• "Equestria Girls: Legend of Everfree" Movie Followup

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    You know, I've done some things I regret during my time writing for Equestria Daily. I mean, not a lot of things, mind you. Mostly little stuff here and there, in like a petty-office-politics, probably-shouldn't-have-cut-all-the-eyes-out-of-the-Rarity-pictures-on-Cereal's-desk kind of way. Y'know, nothing major.

    But lately, as you may have noticed, things have started getting a little out of control. On top of having a boss to bribe and a blog staff to constantly pretend I have the proper credentials to do this job in front of, now I've got a stuffy, pencil-pushing technically just made up for my own amusement blog mascot on my case every time I come in for a followup.

    Well, not this time, Spotlight. You may have mildly inconvenienced me in the land of tiny magic horses, but we're in my house now, Miss Splash--and in this neck of the woods, I'm the one with my hands on the wheel. (Literally. Hands.)

    My name is Aquaman, this is the Equestria Girls: Legend of Everfree movie followup, and just to confirm this for my dear little pony friend's sake: you ain't in Kantersas anymore, Spots. Let's get paddlin'.

    The wondrous splendor of unspoiled nature is no substitute for fashion sense, AJ. And/or ending sentences with "darling" instead of a period.

    Enid Raye Adams and Brain Doe (no relation to John or Jane, I presume) make their Equestria Girls debut in this movie as Gloriosa Daisy and Timber Spruce, respectively, but for one of the this actually isn’t the first time they’ve been involved with the MLP franchise--in our chronology as viewers, anyway. Turns out, Enid had a cameo earlier in Season 6 as one half of the Whinnyapolis-hailing couple who visited The Tasty Treat in “Spice Up Your Life”. Extrapolate wildly about long-lost twins across interdimensional borders as you will.


    "Princess Celestia? Now there's a name I haven't heard in a long time. Multiple seasons, it feels like."


    I'm a bit surprised to see that Sci-Twi's version of Spike retained his ability to speak from Friendship Games. Wonder if that makes picking up after him on walks more awkward or less.

    Human Pinkie Pie: Element of Exposition

    It’s not like it’s unexpected, per se, but I appreciate Sunset’s buddy-buddy attitude towards Sci-Twi even this early on. What with transferring to a new school on top of the whole Midnight Sparkle thing to deal with, it’s gotta be nice to have a fellow former magical-demon-spawn in your corner.


    "So Human Flash has a crush on Pony Twilight, but Pony Twilight has a crush on Pony Flash who doesn't even know any of this is going on, and you're technically Pony Sunset but no one knows where Human Sunset is or whether she even exists?"
    "It's better if you don't think about it. At all. Ever."


    You wipe that look right off your face, Sentry. Bulk Biceps' mom is and continues to be a saint.

    I love Celestia’s aesthetic here. Luna’s got on a practical outfit garnished with a couple bits of camp memorabilia, and then there’s Principal C next to her covered in more merit badges than a Boy Scout in ROTC. When it comes to repping the map-reading and underwater basket-weaving disciplines, Celly don’t play.


    Small point of note: far be it from me to call someone else unsubtle, but the stones on Gloriosa’s necklace matching the Humane 7 (minus Sci-Twi and Sunset for now) in color is a bit of a giveaway for where this whole thing is headed. Additional point of note: “Humane 7” is a thing other people besides me say, right?


    “Talk nerdy to me, Timber-senpai~”

    Filthy Rich as the first visible antagonist makes sense on the surface, but it feels weird on second thought given that he’s portrayed in the show as being a generally okay guy. Then again, we’ve only really seen him act that way around longtime business partners in the Apple family, so it might not be too crazy to think he’d act a little more abrasive when negotiating with other folks.


    It also wouldn’t be crazy to wonder where in the blueberry-flavored flapjack Diamond Tiara is if her dad’s got such a vested interest in the camp, but you wouldn’t know it from Hasbro’s apparent feelings on the matter, now would you?


