Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Legend of Everfree (2016)

Plot: Set the summer break after the first three films, the students of Canterlot High are going on a camping trip at Camp Everfree. Things go well until the camp appears to be plagued with bizarre magical circumstances relating to a local urban legend. Things get more curious when Twilight, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Rarity appear to have somehow gained new magical powers and Twilight and Sunset Shimmer can't agree on whether or not these abilities are good or bad.

When Hasbro announced that the next Equestria Girls movie was going to take place outside of Canterlot High - saying it was either going to take place at a beach or a forest at the time, I was a little excited for it. It sounded right that we should finally have a film where it doesn't take place at the school. The first three films had scenes that took place in other sites such as Pinkie Pie's house, Sugarcube Cafe, and Crystal Prep Academy, but in the end, all the stories primarily took place in this one specific location, so it's nice to finally have a movie were we almost never see Canterlot High. When it was later announced that it was going to take place at a school Camp, I got a little nervous thinking that there's going to be a couple of clichés that might hurt the film. Granted, even with the first Equestria Girls film, Hasbro Studios and DHX Studios currently haven't let us down with giving us something good despite using some clichés, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. After seeing it a few times now before writing this review, I can say that there are a bunch of things that are really good... and there are some things that I think are mediocre at best.

The first and foremost highlight to talk about is characters. Like the show Friendship is Magic, Legend of Everfree takes advantage of all the lovable characters that My Little Pony has to offer. Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer are still the main focus and what they do with them is done well. As a big fan of Sunset Shimmer, I really enjoy watching her grow more and more as the series goes on to the point where she has basically become the voice of reason among the rest of the main characters. There's also the storyline of Twilight Sparkle being afraid that she might become Midnight Sparkle again which was also done very well. You understand her fear that somehow she may be the cause of the magic that's happening at Camp Everfree, and it also leads to a decent conflict between Twilight and Sunset Shimmer disagreeing on whether to consider the magic at Camp Everfree as either a good thing or a bad thing. The other main characters don't have as big of individual roles in the movie as Twilight and Sunset Shimmer, but they're still enjoyable. We got a couple of good laughs with Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy as adorable as ever, we got Applejack as the other voice of reason so to speak, and Rainbow Dash is...well, Rainbow Dash. The only one I didn't enjoy was Rarity. She was kind of annoying with her constant talk about her camp fashion show. The magical abilities they gain work for all of them and they leave me wanting more for future projects.

The supporting characters are surprisingly really enjoyable as well. We get more appearances of some of our favorite background characters like Vinyl Scratch or my personal favorite background character, Octavia Melody. We also get some cute jokes from Bulk Biceps, and we even get a brief line from Derpy Hooves AKA the most beloved background character in the show. That might not sound like much for you who aren't Bronies and/or pegasisters, but believe me when I say just a mere line from Derpy Hooves even after the 100th episode: "Slice of Life" is wonderful.

There's also surprisingly a significant amount of romance in the film too. Without giving too much away (though I don't think it would mean much if I did), it seems they have made it official that Twilight Sparkle and Flash Sentry are never going to get together. For me, this is a real shame considering how I've been wanting them to work something out between these two because I believed that they could have become a likable couple. All of that being said however, I can't deny the fact that the concept of Twilight and Flash getting together has had such a terrible backlash even before the first Equestria Girls film came out and they haven't really done much with it in the past three films to begin with. So as much as I hate to admit that a ship that I have been supporting is going down the tubes, I have to reluctantly agree that at the same time it's for the best that they have. But with that out of the way, we have a new romance with Twilight's, this time with Timber Spruce. As far as a romance that was introduced in the fourth Equestria film, it's surprisingly not bad. It may not be my favorite MLP shipping, but the development of their relationship is surprisingly pleasant to watch. Timber Spruce it is smart like Twilight, he's caring for his sister Gloriosa and his interaction with Twilight somehow works. The moves he makes on her are corny but he makes them in a way where you can tell he's doing it with a good heart. I won't spoil the ending, but it indicates that maybe they could eventually go further into their relationship, and I think that's something to admire with Hasbro and DHX Studios. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is still quote-unquote "for kids," and DHX and Hasbro have a record of giving us hints of romance in general and then throw them under the rug in order to focus more on just friendship. We may have some possibilities with characters like Spike and Rarity and - as mentioned before, Twilight Sparkle and Flash Sentry, but in the long haul they usually go absolutely nowhere. Any romance we do get comes from other couples who have already fallen in love so there's little room for any real romantic stories. So with that all said and done, I feel hopeful that they're willing to take a possible romance to a deeper level with Twilight Sparkle and Timber Spruce. Who knows? Maybe if we get another Equestria Girls film, we'll get more development between the two of them. I'm open to it.

The music in this movie is good.... but not great. In the long-term, the soundtrack is very enjoyable to listen to, but I guess I just hoped there would be a couple more enjoyable songs than what we have. I guess what I mean by that is I was hoping that we would have music that's more catchy and get stuck in my head for days on end like some of the other EG songs like Academia or Under Our Spell or Help Twilight Sparkle Win The Crown. But all the songs here are still good. The Main title song is nice, I enjoy Sunset Shimmer's song Embrace The Magic, the villain song We Will Stand For Everfree is not as great as Under Our Spell or This Day Aria, but it's still enjoyable enough, Be The Legend You Were Meant To Be is a decent tune and I really enjoy the lyrics behind Hope Shines Eternal. If there's a song that I kind of like the least, it would have to be Midnight In Me. I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of the dislike for this, but to me, it was one of those Daniel Ingram song where it's really good, but I hate that it's only one verse and one chorus long. Everything about it is great from the emotion behind what Twilight Sparkle is expressing to the visuals they're using to express how she feels, but I feel like they could have done more.

If there are any major problems with the movie it would have to be the villain and the climax. To be fair, the villain is better than Sunset Shimmer and especially Principal Cinch, but while her motivations are understandable and relatable, her actions don't really matter. This is spoiler territory so I won't go into any details, but it feels like the solution to the villain's problems could easily have been fixed without Twilight, Sunset Shimmer, and the others. The final showdown between Sunset, Twilight and their friends against the villain is also a bit of a letdown. Don't get me wrong, what they do with the big reveal concerning their powers is great and it also leaves four possibilities of what they're going to do for future projects, but as far as going against the villain is concerned, it's a bit of a repeat from defeating past MLP villains. It doesn't necessarily hurt the film altogether, but it's a bit of a disappointment that they didn't try something different with the final showdown like what they did with the confrontation between Sunset Shimmer and Twilight during the end Friendship Games and I hope they're planning to avoid it in the future.

And that's my review for My Little Pony: Equestria Girls -Legend of Everfree. It's not as strong as the last two films, but it still delivers in being a nice experience with some of our favorite My Little Pony characters that leaves me wanting more. It's not great, but it's still a better film than the first Equestria Girls movie which is always a good thing. It's the weakest of the sequels, but it's still a nice time.

Rating: 65%

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