• MERCH REVIEW: My Little Pony: The Movie BLU-RAY/DVD


    Hello everyone! The Illustrious Q here, and snowed in at the moment, to bring you another merch review! Just what am I reviewing today? It's the Blu-Ray/DVD release of My Little Pony: The Movie! (On sale January 9th, 2018). Just look at those covers! They are so shiny and sparkly! And one is the wide release and the other is the Target Exclusive!

    As you can probably guess, these have been provided by Lionsgate for review purposes. Realistically, how else were we supposed to get these before the street date?

    Anyways, after the break you'll find my usual in depth look at the product in question. So do go grab a sandwich and buckle up, for there is a lot of stuff to cover! See you there.

    STANDARD BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO


    The front of the packing is available to view above the break. Both make use of the home video release logo for the movie, and movie's tagline of "Discover a different breed of hero" (I love that pun) the standard edition makes use of a cropped version of the My Little Pony: The Movie movie poster. It has a foil sheen to it, which makes it nice and shiny.

    The Target exclusive photoshops preexisting assets for the mane 6, and Songbird Serenade, that also has a foil sheen, which again makes it nice and shiny and also sparkly! There is a nice glitter effect on the slip case for the Target exclusive which really helps to pop out.

    The backs of the Target Exclusive and the General release slip covers are basically the same. Aside from changing out some of the film frames on the back to feature Songbird Serenade as opposed to Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie. It details the special features you can find in the disks, and in the fine print the requirements needed to play the disks, the copyright information, and legal information required by US Federal Law.

    So pretty standard right there.


    For the Target edition the Blu-Ray case comes out from the right side. The standard edition slip cover has the case coming out of the top. Once again, this is fairly standard, so there's no real surprises there.


    Now for the Blu-Ray case itself, regardless of edition you're going end up with what is presented on the left. Which is a carbon copy of the standard slipcover. Though without the foil sheen, so no shine on the Blu-Ray case.

    Which is again, fairly standard and has no surprises.


    And now to look at the physical contents of the box!

    You get two disks. One DVD (pictured left) and 1 Blu-Ray (pictured right) formats of the film. Also included inside is a slip of paper containing your digital download code. There's not much else to it. The cover paper doesn't have a reversible mini poster, and the disks themselves make use of the Mane 6 Seapony assets which have been cropping up since New York Toy Fair  back in February. At this point you know what you're buying, so there is no surprise there.



    I would have liked for there to have been a couple of coupons. Special discount codes to www.HasbroToyShop.com, or inserts to other Blu-Rays/DVDs offered from Lionsgate, or a special offer for  MLP DVDs from Shout Factory. Just a little something more than just the digital download code.

    TARGET EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY


    And something more than a digital download code is exactly what the Target Exclusive Edition has! In the form of an activity book! And stickers!


    See? Just look at those sticker designs! One for each of the Mane 6, and 6 stickers for the logo of the film!


    As for the activity book itself, you've got the "This activity book belongs to:" page on the back cover, 5 pages of lined paper to be used as a journal, a word search, a maze, 6 tic-tac-toe boards, a connect the dots page of Queen Novo, two coloring pages, a spot the difference page, and a word scramble page. It's the perfect little insert for the target demographic of the My Little Pony franchise. And the best part is that it's at the exact same price point as the standard edition of the Blu-Ray.



    So why isn't it included in the standard edition of the Blu-Ray? I know it's supposed to be a way of differentiating the Target Exclusive Edition from the Standard edition but it's really not much. Something which could have been done instead of the activity book could have been a 16 page mini-comic from IDW Publishing dedicated to tell the backstory of their exclusive merchandising character Songbird Serenade. That would have been a little more fitting with what Target has been doing for the film.

    What's available for the target exclusive is still good, it just could have been better.

    BLU-RAY CONTENTS


    No home video release on a disk format is complete without a menu to navigate through. And like modern home video releases, the main menu has an animated background showcasing select scenes from the film in a 45 second loop. Almost all of the footage is from the beginning of the film, specifically the "We Got This Together" sequence, with one random bit showing Capper tilting his head in curiosity.

    Please note that the Main Menu is the only menu with an animated background. The other menus all have static backgrounds.

    The main menu has four options: Play Movie, Scenes, Set Up, and Special Features. Play Movie is exactly what it sounds like, so if you want to go and watch the movie straight away, this is what you select. Scenes is the scene selection menu. The movie is divided up into 16 scenes, which are numbered 1 – 16 as opposed to being punny titles. I would have taken the puns over straight numbering. Would have been a little more fun.