    “1002… 1003… oh, Miss Applejack! I wasn’t expecting company…

    One of the things that I think goes often underappreciated about Sunset Shimmer is her skill at mediation. The same talent for social manipulation that she used to terrorize her classmates back in the first movie has now evolved into one more suited for chipping through her friends’ mental walls and keeping them all together as a group. It gives her a really well-defined role amongst the EqG crew, which is a big part of what makes her so much fun to watch.


    The fact that her feelings on magical rainbow lasers match mine is just icing on the cake.


    Somebody call Disney. I’ve found another popular franchise for them to buy out.

    Don’t think I didn’t notice Flash chatting up Trixie down in the corner of the shot there when Sci-Twi heads out onto the dock for the first time, by the way. The rest of you might be focusing on things like the background scenery or actual plot of the film, but rest assured I’m zeroed in on the stuff that really matters.


    Semi-related: I’ve always kind of wanted to try out the pickup line Timber uses here on a girl falling into me, but I’ve never gotten the chance as, regrettably, I don’t live in a cartoon. Fair play, T-dog.


    And while we’re on the subject of reeeeeally stretching for romantic connection, check out these two somehow-not-awkward exes.


    “Are you sure it’s a good idea to trust a bunch of teenagers with power tools and a large-scale construction project, Celestia?” “Aw, c’mon, Luna, it’ll be fine! I mean, what’s the worst thing that’s ever happened in a movie set at a summer camp?”


    To paraphrase Rarity from thirty seconds ago: “You say ‘tomato’, I say ‘literally best magical horse woman like seriously you guys it’s not even close’.”

    For real, though, even Snips and Snails got to tag along. Did the CMC just have jury duty this week or something? Which I guess could conceivably be possible if numerical age in EqG-Land is vague and wibbly-wobbly as it seems?


    “A long time ago, before the Kaleidoscopia virus gave us all technicolor skin…”


    “Howdy, folks. Name’s Gaia. County-appointed Speaker for the Trees. Got a partner out near Whoville, little orange guy, looks like Danny DeVito with less body hair? You might have heard of him.”


    Leave it to Rarity to forget for the third movie in a row that idly listing off the screwups of formerly evil friends is a bit of a social no-no.

    Between the multiple dream sequences and the first song number that follows close behind them, it’s really aggressively hammered home how messed up Sci-Twi is over the end of Friendship Games. Sunset certainly had some similar struggles after her own transmorgrification, but Twilight’s experiences almost seem like borderline post-traumatic stress. Maybe that's an extreme semantic position to take, but it’s definitely fair to say that this redemption arc is tinged a shade darker than the ones we’ve seen prior to now.


    Well, look on the bright side: it’s not the worst thing your roommate could wake up to see you unconsciously doing.


    I can’t decide what’s better: the attempt by “Muffins” to blow them across the lake, or Tokes McGee back there’s total conviction that settling on that course of action will probably work out fine.

    I’m not going to dignify that Trixie bit with a screencap. I know the result of a written demand from Seth tacked to the front of Hasbro HQ with a bowie knife when I see it.


    In any event, I don’t think this is the kind of reflection Mulan was singing about. (Also, still waiting on that opening offer, Disney.)

    Okay, I’ve held off on this long enough: exactly how old is Timber Spruce? I mean, I can see him being younger than your average camp counselor since he literally grew up at this camp, but unless he’s still in high school or this is secretly a graduation trip, some part of this whole deal is no bueno. Had to be said at least once.

    Belay training, schmelay training. What’s really important is that we had fun and, if you don’t count the second-degree rope burns on AJ’s hands, nobody got hurt.


    And all of a sudden, the Equestria Girls Justice League is open for business. There’s a lot of technically-not-superpowers-but-let’s-not-get-semantic-and-ruin-this-for-me-okay on display in a relatively short period of time here, but it’s worth noting that a couple of the Humane 7’s abilities match up with those of the Power Ponies back in Season 4--although to be fair, Rarity’s Purple Lantern constructs are a little less intricate here, and Rainbow Dash rather appropriately ended up with super speed instead of Pinkie, who this time around gets… exploding sprinkles. To each their own, I guess.

