A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks is the sequel to 2013's My Little Pony: Equestria Girls and follows the same group of ponies-turned-teenagers at Canterlot High School as they compete against their classmates in a battle of the bands and face off against a witchy trio called The Dazzlings. Though the movie is kid-friendly overall, there are a few sinister moments that could scare very young children, such as when The Dazzlings cast a dark and spooky spell over the entire school and turn into red-eyed, winged dragon creatures toward the end. And while the takeaway messages are overwhelmingly positive -- including valuable lessons about friendship, forgiveness, communication, teamwork, and redemption -- the characters do engage in a lot of mean, bullying behavior before the story reaches its resolution. And, of course, there's all of the tie-in merchandising associated with everything My Little Pony.
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What's the story?
All is well at Cantalot High in MY LITTLE PONY: EQUESTRIA GIRLS: RAINBOW ROCKS. Rainbow Dash, Applejack (both voiced by Ashleigh Ball), Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy (both voiced by Andrea Libman), and Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain) have forgiven the reformed Sunset Shimmer (Rebecca Shoichet) for her villainous ways -- and, like the rest of the students, the girls are getting ready for the school's upcoming musical showcase ("Mane Event"). They're excited to perform with their band, The Rainbooms. But when a trio of mysterious new students, The Dazzlings, shows up and turns the friendly showcase into a full-fledged competition, friends start to turn on each other, bickering and bullying and pulling out mean tricks. It soon becomes clear that The Dazzlings have cast a sinister spell on the student body using black magic, which feeds off the negative energy that's generated by the mean-spirited students in the competition. The Equestria Girls call on Princess Twilight (Tara Strong) to return to their world and use her "friendship magic" to break the spell -- but once Twilight sees what she's up against, she knows she can't do it on her own. Will the Equestria Girls band together and triumph over The Dazzlings' black magic before it consumes the entire school -- and even destroys their own friendships?
Is it any good?
Fans of My Little Pony will love the magical Equestria Girls and will enjoy watching them work together to prevail over the villainous, witchy Dazzlings. Kids new to all things Pony will be drawn to the colorful characters, the catchy music, the sweet and enduring friendships, and the fun the girls have together, whether they're taking selfies at a sleepover, working on a new song at band practice, or strategizing about how to break The Dazzlings' evil spell.
But Rainbow Rocks isn't all eye candy and squeaky-clean fun. The Dazzlings' ability to draw power from the students' negativity, creating strife simply by tapping into the dark side of competition, may resonate with older kids who've witnessed -- or taken part in -- group bullying or seen a healthy competition go sour. But the strong friendships between the Equestria Girls -- and the tools of communication, forgiveness, and collaboration they use to work through conflicts and challenges -- provide examples of positive behavior and resolution for kids of all ages to follow, and they're ultimately where the value in this My Little Pony tale lies.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the value of friendship and loyalty. What makes the friendship between the Equestria Girls special?
Why do you think Sunset Shimmer changed her ways in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks? Can you think of a time you've forgiven a friend or sibling for something they've done? What does it mean to really forgive someone?
Have you ever been bullied or know someone who has? How did it make you feel? What are some ways you can stand up to bullying?
The Dazzlings become powerful and are able to cast their spell by soaking up the bad behavior and negative energy of the students at Canterlot High. What do you think it means to "feed" off the energy of someone else? Can you think of a time you've been affected by someone else's attitude or behavior?
How familiar are you with the My Little Pony characters and toys? Does seeing the movie make you want to get the associated toys? Would you have wanted to see the movie if you didn't already watch My Little Pony or have some of the ponies?
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