    The Set Up option is the Settings Menu. From here you can select a couple of settings for your experience with the movie. There are audio options for English Audio, Spanish Audio, and English Descriptive Audio for those who are visually impaired, and subtitles for English and Spanish.

    As for the Spanish Dub of the film included in this release, the cast is the Español Latino cast from the Mexican Dub of the show. At least I think it is. None of the voice actors in the Spanish Dub included in this release are credited anywhere in here, so it's hard for me to know for sure.

    Especially since I only have some of the Latin American Dubbed songs to reference to the voices in this film. They sound close, very close, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if they were. An interesting note about the Spanish Dub, Songbird Serenade's spoken dialogue is dubbed into Spanish, however her song is not. That is still Sia, and the song Rainbow is completely in English.

    It's a little odd, especially when all the other songs in the film have been dubbed.

    Now for the real meat and potatoes of the home video release! The special features! First of all, do not click on the Trailers option for the special features. The four trailers contained in there are literally the first thing that plays when you boot up the Blu-Ray/DVD player (and not a computer). So you really don't need to see those advertisements again.

    As for the rest of the special features, there's no better way to talk about them than by diving right in! So let's talk about them!

    Note: I will not go into the Hanazuki: Full of Treasures short. It's the same short which was packaged with the film for the theatrical release. So if you saw the movie in theaters, you saw this one already.


    The Deleted Scene… yes there is only one deleted scene in the home video release. However, the scene is not an animatic. It is not missing music. It is not missing any audio recordings. It's a complete, fully animated scene. Which is unbelievably rare to see in animated features!

    Usually with animated films, scenes are deleted at the animatic stage. That's usually the cheapest point in the production to decide to remove it. The film is still in a very incomplete state and potential plot/story problems are easily identifiable, and course corrections are easy to implement. So to see a complete deleted animated scene is a true delight.

    Furthermore, the deleted scene is the original opening to the film! It's a prologue narrated by Twilight Sparkle and echos the opening to the entire My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series. It does this by using an animation style which is complete different from the rest of the film, and the narration starts off with "In the magical land of Equestria." Though after watching the entire film, it's not hard to see why the scene was removed, since it straight up tells the audience what's going to happen in the film rather than letting them experience it as the film progresses.

    There is one item to take note of about this scene. If you were at HASCON's My Little Pony Mane Event, you saw this scene in the movie footage shown there. I for one am ecstatic this scene didn't end up in the Hasbro animation vaults out for the world to see.

    However, there is a problem. Namely that there is ONLY one deleted scene in the bonus features. If you were at Equestria LA and happened to be at the Making of My Little Pony: The Movie panel, you heard a ton of behind the scenes information about the film, including some alternate takes on a number of scenes and different story directions which were explored during production. And I'm pretty sure he mentioned a couple of times these were storyboarded and placed into animatics.

    So… yeah. I just wish there were more deleted scenes to look at in this release.


    The Exclusive Equestria Girls short included in this release is called Road Trippin and tells the story of how the Rainbooms made it to their gig at Goldie Delicious's farm with Granny Smith as their bus driver. As you can probably guess, Granny Smith knew a short cut to get to the farm faster than sitting in traffic on the highway, and all sorts of hijinks ensue on their detour.

    The short is fun, well executed, extremely well animated, and is one of the best Equestria Girls shorts which have been officially released by DHX or Hasbro to date. And Peter New as Goldie Delicious has a fantastic joke at the end of the short.

    The only problem with the short is that it doesn't really connect at all with the film. It doesn't make use of any of the new characters introduced in the film and doesn't really connect with the theme introduced in the movie. It feels like it was just randomly added to the home video release just for the sake of putting in a special feature. Though if it were animated with Toon Boom Harmony I could see why it would have been included regardless of what the actual story was for the two minute short.

    It's definitely worth taking a look at though. Especially if you've been enjoying the new Equestria Girls shorts.


    Baking with Pinkie Pie is exactly what it sounds like. It's a how to bake video with Pinkie Pie teaching the audience how to bake cupcakes! Andrea Libman's performance as Pinkie on how to bake these tasty treats is absolutely spot on for the duration of the three minute short. Some clips from the movie are edited into this how to video, but the editing on the live action footage is timed perfectly to Andrea's performance.

    The film clips aren't necessary to enjoy this short at all, but they do enhance it. So if you feel like baking like Pinkie Pie, be sure to check it out and follow the directions!


