Saturday, June 22, 2013

Weekend Review: Equestria Girls

"Our movie didn't suck!"
That... was actually kind of good.

I just got back from seeing Equestria Girls--literally, I just walked in and sat down, and am trying to tank some cat aggro while I type. Only one theater here in town was playing it, and with only two showings. It's kind of odd how small of a deal it actually was, theatrically-speaking, considering it's been such a constant source of arguments and discussions among the brony fanbase. The rest of the world was lining up for Monster University or World War Z, while I was packed into a theater with a hundred or so enthusiastic (and somewhat obnoxious) male fans of the show and a small handful of children.

And I've got to tell you, I didn't want to go. I woke up this morning and gave very serious consideration to just turning off my alarm and going back to sleep. I was worried that when I got there, I'd find myself surrounded by bronies who hadn't gotten the memo on that whole "ambassador for the fandom" thing, wearing costumes and having long-winded, high-pitched conversations about some weird aspect of the show's mythology that would leave everyone around them with the impression they were either insane or seriously autistic.

There were those guys--I sat directly in front of them, to my dismay--but for the most part, people seemed sane and rational aside from their willingness to plunk down five bucks to see an animated film about cartoon ponies.

But, you ask, what about the actual movie?

Well, like I said: it was actually pretty good. It was really, really, really funny. Twilight's constant struggles with adapting to having a human body were a source of laughs throughout the entire thing, and Pinkie Pie's leaning on the fourth wall was refreshing and a little bit cathartic for those of us still struggling with the "human ponies" premise. There was even some really mildly suggestive humor (like, really mild) between Spike--transformed into a dog--and human Rarity that drew some big laughs.

Yes, of course someone already ponified Buffy.
The plot isn't a lot to write home about; it was pretty much the generic high school movie it seemed. At least until the end, when it suddenly turned into a Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Sailor Moon. It was seriously great.

Most of the movie's endearing moments, though, came from two things: the characters, still recognizably themselves despite the setting, and the shout outs to the brony fandom.  You could pretty much hear the entire audience's hearts melt at Fluttershy's squeaky introduction--almost a complete recreation of her first scene in the show--and everyone had their well-known ticks and catchphrases in place. (Except for Rarity, who is far too respectable a comedic wit to rely on such paltry devices as "catchphrases.")

And the shout outs... man, the shout outs. At some point, for me, half the fun of watching Friendship is Magic became spotting all of the background characters and, using their fanon personalities, constructing quick little stories explaining what they were doing in that scene. It's just a fun little creative mental exercise. With Equestria Girls, it became even more entertaining; not only were almost all of the major background characters there, they all had little touches--their clothing, their accessories, their hair--that nodded at the traits the fans had assigned them.

Presumably, Sweetie Belle is dancing like a
Seriously, Scootaloo doing the Chicken Dance may have been the single greatest fandom nod that has ever been nodded. Celestia and Luna as the Principal and Vice Principal were brilliant. (And Cheerilee in the library was awesome. Hell, Cheeri's always awesome. Much respect, fellow education-type-pony.) And then there was Trixie. I've never really understood how she became so popular, but I will freely admit that her obsession with the vending machine was amazing. "The GREAT... and POWERFUL... TRIXIE! ... needs peanut butter crackers."

And man, Snips and Snails have some kind of Chronic Villainous Lackey disorder. Their cutie marks should have been boot polish and a bullseye.

As much as I laughed, though, I still had complaints. I wasn't a particular fan of any of the songs. (Well, the "let's clean up the gym" song was pretty okay.) The character designs looked a lot better in motion, but I'm still kinda ehh on 'em. And really, why in Celestia's name did they decide to make Twilight's love interest--yes, she has a love interest in this--look so much like her brother? When he first showed up, half the audience went "Shining Armor!" And then they started flirting, and I was worried we'd stumbled into an episode of Friendship is Witchcraft.
"Want a corndog?"

(His actual name is "Flash Sentry," by the way. That's either the world's worst pony name, or the world's best action movie name.)

And... yeah, that's really all I have to say. It was really funny and far better than I expected. It's not going to set the world on fire, and it's probably an okay-at-best use of an hour and a half if you're not a fan of the show, but if you're a brony, immersed in the fandom and familiar with the character trivia it's cooked up? It's honestly kind of a blast.

Oh, and did anyone see Derpy? I was trying to keep an eye out, but I got nothin'.


  1. At the very end of the credits, she's there holding a muffin.

    1. Ah! I've seen that now, and yeah, it's great. Too bad she didn't get to show up in the actual movie, but hey, she got the credits all to herself.