A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that for the 30th anniversary of the initial release of My Little Pony: The Movie, Shout! Factory has issued a new DVD that includes sing-alongs as a special feature. First created as a tie-in and marketing tool for the 1980s My Little Pony toy franchise, this film has a profusion of cartoon action and jeopardy and is best for children who are comfortable with the difference between real and imaginary violence. The ponies and their friends narrowly escape from an assortment of witches and comic monsters. They are chased, fall from steep places, are flooded by purple goo, and encounter what may be scary creatures for younger or more sensitive kids. The three witches are mean and insult one another: "shut up," "stupid," "pea brain," "do-nothings." My Little Pony is still a vastly popular brand with a continuing television series, merchandise, collectibles, and even fan groups made up solely of adult males. This early movie, with its original ponies, simple messages, and adventurous story, offers today's fans a look at what was and old fans a bit of nostalgia.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the musical film MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE, all the ponies are happily living in Ponyland, and the Spring Festival is coming. Unfortunately, Hydia (voiced by Cloris Leachman), a wicked witch, and her evil daughters Draggle (Madeline Kahn) and Reek (Rhea Perlman), despise seeing everyone so happy. Their evil plan? They'll send Smooze, a slimy purple goo, into the land and destroy everything. At the same time, Lickety-Split, a Baby Pony, gets her feelings hurt when she tries a new dance step in the festival's show and no one likes it. She's so unhappy that she decides to "go it alone" and, accompanied by Baby Dragon Spike, takes off, only to get terribly lost once she's outside Ponyland. With the Smooze threatening them all, and with Lickety-Split gone, the ponies find themselves desperately in need of help. They call upon their human friends (two girls and a boy) and the magical Flutter Ponies, then set off to save the day -- not an easy task as they encounter an assortment of monsters, creatures, and the perilous Shadow Forest. It's only by working together, using wizardry and fairy power, and being very brave can the ponies make everything all right again.
Is it any good?
The franchise has evolved over the 30 years since this movie, the only My Little Pony feature, was released, so this film seems relatively primitive. Ponies, their stories, their messages, and their merchandise have gone through four generations of design development and creative change. In this early incarnation, the songs are generic. The adventures have elements that may be scary for kids who aren't able to discern the difference between real and make-believe violence. The super-sweet voices and saccharine dialogue may be hard to take for older kids and grown-ups. It's a clear example of a time when toy manufacturers were new to the world of mass marketing in a variety of formats. Still, there's a nostalgic appeal for the early fans and devotees who have kept this brand alive for so long. For today's My Little Pony fans, there are a lot better DVDs and series episodes to watch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how toys, movies, TV shows, apps, and merchandise often are interrelated. How does your family deal with the barrage of available products that are marketed in this way?
If you're currently a fan of My Little Pony, how have the ponies changed since this movie was made? What qualities do you see in the Friendship Is Magic series that were not present in My Little Pony: The Movie?
What does it mean when the Pony says, "It's easy to be courageous when you're helping others."
- In theaters: June 6, 1986
- On DVD or streaming: January 27, 2015
- Cast: Danny DeVito, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman
- Director: Michael Joens
- Studio: Hasbro
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Horses and Farm Animals
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: December 18, 2019
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