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Thursday, September 30, 2021

My Little Pony: A New Generation

Director: Robert Cullen and José Ucha


My Little Pony: A New Generation sparkles its wings of glory.

My Little Pony: A New Generation marks the fifth incarnation of the My Little Pony series compared to Marvel Cinematic Universe, under their term “Phases.” This film was originally going to be released in theaters before switching to Netflix as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Still, this is the kind of animated flick where lots of fans and audiences should turn their heads to. Directed by Robert Cullen and José Ucha, this film features the main voice cast of Vanessa Hudgens, Kimiko Glenn, James Mardsen, Sofia Carson, and Liza Koshy.

My Little Pony: A New Generation follows the story of the three types of ponies – earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns – have grown apart, living in separated domains from one another in paranoia, mistrust, and prejudice. The film follows the main character named Sunny Starscout, an earth pony who, after meeting the unicorn Izzy Moonbow, embarks on a quest to reunite all pony types and restore magic and glory to Maretime Bay and to the entire pony land.

As for the main cast for the main ponies, actress Vanessa Hudgens (Disney’s High School Musical) voices Sunny Starscout, an earth pony whose desperate attempts to reunite all types of ponies while Kimiko Glenn (Netflix’s Orange is the New Black) voices the unicorn named Izzy Moonbow. Secondly, actor James Mardsen (X-Men film series) voices Hitch Trailblazer, an Earth pony who’s a hard-working sheriff at Maretime Bay and helps Sunny on her quest to reunite all ponies along the way. And lastly, here comes actresses Sofia Carson (Austin & Ally, Disney’s Descendants) and Liza Koshy whom they voiced Pipp and Zipp, a pegasus duo, respectively.

With the direction coming from Robert Cullen and José Ucha, the story flows nicely and is casually subtle with a effect of narrative changes, building story key arcs of the characters, and colorful vibrant on those characters’ contrast on each scene and setting. This is the one thing any ordinary animated film can create such powerful, narrative tones and structures on the storylines, the settings, and the characters with gentle perspectives whilst following the My Little Pony traditions. And to add some greater strength of softness, screenwriting duo Tim Sullivan and Gillian Berrow add some nice key layers and some smart subtext to the narratives, which give the film some bonus points.

The film also bears a striking resemblance to Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, another animated film about magical dragons, and Zootopia due to the messages of mistrust, racial discrimination, and prejudice. These messages onscreen when it comes to the franchise’s virtues are very heartening to see how any female protagonist can discover their combined voices that reach the galvanizing force in the film. It pretty much seems that the directors and writers really keep together on the light-hearted tones for the characters to watch carefully. The filmmaking team and the voice cast are trying to do their best for the characters to do their part together to make a great development throughout the film.

Also appearing in the film are Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) as Pipp and Zipp’s mother Queen Haven, Ken Jeong (The Hangover, The Masked Singer) as power-hungry deputy sheriff named Sprout Cloverfield, Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds) as Sprout’s mother Phyllis Cloverfield, Phil LaMarr (Samurai Jack, Futurama) as Alphabittle, and Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap) as Sunny Starscout’s father Argyle.

I hate to admit, while I’m certainly not a big My Little Pony fan, I think My Little Pony: A New Generation is a great 90-minute film. Though it may not stand on the levels of Pixar’s brilliance nor the feet of the MCU’s top-nodded Rotten Tomatoes’ percentages, it's still a beautiful, shiny film in its own way that gallops into joy and excitement. The voice cast did an outstanding job and so did the animation crews. This film really brings some good messages about fear, friendship, and social acceptances, so I’m sending some big compliments to the directors and screenwriters who made it all possible. This is a must for everyone of all ages.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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