Star Rating:

My Little Pony: The Movie

Director: Jayson Thiessen

Actors: Emily Blunt, Uzo Aduba

Release Date: Friday 20th October 2017

Genre(s): Adventure, Animation, Family

Running time: 99 minutes

Just as the city of Equestria gears up for the Friendship Festival the celebrations are rudely cut short by Tempest Shadow (Blunt) and her minions, taking control of the land in the name of The Storm King (Shreiber) who needs the ponies magic so he can control the weather. It's left to Princess Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) and her ragbag group of friends to embark on a quest to hunt down the Queen of the Hippogriffs (Uzo Aduba), the only one who can free Equestria. But Tempest is in hot pursuit…

To ensure that the big screen outing doesn’t veer too much from what makes the series so popular, My Little Pony: The Movie employs series director Thiessen and writers Meghan McCarthy and Michael Vogel, roping in the feature experience of Rita Hsiao (Mulan, Toy Story 2) to ensure the TV writers don’t resort to an episodic story, which so often blights these things. It also resists the temptation to give it a CGI or 3D makeover, and doesn't overload the dialogue with pop culture references so the parents can have a giggle. My Little Pony: The Movie is for the little fans and no one else.

But for large stretches it can fall into the 'new character – song – danger – escape - new character – song' structure that can induce boredom. The story just washes over you and fails to engage: it's unclear why The Storm King needs to control the weather or why Queen Hippogriff can help. The two five-year-olds that accompanied this reviewer were more interested in the sweets than what was happening on screen until that is, and budding writers must take note here, The Storm King and Tempest were on screen. The message is clear: pen a villain with presence and the kids will pay attention.

Not a classic then. It may not be a fan favourite either. Yes, it's a roll call of the currently popular ponies but there's a lack of imagination and magic here. Not every Hasbro or toy adaptation can by Lego Movie or (the surprisingly solid) Trolls Movie but My Little Pony moves like it's afraid to step it up for the big screen.