    Making Magic with The Mane 6 and their New Friends is not The Making of My Little Pony : The Movie special which aired on Discovery Family the week before the movie premiered. And neither is the next special feature, The Journey Beyond Equestria. The short does a quick overview of each of the mane characters and the voice actors behind them. Andrea Libman, Tara Strong, Ashleigh Ball, Tabitha St. Germain, and Cathey Weseluck all give a quick overview of their characters, and there's additional commentary from Co-Executive Producers Meghan McCarthy & Mike Vogel, Director Jayson Theissen, and All Spark Studios Executive Producer Josh Feldman.

    After the two minute intro, the Mane 6 plus Spike get a quick 3 minute recap.

    Put down the pitchforks and torches.

    We already know all about these characters and then some. This special feature is on a Blu-Ray release for a film targeted to the My Little Pony fanbases. I think a quick refresher at these characters is actually justified since it gives more time to look at the characters we don't know all that well. Namely the movie exclusive characters.

    The movie exclusive characters, which is the second part of the short, get 7 minutes. This evens out to 1 minute and 10 seconds per character. Which gives the audience a chance to get to know these characters from the points of view of the writers, executives, and actors who brought them to life. This is probably the closest most people are going to get in terms of sitting down with these Hollywood Stars to hear about their experiences with making the movie.

    For instance, did you know Emily Blunt was pregnant with her second child while recording for Tempest? I certainly didn't, and it's a fun piece of trivia to know to impress your friends with the next time you get together at a Brony Convention.

    The only movie exclusive character who is missing from this segment is Songbird Serenade, as performed by Sia. I'm betting the reason why she was excluded has something to do with Target's exclusive deal for the character, and her exclusion from the bonus features of the DVD annoys me to no end.

    The remaining time of this special feature is dedicated to the conclusion, and also sets up the next feature, titled The Journey Beyond Equestria.


    The Journey Beyond Equestria is the behind the feature which gets into more of the technical details of the film. I can't really summarize what this one talks about without basically repeating most of this stuff verbatim. However, you see a lot of the animatics, a lot of storyboards, background designs, character designs, how to pitch a scene, and the editorial process.

    Please note, the walls at DHX Studios are completely covered in My Little Pony posters.

    The main problem I have with The Journey Beyond Equestria and Making Magic with The Mane 6 and their New Friends is that they all feel like they're a part of a much longer and larger documentary on the film, but only had these two segments complete before the home video release had to go to print.

    What we have isn't bad, but it really does feel like there was supposed to be more with this.


    Though as an added bonus, this feature showcased clear as day shot of Tabitha St. Germain wearing a Rarity Cutie Mark pendant designed and produced by Silver Slinger. I seriously wonder how many times he's going to end up rewatching these feature to see his work on a a movie home video release. It really is a nice feather in his cap.


    I'm the Friend You Need music video is the last exclusive special feature on the list which debuts with the Home Video release. Reminder, if you saw My Little Pony: The Movie in theaters, you already saw the Hanazuki: Full of Treasures short.

    The idea behind this special feature is really simple. The idea is for a behind the scenes look at a recording session for one of the songs in the film. Live action footage of Tay Diggs singing his heart out is edited together with finished animation from the film and reaction shots of the production crew members who were present for this session.


    Production crew members like Co-Executive Producer Mike Vogel, Composer Daniel Ingram, and the Film's Director Jayson Theissen. Mike has the absolute best reactions in this feature. Especially since he was caught singing along on camera.

    As for how well this 3 minute feature was executed, well it's not quite as informative as the other two behind the scenes features—if this weren't a strict music video I would have loved to have gotten an idea of who many takes this recording session took—but in exchange you get to watch Tay Diggs have fun singing for the duration of the song in the recording booth. Interspersing live action footage with finished animation is a common enough bonus feature in animated movies releases, and this one does it competently.

    Be sure to take a look when you get your hands on it.

    FINAL VERDICT

    So, how are the special features on the home video release? They're good, but they most definitely could be better. I'm not going to repeat myself with what I felt were the problems with the special features we got, however I will say there is one thing I wish we had gotten. I wish there was a director's commentary on this release. Equestria Girls films 2, 3, & 4 got them, and those were straight to DVD releases. When taking that into consideration, the Major Motion Picture not getting a director's commentary feels very odd.

    As for the Physical Release itself, if you're going to pick one up, go for the Target Exclusive Edition. When compared to what you get from the standard, the fact you actually do get something more from the exact same price point speaks volumes.

