Saturday, 7 November 2015

Film review: Friendship Games

Let's Go, Wondercolts!
Gee, I wonder who the final six contestants might be...?
It seems a while ago now – because it is! – but a few weeks back, I went with some of the other Worcester meet regulars to the Vue cinema in the city centre to watch Friendship Games. We'd all thought for a while that we weren't going to get a big-screen release, seeing as this third Equestria Games instalment was a direct-to-TV movie, but happily we were wrong. Kudos to Vue for reducing their usual (high) prices for this film, too. Attendance wasn't bad, a mix of bronies and familes. Anyway, on to the review! This is a short one, since otherwise I'm never going to get it done.

First up: it's in the middle as far as quality goes. Better than the first film, largely because the thing isn't hampered by having to spend 15 minutes of its already short runtime introducing the characters. Not as good as Rainbow Rocks, largely because the songs aren't as good. It is worth seeing, and I'm glad I got to see it in the cinema, but I'd be hard pressed to call it a "must see" movie in the way that its predecessor was. There are some great bits, but the whole is lacking a bit of a spark.

Sunset Shimmer in the maths contest
They have motocross contests, but still use blackboards? Um...
Everyone seems to disagree on what the good bits actually are this time round. I love little touches such as Pinkie Pie obliterating the competition in the Great Equestrian Bake Off round, Applejack's archery lesson (that's why she's the Element of Generosity Loyalty Honesty) and Rarity's continued ability to have an outfit for every occasion. Of the songs, I enjoy "Acadeca" the most ("CHS Rally" was just too American for words) and, in context, the Disneyesque "Unleash the Magic". Also, Flash Sentry's humiliation. :P

Other things are a bit less sensible (motocross!?) but can be accepted in the context of a world like this. I am a tad disappointed in Abacus Cinch, who is a pretty stereotypical villain; I think she could have been a bit more interestingly written. And (sigh) she's English. Of course. Also, the thought of Twilight being accepted into Everton is truly hilarious to British fans. I'd actually pay to see that film! :P Finally, the end battle: great, but the film takes its sweet time getting there.
Midnight Sparkle fighting Sunset Shimmer
Twilight realises how many FlashLight shipfics exist in our world
This is worth catching when it comes round on TV again, and probably worth buying on DVD if you feel like it, too. (We don't get a Blu-ray release in Europe, just like with Rainbow Rocks, grumble.) It's certainly not a disaster, and when you bear in mind that it is a TV movie, you might even call it above average. It's no classic, though, and assuming there's a fourth instalment I hope it's a bit more accomplished. And doesn't have Crystal Prep in it.

Best quote: Pinkie Pie: "Unless it's a losing to Crystal Prep competition, 'cause we're reeeally good at that!"

  • A decent enough way of passing 72 minutes
  • Several pretty decent song sequences
  • Midnight Sparkle v Sunset Shimmer is impressive, if short-lived
  • The writers have clearly given up entirely on Flash now
  • Doesn't wow me in the way Rainbow Rocks did
  • Principal Cinch is fairly dull
  • Cadance just looks weird as a human :P
  • May (may) have spoiled something from the S5 finale


  1. What, people don't use blackboards anymore? O.o Have schools switched to laserboard finally?

    Also that's a funny way to say that Cadence is far superior as a human and somehow one of my favorite parts of this movie. :V

    And you should definitely read my new story, it will cover some of the ludicrousness.

    1. I can't speak for the US, but in the UK, we tended to move over to whiteboards during the 1990s. Then smartboards in the last few years. Blackboards are still around in places, but you don't necessarily expect one in every classroom any more. I suppose a place like Crystal Prep might keep using them to show how poshly traditional they were, but that doesn't really apply to CHS.

      I actually quite like Dean Cadance. She still looks weird, though. :P

      I'll track that story, then. Whether I'll ever actually read it is anyone's guess, but it has more of a chance than Project Horizons.

    2. That last bit? Yes. Apart from Fallout: Equestria itself, I've never read any ponyfic longer than Winning Pony, and that's less than a quarter the length. PH ain't happening.

  2. Those are obviously the traditional ceremonial blackboards. I mean, unless you think the stair pyramid is one of their normal classrooms? Granted, with Principal Celestia you can never be too sure what wacky thing she'll come up with next.

    Yeah, the baking competition was one of my favorite parts. I imagine them going up to the principals when it was announced as the next contest and going "Um, can we just skip this and call it a win for Canterlot?"
    "Why? You scared?"
    "Nope. We've got Pinkie Pie. See that cake you are eating right now?"
    "Wha? Huh, where did that come from. It is really good though."
    "Yeah, Pinkie Pie baked that because she got bored waiting for us to finish talking."

    1. One interesting thing is that, in "Applebuck Season", Pinkie clearly defers to Applejack in the baking skills department. That seems to get forgotten nowadays.