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My Little Pony: THE MOVIE (U) .. ...

THIS simplistic yet heartfelt animated musical fantasy is expanded from a candy-coloured TV series and the popular line of toys.

Judged against other animated features, which have cantered across the big screen in recent months, Jayson Thiessen's hoof-tapping ode to friendship and self-sacrifice isn't quite thoroughbred material.

Princess Twilight Sparkle (voiced by Tara Strong) is nervously preparing for the inaugural Friendship Festival in Equestria, aided by pals Applejack (Ashleigh Ball), Fluttershy (Andrea Libman), Pinkie Pie (Libman again), Rarity (Tabitha St Germain) and Rainbow Dash (Ball again).

"Every pony's happiness rests on your hooves," they tell Twilight Sparkle, who frets she will disappoint older princesses Cadance (Britt McKillip), Celestia (Nicole Oliver) and Luna (Germain again).

Following the arrival of musical act Songbird Serenade (Sia), a large airship descends on Equestria.

"I bet those are the clowns I ordered," giggles Pinkie Pie.

Instead, the vessel contains broken-horned unicorn Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt), cake-guzzling underling Grubber (Michael Pena) and hulking guards loyal to The Storm King (Liev Schreiber).

They enslave hundreds of ponies and petrify princesses Cadance, Celestia and Luna. Thankfully, Twilight Sparkle escapes with her five friends plus Spike the dragon (Cathy Weseluck) and they embark on an epic adventure to save the realm.

My Little Pony: The Movie is a harmless and occasionally mawkish fable, brought to life predominantly with the same hand-drawn visuals as the TV series. Computer-animated elements are sporadically introduced for set pieces but the quality throughout is quite basic.

Vocal performances are energetic, led by Libman's Pinkie Pie.

Director Thiessen doesn't rein in her exuberance and she becomes the mane attraction.


From left are Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Twilight Sparkle, Applejack and Fluttershy in My Little Pony

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 20, 2017
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