Tooncrap #1 - Equestria Girls

My Little Humans: Blandness Is Magic
Hasbro/DHX Media: 2013

Written by: Raymond Gallant

Well, this is a new place to hang my hat. Hi there. The name's Raymond Gallant, and I'm a cartoon reviewer. Or, to be more specific, a bad cartoon reviewer. Not that I'm bad at reviewing cartoons, I review bad cartoons (I think they get it). Back in 2008, I had decided to take my longtime devotion to the website, and essentially rip it off.. err, pay tribute to it by creating my own blog for crappy cartoons, known simply as Tooncrap: Animated Atrocities. And boy, have these five years been rough. From awful Brazilian rip-offs, to the worst of Dic animation, to many an encounter with Captain Planet. I've sat through some of the worst in animation, and at times, just some of the more mediocre animated works around. And it's brought me to this fine burg called Game Show Garbage. Even if I'm essentially just unclogging the unplugged sink of the animation world, I'm just glad to be on the team.

And, if it wasn't obvious to everyone who knows me well, I'm a brony. Not just a brony, a massive addict to all things My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Lauren Faust's 2010 reboot of the series was something extremely unexpected for me. It took a franchise I had once thought to be simply just too girly or just a piss poor attempt to shill merchandise, and gave us an amazing animated series with great writing, memorable characters, great music, and shockingly, a lot of action. And when Lauren left the show to the hands of Hasbro, and head writer Meghan McCarthy, there was worries that the show would revert back to the days of being a glorified toy commercial.

And they were kinda right. Don't get me wrong, the show is still entertaining to watch, and I barely hate it, but with stuff like the royal pony wedding, and the now infamous Princess Twilight Sparkle debacle, the writing is pretty much on the wall on just how badly the show is slipping away from original concepts that felt more open to all audiences (surprisingly that of older men), and more toward what would sell to little girls. And thus comes Equestria Girls, a toyline that would take the beloved pony characters and make them humans.

Why? Well, there's been this little Mattel toyline called "Monster High" that for lack of a better turn was giving all other competition such a mighty wallop, and Hasbro wanted to get in on that cold hard Monster High money. But instead of, I don't know, creating a brand new IP, they'd leech of their most successful girl's toy product at the time, My Little Pony. Hasbro execs claimed the reason they chose to humanize the characters was after seeing plenty of humanized pony art online.

Let's just hope they kept the safe search on.

And to ensure the success of the toys, there was going to be a My Little Pony: Equestria Girls movie. But Hasbro was making sure to go all out on this one. This wasn't just going to be some throw together, half assed direct-to-DVD. No, this was going to be some throw together direct-to-DVD that would go straight to theatres first!

Now before I start this review, I will say that I don't hate this movie. In fact, I do like it to a degree, and even said so when I first reviewed it back in June for Freakin Awesome Network. But since then a lot of the film hasn't held up all too well, and it certainly can feel like a chore to sit through in the long run. So, without further ado, let's enter the mirror world known as the realm of the animated, and let's review this thing.

We open the film as our main characters are exiting a train as they've arrived at the crystal empire. They've been invited to visit Princess Cadance and the other princesses for a random summit that won't ever be explained as to what its importance was. Everyone is excited except for the protagonist Twilight Sparkle, who isn't all that jazzed about the attention's she's been getting since becoming a princess (don't worry, thousands of bronies felt the same way), nor is she fond of her new wings and big crown thingy.

They're welcomed by the other princesses and nothing of any importance really happens. The ponies all go to sleep, but Twilight's still having problems adjusting to her constant wingboners, which leads us into the film's theme song, which is an updated version of the show's theme that I actually like. It's just sad that it was never adapted to season 4, while the actual show gets a crappy song that is being outclassed by an epic Italian theme.

Curse you Italy.

Curse you Santino!

But Twilight's attempts at slumber are cut short as a mysteriously cloaked figure sneaks into Twilight's room and switches crowns. Twilight wakes up to see the thief, but is unable to catch her as she jumps into a conveniently placed mirror/portal. Twilight's mentor Princess Celestia tells Twilight and her friends that it's her former student named Sunset Shimmer, who after not being happy with the way she was being taught by Celestia, jumped in this mirror portal and wasn't seen since. But now she's come back to just conveniently abscond with Twilight's crown.

