Okay, so I know this isn’t hot off the presses or anything, but I bring this up for one reason and one reason only: I’m going to watch this pony-tastic movie with my brother and I wanted to know what I was getting into. I can’t say that I’m particularly surprised by what I’m seeing, but I’m still not happy.
Equestria Girls, which I mentioned earlier in this post, seems to be taking the route that I expressly didn’t want it to take. Which is to say it’s a complete rip-off of Monster High. If you haven’t experienced Monster High, allow me to briefly explain that it is perhaps the most vapid, shallow show in existence, enveloping all possible tropes about pre-teen girls. For My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a show that seems to pride itself on breaking free of that damaging marketing chokehold, the lack of integrity in following Monster High’s footsteps is astounding. But let’s see what we’re dealing with here.
Twilight Sparkle is for some reason made to go to the human world and discover the magic of friendship there too, I’m guessing. I have no idea why else she would bother going, or why else she would be made to go. Somehow I feel like the movie won’t really explain this either. When she arrives (magically clothed), she’s horrified by her new form, but gets used to it quickly enough to walk around and attend high school, because that’s where every good girl’s show takes place. That’s where we meet our tropes: the boyfriend and the popular bitch, both of whom seem to have the personality of a cardboard cutout. Why is the boyfriend drawn towards Twilight? Because she’s purple? It seems as good a reason as any, seeing as I didn’t see any other purple humanoids in the trailer. And why is the popular girl such a bitch? Because what else would a popular, pretty girl be? It’s absolutely necessary in any good show for pre-teen girls to set up the dichotomy between the nice smart girl and the bitchy popular girl. Yes, absolutely.
I can tell you the plot right now: Twilight finds the counterparts to her pony friends, they learn the friendship magic, Twilight becomes prom queen, and then she goes home after having learned the important lesson that friendship is magic… which she should have already known. Bitchy popular girl probably learns said ‘magic’ too and becomes friends with Twilight at the very end.
Though the main draw of this film is definitely to see your favorite characters transformed into more relatable human girls and boys, I have to say that I’m really disappointed in the designs. In my post that I mentioned before, I remarked that I hoped that their designs would change, but they didn’t, to my chagrin. Even worse, in looking through all the background characters, I didn’t find a single female character who wasn’t wearing a skirt or impossibly proportioned.
MLP is supposed to celebrate diversity and it’s silently understood that while the ponies don’t have many biological differences between them—they’re horses, after all—their personalities are enough to bridge that gap. However, when adapting to humanity, which has thousands and thousands of different body types, it is irresponsible to only stick with one. This move will make manufacturing the dolls easier, and oh, there will be dolls, but it presents the message to young girls that there is one standard of beauty, one way they should look. What a terrible message!
The one good thing I can say about Equestria Girls is that they decided to make it a film and not a show. At least a film is easy to forget after a while, and I’m sure that this movie will be quickly forgotten.