lazy," "brute."
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Products & Purchases
The film builds on the My Little Pony brand from Hasbro and could inspire interest in other products and merchandise. A city skyline boasts ads for brands that mimic real brands like CBS, McDonalds, T-Mobile, and Nike.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that My Little Pony: A New Generation has very positive messages about accepting others and rejecting stereotypes and intolerance. There's a bit of animated violence/peril that could frighten very young kids, including ponies nearly falling off cliffs or out of second-story buildings, a military-style robot attacking defenseless ponies, and characters being chased, pursued, or imprisoned. Earth ponies believe that unicorns can "zap" them with their "horn lasers" and "fry" their brains, and all the different pony communities are suspicious and fearful of each other. A group of fillies demonstrates compassion and courage in going against mainstream thinking to show that judging others without first-hand knowledge or experience is a mistake; openness and friendship are better than fear and distrust. In that sense, the film conveys that education about other people, places, and cultures can diminish misunderstandings and avoid unwarranted confrontations. Language is limited to childish taunts like "stupid" and "brute," and the word "butt" is used in both song and dialogue. The film is built around the Hasbro brand and may inspire interest in further My Little Pony merchandising and products. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
You could easily dig for a political message in this film, but if all young viewers take away is the positivity of the sweet characters, tone, and messages, that's plenty. When My Little Pony: A New Generation's characters sing about welcoming others rather than "building your wall," a marching mob following their leader "brainlessly," or how a sheriff's badge creates an "unhealthy power dynamic," it's hard not to find parallels with the human world. But the film never gets too heavy or tries to make us forget we're in Equestria, with visually-rich and magical settings, candy-colored ponies, cute bunnies and other wild creatures, and language like "everypony," "somepony," and "thank hoofness." The star-studded voice cast brings these ponies to galloping life. Musical numbers vary between sweet, pop, and hilarious, with Ken Jeong's angry mob number standing out as particularly memorable.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.