But since Twilight's crown was part of the elements of harmony, the show's "in-case-of-emergency" weapons used to keep the peace and stop any no good nicks controlled by the mane six, if it doesn't come back from the other world in three days, it could cause much doom and horribleness for Equestria as the portal won't open for another 30 moons.

Which brings me to problem #1 I have with this film. They never explain how long 30 moons are. Is it days? Months? Are we going by an actual moon cycle of about 27 days? Because if that would be around 810 days, which would be a little over 2 years. But the show has also mentioned that the apple family reunions happen every 100 moons, but Twilight was around for one in the pilot, which would mean that if we went by lunar cycle, the pilot would be 2700 days, or almost 7 and a half years, and...

Oh dear, I've gone cross eyed.

Anyhoo, it's a really long time apparently. Twilight has to go into the portal and retrieve the crown from Sunset. Her friends, being important characters to this world, and have been pivotal in almost all of Twilight's adventures, are of course told they can't come either. Something to do with protecting Equestria in case Twilight fails or some other contrived bullcrap. And we'll see why this little thing pisses me off the most as the film goes on. But Twilight, ever vigilant jumps into the portal, and is accompanied by Spike, her dragon assistant/little brother/sorta son.

The duo awaken in a new world. Spike has been turned into a dog (Fitting, since he's the bitch of the show), and Twilight has become the sickest, most inhumane creature imaginable... a human teenager. She doesn't take this well, since she has a panic attack over her new look. She also has a hard time getting adjusted to walking on two legs, or not having a unicorn horn. And this will be the majority of the jokes for the foreseeable future, Twilight trying to adjust to a human body. It's funny at first, with her trying to gallop with her hands and feet, but quickly wears out its welcome.

Twilight and Spike enter Canterlot High, where Twilight finally sees herself for the first time. She also almost gets trampled by the many students of the school. She also bumps into this guy.

This is Flash Sentry, better known as OBVIOUS LOVE INTEREST! You don't really need to know anything else about him because, let's be honest, there's nothing else to really know about him. He's the cute boy who plays in a band shredding his awesome guitar and that's it. For a show that is extremely brilliant at character development, they must have went out back and took a whiz instead of coming up with any character at all for Flash.

Twilight eventually finds Sunset Shimmer berating a girl for finding a crown she dropped. Twilight comes to the girl's defense, and we learn that it's this world's version of her friend Fluttershy. After Sunset leaves, not putting two and two together that Twilight may have come to the other world, Twilight introduces herself to Fluttershy, and we get almost a moment for moment redo of her original introduction in the pilot.

Which brings me to Problem #2 I have with this movie: Half of the damn movie feels like it's ripping off the pilot having Twilight just meet her friends again. You know, instead of building a more interesting story with her actual friends from the pony world who are far more interesting than these strangers. And I know they're exactly the same traits and all, but they're still strangers that Twilight has to meet and befriend all over again because the almighty contrived story demands it.

Oh, and there was a song before all of this too, but honestly, I completely forgot about it because, sadly, most of the songs in this are pretty forgettable. Which, for a show with some of the greatest music for a kids show, is pretty darn unforgivable. Maybe one song in this whole film is good in my opinion, and no, it's not the one most people are thinking of.

Fluttershy tells Twilight that the crown was given to... ugh... PRINCIPAL Celestia. Twilight asks about the crown, and Celestia suggests that Twilight, who by the way is not a student of this school, should perhaps run for queen of fall formal, as the winner gets the crown. However, the challenge will be tough, as the current queen is, you guessed it...

Frank Stallone.

No, of course it's Sunset Shimmer. Twilight finds the head of party planning, who is of course this world's Pinkie Pie, and makes her squiggle with the first pen she's ever held. She also meets Applejack. It's also made quite apparent that the former friendship of Applejack, Pinkie, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Rarity has hit a bit of a snag, but they can't for the life of them figure out why, so they'll just be angry with each other instead, because that's the logical way to handle things. After Twilight leaves, AJ and Pinkie get bullied around by Sunset Shimmer and her lackeys Snips and Snails.

Of all the lackeys to get, you get Trixie's sloppy seconds.

After finally realizing, 'Oh snap, that girl I encountered earlier that looks like Twilight Sparkle really IS Twilight Sparkle', she encounters Twilight and tells her that she can't win. She also says that certain things can happen if an element of harmony is in another world. We'll see what that is exactly, and trust me, it's as underwhelming as it sounds.