    Anyway, now that we have both instances of superhero-ness to compare and contrast, the Humane 7’s powers seem to match up much more closely with each character’s personality, most likely because they’re more or less magical horse women versions of what their pony selves can already do. Regardless, this is basically MLP’s version of the Avengers, and that’s enough metaphorical coal to get my personal hype train chugging.

    Maybe keep Pinkie Pie away from the lighter fluid all the same, though. Just to be safe.

    “Did you just… w-what did you see?” “Nothing! I mean, just plot-relevant stuff. Mostly.” “So… not my browser history?” “Um… sure. Let’s run with that.”

    I know Sci-Twi’s the focal character for a majority of the movie, but I’m seeing a fair bit of progress for Sunset as well. Being able to own her past to the point that she can bring it up as advice for another friend is yet another step beyond even the end of her road to redemption. I suppose it’s once again something that’s not a huge shock, but it endears her to me nonetheless. Which is fine, by the way. And normal. And a totally balanced and reasonable to view Shimmy as a character.

    B-Baka.

    Human Pinkie Pie: Element of Near-Lethal Dosages of Ketamine

    So now that the gals have learned to use their powers for good or whatever highly effective dock-building, several new mysteries emerge. Do different flavors of sprinkles create bigger Pink-splosions? Does Rainbow have to wear special non-chafing clothing so her pants don’t catch on fire when she Sonic-speeds it up? Is Sunset channeling Shania Twain with this song, or am I just reaching for ever-more-nebulous ways in which I semi-excessively love her?

    I feel like there’s an obvious answer to at least one of those questions, but it’s beyond me to figure out which.

    “Oh geez, it’s happening again. Let’s just pretend this didn’t happen and not make this weird, all right, Flash?” “Sure. Seriously, though, we’ve really gotta stop bumping into each other like th--” “Okay, yeah. Now it’s weird.”

    Flash, meet Boulder. Boulder, Flash. You two oughta have a lot in common.

    “All right, Spike, here’s the plan. We’ll all go into this isolated cave with the weird unearthly glow coming from it together, and if we come across branching paths inside, we’ll split up to cover more ground. Sound good?” “You two really don’t watch many movies set at summer camps, do you?”

    Even this far in, I keep hearing an “F” every time anyone says Gloriosa’s name. Certainly lends the second-act twist a slightly different type of dramatic tension.

    “Do not, my campers, become addicted to magic. It will take hold of you… and you will resent its absence!"

    What I find really interesting here isn’t so much the revelation of the real “antagonist”, so to speak, but rather the fact that in a straightforward sense there really isn’t one at all. FuriGloriosa’s definitely in over her head by this point, but her goal is clearly just to do right by her family’s legacy without intentionally hurting anyone, and even Filthy Rich isn’t trying to destroy the camp just out of spite or something equally petty. Sure, he’s a bit of a jerk about the haggling process, but if the camp’s hemorrhaging money it’s not like wanting to buy the land out for development would be a nutty thing to do. A fireworks show of a final boss fight certainly makes for an exciting climax (and does in this movie too), but the lack of any all-caps BAD guy in this scenario adds a nice extra inch of narrative depth.

    All right, enough of the mushy crap. Fire up the friendship lasers.

    … on second thought, never mind. Mushy crap is fine. I can deal.

    And just to round things off, here’s Human Pinkie Pie: Element of the Inimitable Rule of Funny.

    Hope their next DIY camp improvement project isn’t raising a barn, is all I can say.

    You know, I stand by what I said before about Gloriosa and her good-intentions-paved personal road, but… damned if this isn’t a really villain-y villain song once Gaia-Lite takes over. Shades of Don Cheadle’s Captain Planet, almost.

    I suppose this is just what happens when the powers of Earth, Fire, Water, Wind, and Wishing-A-Motherf[justthisonceIpromise]ker-Would combine.

    Credit to Pinka Pank (and Rarara, I guess) for not dodging the “S” word when the outhouse tips over onto the A/C unit fan here. Edna Mode’s opinion be damned, sometimes superpowers just aren’t super enough without a majestic flowing cape and entirely too much spandex.

    That being said, Butterball’s got a point: if the first word that comes to mind to describe an oncoming magical apocalypse is “super-duper fun”, maybe it’s time to rethink your life a tad.

