Sometimes you just have to take one for the team, and that’s what I did when I watched My Little Pony-The Movie Directed by Jayson Thiessen. I chose this cinematic epic of all time because my granddaughter Savannah, age 7 is enamored with this movie and she lived and died with every plot twist, hung on every pony word and action and even turned away from our television and exclaimed “Oh no” during the deepest, darkest times of tis turbulent tale of good versus evil. The reason I invited Savannah along to watch is because I wanted a child’s point of view this movie was marketed for and to gauge the difference of her visceral reactions to not only the movie’s thundering sound but the audio descriptive element of the experience, our opinions were fascinating when viewed from different perspectives.
First of all I want to state that despite the child-like subject matter the audio descriptive portion of the movie was very involved and plentiful, never leaving the visually challenged or blind listener lost without very lucid detail of what was happening from the opening film company announcement, a Hasbro toy-related production and Lionsgate Company to the names on the closing credits, I never lost any sense of the details of the plot or what the little pony characters were attempting to accomplish. Savannah agreed and said the AD was “Pretty cool”. The opening scene is a friendship festival being organized by Princess Twilight Sparkle in Canterlot, the town square area of Equestria. Hundreds of ponies from all over the village converged upon this town with the highlight being a performance by the most popular little horsy Diva Songbird Serenade, skillfully voiced by the real pop star Sia. Besides her command performance the festival is being attended by three other princesses: Princess Luna, Princess Celestia and Princess Cadance. It seems like unicorn and pegasus bliss are about to ensue when all of a sudden an evil, broken horned unicorn named Tempest appears and demands all of the princess ponies magical powers for her boss, the Storm King. The AD explains in onerous tones that clouds filling the sky and giant black floating airships come down and surround the entire city when the four princesses refuse to yield their magical talents, three of the princesses are captured immediately but Twilight Sparkle along with her posse known as the “Mane six” evade the meanies and float down a waterfall to temporary safety. The great thing about the AD element is it never gets in the way of the dramatic orchestral music and the amount of description seems to fit perfectly and bolster the plot as the visual components of the animation flow effortlessly. Savannah, my granddaughter, often hid her eyes and stiffened but seemed relieved as the main characters stayed together in an effort to release all of the unfortunate town ponies and princesses who were ruthlessly imprisoned.
Once the seven characters miraculously made it down the tall waterfall one of the little darlings produces a map that will direct them to the “Hippo Queen” who can solve this whole mess. By the way the product placement attempt by Hasbro was not lost on me as the baby dragon Spike blurts out “A Hungry Hippo”? Yep: a lame reference to the lame, marble gobbling game from the 1960’s. The gang meets a con-cat named Capper, skillfully voiced by Taye Diggs and the team realizes they are actually seeking the mythical hippogriffs, part hippos and part eagles; they reside on top of Mount Aris. The poor ponies get deceived by Capper as he is about to sell the lot of them to settle his debts and they escape his deceit and make it to the mountain.
The AD reader is amazing at using her voice to not only describe and even foreshadow sadness and joy and her words are beautifully worked in with the movie, the AD made my granddaughter seem more attentive, checking to see if the words fit the action. Once the gang escaped and made it to the mountain they realized they must swim to meet the Hippogriff Queen thanks to the guidance of her hyperactive seahorse daughter Princess Skystar They swim though many cracks and crevices until they meet Queen Novo, voiced by Uzo Aduba. The squad gets comfy with the Queen and she offers them permanent asylum from the treacherous Storm King, she’s very familiar with his wrath as her town was decimated by his evil magic and the remaining eagle/hippo citizens were transformed by the Queen’s magic pearl so they could all become aquatic and escape the evil King. Everything was copacetic until Twilight sparkle tried to steal the pearl to take back to Equestria, the Queen kicked the seven out and all of the sudden Tempest and her gang capture Twilight Sparkle, the last of the four runaway princesses, now The Storm King could transfer all of their powers to control the weather, sun and moon and become even worse than he was thanks to the power of the Sagus staff he was ready to wield.
The climax of the movie happens as all of the pony princesses were brought back to the Royal Palace of Equestria for the official transference of power, all was about to proceed smoothly when much like there always is in the movie business there was one small catch: The Storm King had promised Tempest he would restore her broken unicorn horn, being a bad person he informed her he just used her to do his dirty work and he would do no such thing and BOY was she pissed! The whole ceremony goes upside down, Tempest helps free the four princesses and all of the other hundreds held prisoner, the Storm King gets turned to stone and shatters and all of the dark ominous clouds lift from Equestria and the magic staff is used to restore the entire kingdom to its former beauty and splendor. I have to warn parents the movie is one hour and thirty-nine minutes long and the cast will find any reason to sing but my G-kid really dug it and danced happily around our living room when the happy ending was consummated. The Godfather it was not but it was well audio described, riddled with cuteness and I suspect championed by many a seven year old, it was fun to see a pretty wholesome movie and even more fun to hang out with young Savannah.
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