After we get a funny bit with this world's version of the Great and Powerful Trixie and peanut butter crackers, Twilight does begin to doubt her abilities to win this election. She decides to study on how to win over the different social cliques that run the school. The jocks, the creative's, the nerds. And, just like any real school, not an emo or Goth to be seen. While she does things like learn how to type and not pick up things like a horse would, she's being stalked by Snips and Snails, who document her every move with their cell phones.

After sleeping in the library (I guess nobody really pays attention to anything in this damn school), she finds herself being laughed at by everyone in school. She's pulled into another room by Rarity (AKA THE BEST CHARACTER EVER! DISPUTE IT AND DIE!) who tries to disguise her so she won't be noticed. Also, Spike the dragon has a crush on Rarity the unicorn. So in this world, Spike the Dog is in love with Rarity the human. All I can say is, Rarity may want to throw those boots out after all this. When her otherworld friends arrive, Twilight soon learns that Sunset Shimmer put out a smear campaign mocking Twilight's horse like antics.

Hey, a story about cyber bullying. That would actually be an interesting idea. Too bad that we're too busy with crowns and fall formals, and other foolishness to have any interesting side plots. Twilight finally sits most of her alternate universe friends down and tries to get an answer as to why they all stopped being friends. It turns out that they got text messages from people who claimed to be their friends, but soon learn from Twilight that it could have been someone else. And if you guessed it was Sunset Shimmer, congrats. You win the prize.

Here, take this copy of Dogzilla. Also, holy crap I actually had this book as a kid.

So, her friends all forgive themselves for not once thinking that this may have been a situation where they were all being duped, and they don't tell Principal Celestia or Vice Principal Luna (yeah, she got roped into this too) about Sunset Shimmer's multiple cases of cyber bullying, because we still have over half an hour left to kill. The only friend left to get back in the fold is Rainbow Dash. Man, with Applejack and Rainbow Dash's fierce competitive nature and inability to admit they're ever wrong, this could be a major conflict that could really make things interesting.

Or, they could just hug it out. Sure, fine, at least this whole subplot is finally dead and buried.

So, Rainbow Dash is on board for making Sunset look like a fool, but only if Twilight can beat her in a game of soccer. Twilight is, of course, easily beaten. But Rainbow Dash being the cocky douche she is, still decides to help out. Meanwhile, Snips and Snails are once again taking pictures of Twilight while everyone else is none the wiser.

We get more awkward romance stuff with Twilight and Flash Cardboard... err, Sentry. We also learn that Flash used to be Sunset Shimmer's boyfriend. Oh my god, could this lead to some interesting back-story on if Sunset was always evil in this alternate world? Will this mean actual character development for Flash Sentry? Will he and Sunset even interact at all in this film? And the answer is


Once again, an added idea for conflict is swatted away, and all that we're left is the fact that Twilight may end up being Flashy's sloppy seconds... or thirds... or fourths... or elevenths.

Since we're reminded of the actual conflict of this story with the fall formal crown, Twilight and friends try to drum up major interest the way any generic high school story does, by having a big musical number in the school cafeteria. The song is okay. I don't honestly find it to be as memorable and catchy as it honestly should be. It's harmless, and a better song than we had earlier in the film, but it's nothing special.

So, now everyone seems to like Twilight, which means that Sunset is in danger of losing the fall formal now. So she gets Snips and Snails to wreck the gymnasium, ruining the formal, and putting Twilight to blame. After being called into the office of vice principal Luna, it looks like Twilight is pretty much screwed. However, she's saved by Flash Sentry, who just happens to find the photos of Twilight that were cut up and glued onto the photos of the gym being trashed.

So Twilight's name is cleared, but now Twilight only has until the end of the night to get the gym fixed, retrieve the crown, and get back through the portal before it closes. She finally reveals the truth about her and Spike, as her friends manage to take it rather well. They work to fix up the gym, and get help from all the cliques who now like each other thanks to the magic of friendship, or maybe the magic of plot contrivance. This is all done through a forgettable song about fixing things up.

This is followed by ANOTHER SONG with the girls getting all dressed up for their big night. After that, we get some more awkwardness between Twilight and Flash Blandry. At the fall formal, the winner of the crown is Twilight. Hooray for the girl who doesn't even actually go to this school, or live in this universe, or belong in this dull film.

But before we can wrap things up on a high note, Snip and Snails capture Spike, and lure Twilight and company outside, as Sunset channels her inner Triple H, and is about to smash the portal with a sledgehammer. Though, would the portal really be destroyed? I mean, if she threw the hammer into it, wouldn't it just fall into the other dimension. I'd assume if anyone was waiting at the portal, they'd have an awfully big headache. Or die.

We get a game of hot potato with the crown until Sunset Shimmer finally gets her hands on it and puts it on her head. And she begins to transform into the fearsome, dangerous...

Whatever the hell that is.

The newly powered Sunset Shimmer begins to destroy the school, and put the students in a state of hypnosis. She then reveals her master plan, which is to lead the students into the portal and take over equestria with her army of hypnotized teenagers.

Sigh... problem #3. Sunset Shimmer's plan is easily the stupidest we've ever seen in this series. Think about it. We've had a villain who shrouded equestria in eternal night, a draconequis who turned Ponyville into the chaos capitol of the world while corrupting the mane six, a changeling queen who sabotaged a wedding to try and feed on the love of all of the ponies in canterlot to feed her children, and say what you will about the lacklusterness of King Sombra, but he left a fearsome impact on his former crystal empire slaves.

But the best excuse for an evil plan is for Sunset Shimmer to lead an army of teenagers into a dimension where they'd have to learn to adjust to their new bodies, and ultimately not be that much of a threat because how would they know to use their new powers be they earth pony, unicorn, or pegasus? Hell, I would have easily accepted her using the crown's powers to try to take over this universe, but this whole poorly cooked up revenge plot really makes Sunset a real moron.

With the help of Twilight's friends, she grows wings, longer ears, and a tail. Her friends also do the same as they morph in really cheesy, almost Sailor Moon-esque fashion. They combine their powers to form Captain Planet... I mean the rainbow of doom to turn Sunset Shimmer back to her normal self. I guess her friends and the elements really are useless if she can make the rainbow with 5 strangers and one element of harmony.

Sunset apologizes for her action, as she clearly never understood the powers of friendship, or magic, or awful toy promoting. Twilight has her crown now, and could go home seeing as there's like maybe a few minutes left before the portal closes. But no, she still has to have her dance with Flash, and then leave. She returns to the other world and tells her friends of the adventures they were denied having, and how they clearly could easily be replaced with five other people who look and act exactly the same, because screw those important bonds the show made.

Oh, and Flash Sentry is a pony too. Was he in the portal world too, or not? Who cares. it's over. And it ends with I honestly think is the best song in the film with "A Friend For Life". As well as a Derpy cameo.

And that's Equestria Girls. And I gotta admit, this wasn't as fun to watch on a repeated viewing. There are some good moments, some actually funny lines at times, and I do like the human designs of the pony characters, both the main characters and popular background ponies. I also don't hate the songs, despite them being rather unremarkable

But the plot is really, really bad. From the multiple conflicts that are easily killed off before they can escalate to anything interesting, to the really bad villain scheme of Sunset Shimmer, who in the long run is really forgettable as a villain. She has no real interesting personality, nor enough back story in the film to make you care about her motives. In fact, the only way to learn anything about her past is to buy the My Little Pony 2013 Annual from IDW comics. And I'm sorry, but if you have to cram back story into the comic that you wouldn't add to the film, then that's a case of bad writing to me.

And then we get Flash Sentry. Like I said, this show has made some interesting characters. But Flash is really dull. Other than bailing Twilight out, something that any other character could have done, he adds nothing to the story. They mention he used to date Sunset Shimmer, but that's never once added to the story. Not even a quip from Sunset about Twilight is dating her ex. It's almost as if they went out of their way to make him the most unremarkable character in the history of this series. He just smiles, plays guitar, and makes Twilight wet. He's as dull as a Disney prince.

In the end though, for as much crap as this film has, I can't say it's the worst piece of tooncrap ever. It has major flaws, and feels like it's trying too hard to cater to a young audience instead of the stronger audience the show has. But when you look at Generation 3, a generation that literally cut corners, and never had a major conflict in its life, you can see that this isn't as bad as it could be for My Little Pony. So, to show I have no biases, and that not everything you love can be perfect, I officially induct this as the first Tooncrap review of my stay here on Game Show Garbage.