    Can I recommend picking up the physical release? Yes, yes I can. I can recommend it for the simple fact you can get a Blu-Ray signed at a Pony convention. I hear the stars of the film like going to those. It's a lot harder to get a digital copy of the film signed at a con. Beyond that, it's still worth a buy to complete the DVD collection of the entire My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series.

    And it's worth picking up for the special features, which from I can gather are only available digitally through iTunes. I know not everyone has an iTunes account, so being able to experience these features without having to get one is always a great option.


    My Little Pony: The Movie will be released in stores on January 9th, 2018. The Target Exclusive Edition of the BLU-RAY/DVD Combo can be pre-ordered here. The Walmart Exclusive Gift Set—which includes an exclusive water bottle (yeah I don't get it either)—is currently unavailable for pre-order.

    You can pre-order either the BLU-RAY or DVD edition of My Little Pony: The Movie from Amazon here.

    Discover A New Breed of Hero


    The Mane 6 are Joined by Fun New Friends Voiced by an All-Star Cast in this Magical Adventure Arriving on Digital December 19 and Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD on January 9 from Lionsgate

    SANTA MONICA, CA (November 13, 2017) – Join the “truly magical adventure” (Mike Reyes, CinemaBlend) of the Mane 6 and their new friends when My Little Pony: The Movie comes home on Digital December 19 and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand January 9 from Lionsgate. Best friends Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Rarity team up in their most epic adventure yet! This new installment of the global phenomenon features the Mane 6 voices of “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” accompanied by Golden Globe® winner Emily Blunt (Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy, Into the Woods, 2015), Primetime Emmy® winner Kristin Chenoweth (Best Supporting Actress, “Pushing Daisies,” 2009), Golden Globe® nominee Liev Schreiber (Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama, “Ray Donovan,” 2017), Michael Peña (The Martian, Ant-Man franchise), Sia, Taye Diggs (Chicago, “Private Practice”), Golden Globe® nominee Uzo Aduba (Best Supporting Actress – Television, “Orange Is the New Black,” 2016), and Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy franchise).

    When a dark force threatens Ponyville, the Mane 6 go on a journey beyond Equestria to save their beloved home and they meet new friends and exciting challenges along the way.

    Directed by “My Little Pony” veteran Jayson Thiessen (“My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic”) and including original music and songs performed by Sia, Taye Diggs, Zoe Saldana, Kristin Chenoweth, and Emily Blunt, My Little Pony: The Movie is full of music, fun, and laughter for the whole family. The My Little Pony: The Movie Blu-ray and DVD include all-new special features, including a deleted scene, a music video, three featurettes starring the Mane 6, an exclusive Equestria Girls Short and a Hanazuki short, and will be available for the suggested retail price of $29.95 and $39.99, respectively.

    BLU-RAY/DVD/DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES
    • Deleted Scene
    • Equestria Girls Short
    • “Baking with Pinkie Pie” Featurette
    • “Making Magic with the Mane 6 and Their New Friends” Featurette
    • “The Journey Beyond Equestria” Featurette
    • “I’m the Friend You Need” Music Video (Sung by Taye Diggs)
    • “Hanazuki: Full of Treasures” Featurette
    Twitter: @MLPMovie

    PROGRAM INFORMATION
    Year of Production: 2017
    Title Copyright: My Little Pony: The Movie © 2017 My Little Pony Productions LLC. All Rights Reserved. Artwork & Supplementary Materials © 2018 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. MY LITTLE PONY and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. © 2018 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc.
    Type: Theatrical Release
    Rating: PG for mild action
    Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family
    Closed-Captioned: N/A
    Subtitles: Spanish, English SDH
    Feature Run Time: 99 Minutes
    BD Format: 1080p High Definition, 16X9 Widescreen 2.39:1 Presentation
    DVD Format: 16x9 Widescreen 2.39:1 Presentation
    BD Audio: English DTS HD Master Audio™, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English Descriptive Audio
    DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English Descriptive Audio

    ABOUT LIONSGATE
    The first major new studio in decades, Lionsgate is a global content platform whose films, television series, digital products and linear and over-the-top platforms reach next generation audiences around the world. In addition to its filmed entertainment leadership, Lionsgate content drives a growing presence in interactive and location-based entertainment, gaming, virtual reality and other new entertainment technologies. Lionsgate’s content initiatives are backed by a 16,000-title film and television library and delivered through a global licensing infrastructure. The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring and ground-breaking content created with special emphasis on the evolving patterns and diverse composition of the Company’s worldwide consumer base.


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