Saddle up with the "Mane 6" as we take on My Little Pony: The Movie 35th Anniversary 2-Movie Edition!
This 4 disc combo pack features two My Little Pony feature films on both Blu-ray and DVD.
In My Little Pony: The Movie (2017), plans for The Festival of Friendship are interrupted when a sinister villain called The Storm King arrives and demands they hand over their magic. The “Mane 6” ponies must then travel outside of Equestria for help in ending the threat and saving their kingdom. Directed by Jayson Thiessen.
In My Little Pony: The Movie (1986), the Ponies’ Spring Festival is threatened by an evil witch and her daughters, who unleash a strange goo across the land. Directed by Michael Joens.
This four disc set includes the Blu-ray and DVD versions of both the 2017 and 1986 theatrical versions of My Little Pony: The Movie. The set marks the first time the 1986 film has been released on Blu-ray.
In the good old 1980s, "My Little Pony" (or MLP as the fans shorthand it) became a pop culture institution, thanks to a hugely popular toy line and TV cartoon series. It experienced a renaissance of sorts when it was rebooted in 2010 as “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” again with a popular show and toy line.
Each incarnation of the series had its own feature film, and both are included in this combo set for the first time.
The 2017 film, which is produced by the same creative team behind the series, takes the characters out of their element (the land of Equestria), and introduces two sinister new villains.
The introduction of the new villains (and other new characters) allows the film to cast a slew of celebrity voice actors. While the core MLP voice actors reprise their roles from the show, the new roles are portrayed by Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Taye Diggs, Michael Pena, Zoe Saldana, and Liev Schreiber.
The film offers many of the same elements as the show does, only on a larger and higher-quality scale. The animation, which has a higher frame-rate, looks far better than anything seen before. The art direction is more elaborate, and there are more cute songs that kids will enjoy.
I was surprised to see that the film, in some parts, also ratchets up the action and peril. Those scenes might not sit well with children under seven years of age, who prefer the lighter tone of the TV series. Older kids will understand that this is part of the story, but for younger kids, they may not care for the conflict, particularly among their favorite characters. It all works out in the end, as you might expect, but don’t be surprised if the little ones want to fast-forward to the cheery songs.
Like the series, the film is inventive and engaging, and I found a cameo by singer Sia - whose horse character had her face covered by her mane - particularly clever. I admit I laughed out loud at that one.
The movie will easily appeal to longtime MLP fans, but newbies may not appreciate it as much. The film assumes you know these characters and their personalities, so not much time is given to explain the world of Equestria or to character development. In the end, it doesn’t matter, because a happy ending and a catchy musical number from Sia to close the film makes it all good.
The 1986 film is special to a lot of MLP fans, and after seeing it for the first time, I can only assume that nostalgia plays a big part in the affection for the movie. It seems pretty obvious that the movie does not age well with time. At all.
The film looks and feels like one long, hastily-made episode. A little research into the film revealed why: the movie was reportedly rushed into production, and animation was completed in just ten weeks, an unheard-of time frame. That would explain the rudimentary animation, and the overall disjointed pacing.
The story involves Lickety Split the pony deciding to run away after a disagreement with the other ponies. At the same time, a witch named Hydia (Cloris Leachman) and her daughters Draggle (Madeline Kahn) and Reeka (Rhea Perlman) unleash a purple goo to ruin Ponyland.
The story meanders about for nearly 90 minutes, with various subplots and distractions that only seem to fill time. Characters voiced by Danny DeVito and Tony Randall liven things up, and the story eventually comes together.
As I mentioned before, for many viewers, nostalgia likely smooths over the film’s faults, and I’m sure it played better to kids in 1986 than it does today. Still, it has its moments, and I appreciate the signature 80s touches: at one point, the ponies wear leg warmers and aerobics-style headbands.
The film may not hold up well against its 2017 counterpart, but for hardcore MLP fans, it’s a must. Kind of like Star Wars fans and the prequels. You gotta count them all.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The 2017 film looks fantastic in high definition, with razor-sharp detail and a bold color palette. The video transfer handles the bright primary colors of the “Mane 6” with all the “pop” you would expect, but it also renders the deep jewel colors of the villains and realms outside of Equestria well.
The 5.1 DTS-HD soundtrack is surprisingly good, with plenty of rumbling bass and good channel separation for the music.
The 1986 film gets its first Blu-ray release with this combo pack, but the transfer leaves much to be desired. The 1.33:1 image is barely DVD quality, with a fuzzy image and evidence of dust on the print. It doesn’t appear the source material was very good, and the image shows it. The 2.0 DTS-HD audio is passable but lacks clarity and depth.
The combo pack features a repack of the 2017 movie released on Blu-ray in January of this year, so the bonus features are the same. While the 1986 film is new to Blu-ray, they simply ported over the bonus features from the previous DVD release, which isn’t much.
The 2017 film’s extras include some nice behind-the-scenes featurettes and shorts, while the 1986 film’s extras are merely “sing-along” versions of four songs from the movie.
The bonus features are as follows:
2017 Movie Special Features
Deleted Scene. This deleted scene, which appears to be an alternate opening for the film, is narrated by Twilight Sparkle and serves as a bit of a primer for the movie’s premise. Running Time: 1:16
Equestria Girls Short: “Road Trippin.” The girls take a trip on a bus. Running Time: 2:47
“Baking With Pinkie Pie” short. This short offers up a cupcake recipe. No, seriously. An actual cupcake recipe. Running Time: 3:51
“Making Magic With The Mane 6 and Their New Friends” featurette. This behind-the-scenes look at the film features the original voice cast and the A-list actors who joined the cast for the film. Running Time: 14:36
“The Journey Beyond Equestria” featurette. The cast and crew discuss the story, as well as the art direction in bringing the world outside of Equestria to life. Running Time: 11:28
“I’m The Friend You Need” Music Video. Actor Taye Diggs, who voices the character Capper, performs his song from the film in this music video. Running Time: 2:51
“Hanazuki: Full of Treasures” short. This short, which played before the 2017 film in theaters, was an introduction of sorts to the Hanazuki shorts that appear on YouTube. The shorts are also produced by Hasbro Studios. Running Time: 5:05
Trailers. Trailers for the movies Rock Dog, The Wild Life, Norm of the North, Shaun the Sheep: The Movie are included as a bonus feature. Running Time: 7:04
1986 Movie Special Features
Sing Along: “Go It Alone.” Running Time: 1:56
Sing Along: “Another Rainbow.” Running Time: 1:28
Sing Along: “What Good Will Wishing Do?” Running Time: 1:17
Sing Along: “Dirty Work.” Running Time: 2:24
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Running Time: 86 minutes (1986 film); 99 minutes (2017 film)
Rating: G (1986 film); PG (2017 film)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 (1986 film); 2.39:1 (2017 film)
Audio: 2017 Film: English 5.1 DTS-HD, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio 2.0. 1986 Film: English 2.0 DTS-HD
Subtitles: 2017 Film: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish. 1986 Film: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing