Friday, October 3, 2014

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks Review

Well, here we are. One entire year of reviewing. To think that this blog would have been able to go on that long and develop this many viewers is absolutely phenomenal, and I am truly thankful for it all. We've ha dour ups, and we've had our downs. I've seen some great movies and played some great games, and I've dealt with some true pieces of trash. Through it all though, I want to thank everyone who reads these reviews. Are they immensely popular? Not really, no. But the fact that people read them and always click on the links is truly a great sensation. Seeing people read, comment, and present their own opinions is a great experience and creating that kind of discussion about entertainment is a great feeling. So cheers to all of my readers! Cheers to all of you that have made this possible. And now, for you all, may I present to you the one year anniversary review.

Let's review My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks.

Yes, we're finally going to delve into the world of the Bronies. The world that is the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanbase. What the hell so I even need to say to describe the Bronies? Essentially, Bronies are male fans of My Little Pony, but the reason why they are so relevant is because they essentially ARE the majority of the modern My Little Pony fanbase. As baffling as it sounds, there are a vast majority of adult male viewers of My Little Pony than there are little girls, the intended demographic of the show. And before you ask, no, I am not a brony... I may have seen every episode of the series, but I am not a brony.

In my opinion at least, in order to call yourself a brony, because it is a fanbase in the same regards as the Whovians or the Trekkies, you need to actually enjoy and be a fan of the show, hence the terms FANbase. Though I have seen every episode of the show, my general opinion is that the show has its flaws, but it's a harmless kids show. It has pretty decent animation for a kids show, the villains are interesting and unique, and the characters, love them or hate them, have very interesting personalities and have great interactions with other characters. The major flaws of the show however are the fact that it has clichéd morals, one dimensional dialogue, and absolutely PAINFUL songs 80% of the times. There are some good songs, but for every decent song, there are three more to make your skin crawl.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is, in my opinion at least, your above average kids show. It's not bad for kids in the slightest and I would have no objections to having my kids watch it. It's a show that has its fanbase sleight people's perceptions of the series, for better or worse. The only reason why people are so confused and appalled by the existence of the Bronies is just because of the fact that they like something girly and something deemed feminine. Cause boys can't like My Little Pony in the same way that girls can't like Invader Zim, or the fact that adults can't like Disney or DreamWorks. People are free to like whatever they want, societal standards be damned.

No girls allowed, right?
But that's not what you came to hear about. You don't want to hear about me give you gender politics or anything like that. You want me to flush all of that down the drain and review the My Little Pony movie. You want me to rage like I've never before, right? To understand Rainbow Rocks, first I need to explain about the Equestria Girls sub-franchise. So... in short, Equestria Girls has our heroine, the Alucord Twilight Sparkle, travels to the real world and becomes a human in the process. Now in human form, she has adventures with human counterparts of her best friends Fluttershy, Ranbow Dash, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Apple Jack, and Sunset Shimmer at their high school, Canterlot High.

I shit you now, the amount of bile that I had writing those last few sentences was almost too unbearable. It makes me wonder just what the hell I'm doing with my life. I'm sitting in a tiny little den, by myself, writing a review of the latest My Little Pony movie. But despite all of the things that I am going to say about this movie, I will say this; AT LEAST it's better than the first one. Equestria Girls was one of the worst movies I've had to sit through in recent memory, so the fact that this is at least better than that P.O.S is a saving grace in my book. So, with all of that being said and all of that explanation, let's get this train rolling. So how is Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks?

Our story once again revolves around Twilight Sparkle (can I just say a piece of my soul dies whenever I say that name?) returning back to Canterlot High to help her friends out. All of her human friends have formed a band called the Rainbooms and are getting ready to perform at their school's music festival... thing. However, three new girls come to the school and use strange magic powers to brainwash the school into turning the festival into a battle of the bands. By brainwashing the students, they all become much more evil and negative than before, which helps to feed the three girls, who are actually three evil dragons called The Sirens. To complicate matters even further, their old enemy Sunset Shimmer, the main villain of the last movie that gained demon powers (just roll with it), is now their friend, but not all of the girls fully trust her yet, especially Twilight Sparkle. Can Twilight and her friends defeat the evil Sirens and win the battle of the bands and can the girls really trust Sunset Shimmer as their friend?

Right between the eyes. Shoot her in between the eyes!

Let me just get all of the positive aspects of this movie out of the way right now so I can elaborate what's wrong with this movie. First off, the character designs are really good. They're bright, colorful, have a surprising amount of detail in them, and they're animated very nicely. Both Equestria Girls movies have had great animation and designs, and this is no exception. Speaking of characters, the previous villain, Sunset Shimmer, actually has character development and depth added to her this movie. In the actual series, there is little to no character development for any character, so the characters in the first episode will always be the same as the characters at the end of the series. However,  most of the villains in Friendship is Magic have exceptional character development, and Sunset Shimmer is no different. She comes to grips with what she's done, feels guilt for her actions, and is actively trying to reform herself and make friends. Yeah it's clichéd and nonsensical, but I'll take it.

And even then, most of the other flaws in this movie aren't as significant as I would have expected. They're still bad, but let me reiterate that this entire movie is a noticeable step up to the original Equestria Girls. That first movie was the movie that even the Bronies would not touch. Even they wouldn't say that the movie was good, and THAT is saying a lot. People that were able to watch this... thought that Equestria Girls was too much.

Anyway, back to the movie. This movie is formatted mostly like an old school tournament fighter, since that's what it pretty much is. Random groups of characters from the show are competing against each other to win the battle of the bands, and at least in terms of fan service, it does its job. It lets fans of the show see characters that they know and care about do stupid little songs and OH GOD are these songs cringe inducing.

One of the things that I can't stand about the Friendship is Magic is the constant songs that it forces into the show, and almost all of them are awful. This movie though has about ten songs. Ten. Ten songs. There are ten songs. And they're bad. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. They sing about friendship, being awesome, making friends, and there are even songs sung by the villains, which are better, but not good. The only time that there's an actual good song is when the villains actually turn into dragons and cause the soundtrack to become METAL!!! I don't care who you are, but being about the turn something girly like Friendship is Magic into something metal always deserves mention. I mean, it lasts for less than a minute, but metal is metal.

You decide; decent character design, or bright and colorful
Then there's the humor. Oh God... the jokes in this movie are soul crushing. There was only one time I had a genuine chuckle from this movie, and that's because the character who did it just said their delivery perfectly at the right time. For the rest of the 85 minutes, I was shaking my head and thinking "How is this funny?" And yes, I did see this in theatres (I can't believe I'm actually saying that), and the kids that were there and the two very large men in front of me didn't laugh as much as I thought they would. Instead, they were commented more on the references and nods to the show than the actual jokes. That's fine, but you can't have an over reliance on your source material at risk of isolating new viewers. Yeah this movie is pretty much for dedicated fans, but if Hasbro is trying to start a new spin-off (which thy are), they need to make it accessible and not wall it off to de hard fans, because if only die hard fans watch this and its spin-off, that's a very limited market to dig into.

But I can't get over the villain's evil plan. They essentially feed off negative energy to become more powerful.. so they go to a high school to suck their spirit out of them. How exactly is that supposed to work...? I mean, if a local high school is your first choice for gaining an immense amount of power by feeding off negative energy through magic, there are a ton of better ways to go about it. Brainwash a manager (which they clearly show they have the power to do), book them a huge gig, then drain everyone's powers while there. Hell, if they were able to sing at the Superbowl, then they'd get so much more dark energy than at a freaking high school!