    You know what they say about horseshoes and handgrenades--if either one starts glowing in your hand, you should probably go ahead and throw it.

    Usually when people say you can be anything you want, “a magical pony princess” isn’t really one of the options, but hey, if the horn sprouts and the wings grow feathers…

    So here’s a less-than-contrived fan theory from me for once: Sunset’s pony ears pop up while she’s pleading with Sci-Twi to use her magic on Gloriosa’s vines, but not when she uses her own magic like the rest of the Humane 7--instead, it happens at the exact moment she tells Twilight that they need to go rescue their friends. Between this little bit of convenient timing and the efficacy of her power at both finding out people’s hidden concerns and helping to overcome them, I think it’s possible that the Element of Magic/Friendship in this universe isn’t Sci-Twi or even Princess Twilight back in Equestria, but rather Sunset Shimmer. If that’s true, it implies a lot about the nature of the Elements and their capacity to latch on to potentially more than one mortal bearer, as well as Sunset’s role in the series going forward. Food for thought.

    “Don’t worry, Twilight. You’re not gonna turn evil again! And I mean, even if you do, we’re kinda all screwed anyway, so… might as well go for broke, y’know?”

    “See? Told you it’d work out. ‘Cause this is totally, uh… exactly what I expected to happen. Hundred percent.”

    At some point we skipped past the superhero motif and veered hard northwest into Power Ranger territory, and I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing but I ain’t gonna lie and act like these aren’t some bonkers-ass horseapples we got goin’ on up in here.

    “Look, the apology’s nice and all, Glory, but this is literally the fourth time we’ve dealt with this kind of thing in the last… I don’t know, calendar year? So cards on the table, we’re really not in the mood. Just leave us your insurance information and the key to the counselor liquor cabinet, and we’ll take it from there. It’s kind of a routine for us at this point.”

    You see, y’all? You see why I’m an AJ fan? Everyone else is wearing sparkly bracelets and decorative bracers, and what’s Applejack got on? Cowhide work gloves with big-ass emeralds stuck in ‘em. That’s my jam right there, son.

    I had a sinking feeling early on that they’d have to force a full band performance into this movie at some point, but to be honest, when it did happen at the end here it came off pretty well. The fundraiser to save the camp is enough of a reasonable raison d’etre to accept and move on from, and it doesn’t hurt that the song itself is (subjectively) some of Daniel Ingram’s best work. That’s at least partially the basshead part of talking, though, so I suppose your mileage may vary.

    Cut Ponk some slack here. Sometimes it’s hard to know where you’ll be when the beat drops.

    Presented almost without comment, except for a brief confirmation that I’ve found my cosplay for Bronycon 2017.

    All right, final decision: we’re just gonna file “all that is the being of Timber Spruce” right alongside Flash Sentry’s love life and whether Sunset will ever show up in the TV show, and just not talk about it. Good? Good. Super.

    Now do us and all the little kids watching at home a favor and get a tent, you two.


    And with that, the camp is saved, the day is won, and Timber really just went for that grounder to first base, didn’t h… no. No. Not talking about it. Right. In any event, for a direct-to-Netflix fourth entry in a humanized spinoff of My Little Pony, this whole thing came together rather well--and I mean that much more sincerely than I’m making it sound. I know a lot of people had a lot of reservations about this series.when it first began, but by this point it’s truly established itself as an engaging extended world with--led by Sunset and Sci-Twi--an increasing strong alt-universe cast. Between the superpower pendants and Sci-Twi’s solidification as a member of the EqG crew, there’s a lot of neat stuff to be explored going forward, and with it a lot of potential for future films in this universe to work out as well as this one did.

    After some significant ups, downs, and growing pains, the Equestria Girls franchise seems to be finally hitting its stride. If Legend of Everfree represents a new normal for the quality of the series rather an entertaining exception to the rule (and me from a few years ago would be shocked to hear me say this), then bring on EqG 5.

    Because real talk? If you’re gonna end a movie with sequel bait, this is the way to do it.

    And that’s all I have to say about that. Campe diem, folks.

    ~Aqua

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