No, guys! Seriously! You can put down the torches and pitchforks--or lower them a shade or two, please! All I'm saying is that after Calpain, Xyro, PK and I all drove varying amounts of distances to see this movie for ourselves on Sunday, we've all come away happy with the work Studio DHX and the gang have put into this flick. That's the count: four out of four are for this movie.
Some of you have already made up your mind about it, and that's fine. I will not look for you. I will not pursue you. If you're still going back and forth on seeing what lies beyond the literal mirror--I invite you to take a deep breath and remember that you were once (long ago or not) in a very similar situation with this new cartoon involving ponies and grown men who like ponies.
This isn't going to be your father's followup, obviously, not while I don't have an HD version of the movie to parse in VLC. All I want to do here is address some very valid concerns you guys might still have about Equestria Girls--spoiler free!--and why Equestria Daily stands behind it.
There were around thirty people sitting in on our showing, and the large majority of them were families with little children. The bronies I met there conducted themselves with style and I want to thank y'all for putting on a good face for the fandom. I enjoyed the discussion I had with the two of you who hung around afterward.
I'm not going to disclose my mindset while waiting for the film to begin, but I will say this: if you no longer get tingles from cracking the lid of a fresh Saturday morning episode, give the silver screen version a try. A point Meghan came back to every time she was questioned about this movie was that the stories and characters were still the same from the show we treasure, but I don't think she was assigning the credit completely fairly.
See, the VAs are still there. The storyboarders are still there. The composers, the animators, and the directors are still there, as are (one of) the writers. Sometimes the show falters, but if there was ever an opportunity for everyone at Studio DHX to consolidate their full potential, passion and energy, they held nothing back here. Movies, after all, have five minutes to do whatever they want with an audience, and the spectacle of the opening scene and titles were enough to get me to come around.
Some of the biggest sticking points I had with Equestria Girls before I went to watch it are no different from yours: humans? Looking like that? Twilight's first moments in the human world will be odd--but I found myself acclimating to the new style very quickly. This is another one of those "you have to see it" deals--trailer clips and Derpibooru GIFs do not do justice to how well the animation clicks. And sure, if you're not part of the target audience there will be times when you might roll an eye. Do consider, however, that you also got through "Suited for Success". Once you get over the "fun and fashion" moments in the film--I'm real, guys; they're moments--you're going to see some incredible set pieces.
Consider this: if you were a storyboard artist coming off of three consecutive years of pony, wouldn't you want to do something different? I have it on credible sources that the folks on the visual end of this movie felt refreshed drawing humans for a change, and the effort they put into their work shows! I mean--everyone has five-fingered hands.
Then there's the whole high school setting. It's a ripoff of [insert any Mean Girls genre film here]! It's a transparent marketing ploy by Hasbro! Twilight's a princess now--what's high school gonna do to her?
Speaking as someone who moved across the country immediately before entering high school, I can say the answer to that last question is a lot. Any creative decision coming down from any company in control of an IP is going to be a marketing ploy. There is zero business sense in allowing a competitor to make free money because you're not going to contest their market share. And if you're going to judge Equestria Girls based on the veneer of its story, then you can just as easily remove that veneer and take a look at what's underneath.
Great stories stand upon great characters, and they stand upon great actors. The Mane 7 actresses have never breathed more life into their characters than they did here. Nicole Oliver's flatter, more bureaucratic intonation for
And say what you want about Meghan's writing -- characterization has always been one of her strong points, and her understanding of what thrills, terrifies, and drives everypony carried the story for me more than anything else. In the end, this film is not just about winning the crown at the high school prom. It's all about teaching Twilight what it means to be a princess--and how important it is that she has others to help her relate with those she will be leading one day. There's one song in the movie that really illustrates just how divided and shut down C.H.S. became under Sunset Shimmer's schemes, and the love Daniel and Meghan put into writing it will stick with me for a very long time.
But they included
Relax, y'all. Meghan's already confirmed he won't be appearing in Season 4. I'll say I can appreciate his role, and it was much more subtle than some of you are making it out to be. High school crushes are a thing, and in this setting it makes more sense to show they exist than to disregard them completely. How much Equestria Girls primes the little fillies to get into colts and whether that's cool or not, I'll let you talk it out.
The hiatus until Season 4 airs has definitely been the most challenging to weather yet, so much in part to the natural divisions that will arise within a fanbase of our size. And I empathize with those who were disappointed to learn what Equestria Girls was going to do to best purplesmart pony. All I can say to that is to vote with your dollar, and let the the staff and Hasbro know what you want to see from MLP in the future. I'm still holding out for Film 2: The Epic Crossing of Equestria in Which Everypony Saves the World myself, but just remember that ponies pulled us in for what it was and not what we wanted it to be. For now I drive back to Seattle without shame or regret... until I pull into the gas station.
Go see the movie. And have fun.
(Feelin the rage after reading this?! Go hit up the followup to this followup!)