And how exactly do our intrepid heroines stop their new foes? With the power of music and friendship!!! *face palm*

I expected that from this show that they would solve their problems through song, like last time, but trust me, if you've seen the movie, you'll know why that doesn't make any damned sense. They're locked up in a dark basement and it takes them hours to get out, and when they do get ou, they have a new super song all prepared and all set to go, even though they had no instruments in the basement they were locked in. They were pretty much locked in a pit like in Silence of the Lambs, even to the point where a Buffalo Bill analog was talking to them from the hole. But even though they were completely isolated and fell to the Siren's dark magic, they could come together as friends and learn a new song in, what, twenty minutes? Guitar, bass, drums, vocals, harmonies and all. Cuase that's how music works.

Why did I see this movie again?
As for the rest of our intrepid heroines, they're pretty much the same as the TV show, but for those that are unaware, here's just a brief little explanation of the rest of the main cast. Ranbow Dash is probably the most popular of the group, but to say that she's a bitch is an understatement. She's egotistical, self centered, and just a terrible person, and they fact that this egomaniacal wretch is pretty much the main focus outside of Twilight, Sunset, and the Sirens makes me weep. How she's popular, I have no idea. Pinkie Pie is the energetic, but stupid one in the group, and while she isn't as complete bat-shit insane as she normally is, she's toned down enough to be enjoyable, so Pinkie Pie fans will be pleased by this movie. Same with Fluttershy fans, whose the most quiet and reserved of the group. She doesn't have to say much, but she's relatively fine given the circumstances. The other two member of the main cast, Apple Jack and Rarity, aren't that interesting on a good day and function exactly in the same way as the show, so they don't really affect me that much. They're just average and decent. With the exception of Rainbow Dash, who is one of my least favorite characters in the entire show, the characters are pretty tame in terms of their appearances and don't get on my nerves as much as I thought they would.

In fact, as shocking as it may seem, and as fundamentally flawed as this movie may be, I can't hate this movie. I feel like I should given how much scorn and hatred I felt for the original movie, but I can't deny the fact that this movie is better than the first Equestria Girls. I won't say that I like this movie, but I will say that this at least is a guilty pleasure for me. Yes I said it. Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks is a guilty pleasure for me. GASP! SHOCK! AWE!

As I left the theatre, disparaged by what I saw, on my drive home, I couldn't shake the feeling that the movie exceeded my expectations. I'm not the target audience at all for this movie, but I can't deny that it at least had more effort and care placed in it than the original. The first Equestria Girls was made solely to market new dolls and toys, but this movie, while it tries to accomplish the same goal, gives more respect to the original series and adds a lot of fan favorite characters for fans to enjoy. I can't hate this movie because to the fans of the series, this movie is what Equestria Girls should have been. It should have been a fun way to move the setting of the series to a new location, open new opportunities for stories, and breathe new life into a franchise that may have been becoming a bit stale. Rainbow Rocks breathes that new life and makes me believe that it really can survive in its own little world. With a third movie eventually coming out, I'm certain that the franchise will be well taken care of the longer it goes.

So you know what, do what you will. Call me a brony (even though I begrudgingly like only one thing in the whole franchise), but I will not say that Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks is a bad movie. It's a marked improvement over the original movie, and it has the decency to respect its fans and address the problems that the original movie had. I won't go touting it as one of the best kids movies I've ever seen, but for what it is, I'd be fine showing it to my kids. So yes, Rainbow Rocks is a good movie. It's a guilty pleasure for me since I'm not a fan of the franchise, but it's fun. I had a good time watching it the more I think back to it. Yes, I had fun watching ponies. The fact that I am even saying those words is a shock to me, but it's true. I have found the one terrible My Little Pony movie that I actually enjoyed.


I'd like to thank all of my fans for this wonderful year of reviews. Next year, we'll have Christian Gray, Avengers, Smash Bros, magical girls, villains, corn, sassy black girls, and of course, more reviews. Thanks a ton, and have a happy year!

1 comment:

  1. Rainbow dash is awesome. You're an idiot if you can't see that.