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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that My Little Pony: The Movie (not to be confused with the 1986 movie with the same name) will appeal to young kids -- especially fans of the Friendship Is Magic TV show -- and that it's full of positive messages. But it does have a few scenes that could frighten very young or sensitive children. Equestria (the pony homeland) is under attack by big, skunk-like villains who come out of the sky in airships that make dark clouds that blot out the sun. And ponies are shown in mortal danger -- for example, falling out of one of the airships -- but they are saved. An evil pony emits dangerous electrical sparks from her horn; at one point, a pony picks up a skull, and a bug crawls out and across the face. Otherwise, the movie is loaded with great takeaways -- support your friends, work together, don't give up, etc. -- as the ponies band together to drive out their rivals and put on a big Friendship Festival. Expect a couple of mildly rude moments -- two belches and a butt-scratch joke -- and a few scenes in which characters appear to be attracted to each other or jealous. But overall this is a sweet, gentle movie ideal for young grade-schoolers.
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What's the story?
MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE opens during a very special day in Equestria. The ponies' Friendship Festival is about to take place, orchestrated by Princess Twilight Sparkle (voiced by Tara Strong) and all her best friends: Rainbow Dash (Ashleigh Ball), Applejack (Ashleigh Ball), Pinkie Pie (Andrea Libman), Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain), and Spike the dragon (Cathy Weseluck). Everything's going well ... until the evil Storm King (Liev Schreiber) and pony-gone-bad Tempest (Emily Blunt) freeze Equestria's three other pony princesses, stop the Friendship Festival, and steal the ponies' magic. Now Twilight and her friends must make a perilous journey to find Queen Novo, ruler of the Hippogriffs (Uzo Aduba), and learn the secret to defeating the Storm King once and for all.
Is it any good?
Stuffed with magic and sweet messages about friendship and kindness, this pony movie is a worthy pick for young viewers -- as long as the scary stuff isn't too much for them. Speaking of which, did we really need scenes in which the ponies are in danger of falling off a massive waterfall or hurtling through the sky after falling from an airship floating above the clouds? It seems a little much for the movie's young target audience. But there are plenty of positive takeaways to make up for it, with the ponies ready -- nay, eager -- to help each other and everyone else they meet. Parents of princess-mad kids will also appreciate a scene in which Twilight Sparkle doubts her capabilities and an authority figure tells her that "Being a princess means more than just a crown. It's a promise not to let other ponies down."
The puffy pink-and-purple visuals will appeal to young children, too. There are cupcakes and ponies in every color of the rainbow; there are rainbows that explode like fireworks and undersea dance numbers; there are songs about being awesome and getting by with a little help from your friends. And most of all, there's a magical world where (mostly) female ponies exist in a magical land with all their best friends. It's a place that adults may not be dying to visit, but young viewers will practically want to live there. And My Little Pony: The Movie is made for them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendship in My Little Pony: The Movie. How can you tell the ponies are friends? In what ways do they rely on their friends to help them out of jams? Kids: What qualities do you like most in your own friends?
Why do you think the ponies are brightly colored, while the Storm King, Tempest, and the evil minions are drawn with dark, dull colors? How do movies and TV shows signal that a character is bad? How are they usually dressed? How do they usually look? In real life, are good people always beautiful/colorful and bad people unattractive?
Kids: Do you like the characters in this movie? Have you seen them on toys, books, or clothing? Does watching a movie like this one make you more interested in buying products based on the characters? Do you know what advertising and marketing are?
- In theaters: October 6, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: January 9, 2018
- Cast: Kristin Chenoweth, Emily Blunt, Uzo Aduba, Liev Schreiber
- Director: Jayson Thiessen
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Horses and Farm Animals
- Character Strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild action
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