Friday, 2 November 2018

Text Review Roundup: "Best Gift Ever"

Kicking off the last TRR for a while – well, unless S9 unexpectedly starts next month or something – and you'll note a very different slate of reviewers from usual. Many of the regulars don't have anything that I could find (not even Derpy News!) yet one or two non-regulars have written pieces. Dark Qiviut is back, and we have a brand new reviewer in Mike Cartoon Pony. Huzzah!

So, out of nine reviewers this time, two outright disliked the special, two thought it was okay and five either really liked or even loved it. I'd say that was a pretty good return. As with "A Hearth's Warming Tail", predictability didn't get in the way of enjoyment for those reviewers who liked most of the other stuff. My 4/5 rating puts me in with the pack this time round.

Dark Qiviut – negative (graded D+; "There were a lot of sweet moments here, including the ending, but overall, this was a colossal disappointment.")

DrakeyC – fairly positive ("Was fine. Cute, had some fun moments, decent song, good cameos. It was fine. But, shouldn't it have aired like, a month and a half later?")

geeky things – mildly positive (rated 6/10; "the plot is that of your typical christmas special and it goes exactly how you think it would go but [...] has the right amount of humor either way the story is well told")

JDPrime22 – very positive (rated 10/10; "Loved the music, the writing, the comedy, pretty much everything about this special.")

Louder Yay – positive (rated 4/5; "The adjective that most comes to mind is "warm-hearted", and that will do me very nicely.")

Mike Cartoon Pony – very positive ("predictable [...] But, this is easily one of the best new Pony things I've seen since the Movie got me on board a year ago")

MLEEP Reviews – positive (rated 8.5/10; "predictable story [but] everything else [...] truly helped capture the feeling of the magic of the holiday season")

The Railfan Brony – negative (rated Bad; "a mish-mash of older episodes thrown into the pudding [that] comes out as stale, years-old gingerbread")

ShutterflyEQD – positive ("One of the best things about this special is that everypony got a lot of screen time! [Though] why couldn't they have added Starlight into the fun?")


  1. People got into pony from the Movie? <.< I'm not sure what to think about that.

    1. Stupid Blogger threading failure. Reply below.

    2. I couldn't have known Logan would chose that line to abbreviate my review by (and lord have I realised I didn't make it easy to choose, that review was too long - did I really need to paragraph's on my thoughts on Michael Vogel as a writer? Better to have saved that for a separate post).

      Anyway, people often remark on my entrance to being a Pony fan being due to the Movie. How'd it happen? Not dissimilar to what Logan said, in that I was obliged to see it, though not for kid reasons. On my YouTube channel, Cartoon Karma, I decided to review theatrical animated films in 2017, to try and broaden my failures. It didn't work, and if anything, actually slowed channel growth, both because of time to do them and people wanting what I usually do. But as you'd guess, that's why I saw the Movie.

      For most of the year leading up to it, it barely registered to me as more then one of the pack, no different from such middling fare as Smurfs: The Lost Village and The Lego Ninjago Movie. Only maybe in the month before release, after seeing the trailers a few times, did I wonder if it could perhaps be interesting. I'll tell ya, those trailers being my first proper exposure is... weird. Didn't quite know what to make of the characters' world as it might be outside of when an evil force was invading. The best vibe I got from that was that it was gleefully making little concessions to adults, or not of the variety in most CG films anyway, and just trying to be a kid's movie. Which was kind of refreshing.

      Anyway, I saw it on Halloween (like with Logan, didn't come out till October 20th), and thought it was decent. Two days later, and literally one year ago to this day, I decided to watch the series' first episode. End result? Finished up with Shadow Play two days before Christmas. 169 episodes in 52 days. Suffice to say, the Ponies worked their charms on me. I always loved Powerpuff Girls, but this was something else, sincere and warm without being sickeningly so. There's no other show like it. I fully understand why so many people have fallen in love, having done so myself now.

      I do understand your confusion over someone getting into the show because of the Movie; while I'm in the prime position of being able to appreciate it both from a newcomer's perspective and a fan's now, I'll admit it makes some concessions to newcomers, but not enough. Now I know the universe, my opinion has risen to mildly good, a weak 7/10. But, that's why I am fully glad they did their best to avoid continuity lockout with the Movie and make it as much of a standalone experience as they could. It was open enough to newcomers to get me curious for more. For that's I'm grateful.
      And there's lots about it I admire greatly; aside from being honestly fun, it gets how to be a cinematic experience much better then many big-budgeted animated films. There's legit adventure awe that actually works, the pauses for atmospheric and dramatic effect are profound, it's designed very well both for a big screen and for a widescreen ratio (even in animation, so often it ends up being dead space). Do I wish it had more of the series' character focused direction? Of course. But I don't feel like complaining, not when it started a wonderful journey of mine with these cartoon equines.

      Whoa, did not intend to have an answer that long. But hope that satisfies your curiosity as to the situation!

    3. like with Logan, didn't come out till October 20th

      That phrase confused me for a moment! ;) Actually I got to see it on the 14th (Showcase Leicester) as it came out early in Leicestershire, I think because that county had an earlier school half-term holiday than most of England.

    4. Nice! :D I'm pleased (and somewhat amazed!) you ran through the show that fast! I guess if that's how people approach it, then I can say nothing other than it's good thing to get into pony via the movie. :)

  2. It's not that surprising. After the brief period of pop culture relevance ended around 2014/15, MLP didn't really impinge on general consciousness... until the movie came out. Then a lot of people who'd never watched the show were dragged along by kids etc and got interested.

    This isn't necessarily how Mike got into it, just a general suggestion why some people may have done.

  3. This is The Dragon Warlock. Sorry I never got to writing a review, but I will say that I did enjoy this special a lot. The writing is solid for the most part, the comedy is great, and I liked the overall plot. Discord feels much better this time around instead of how he was in A Matter of Principals. Although, I was pleasantly surprised to see him and Rainbow team up. Also, the song Spike sang to Rarity was wonderful and it made me happy to see more Sparity shipping fuel.

    I did have some issues with some of the pacing and I feel like Fluttershy was really dumb with how she doesn't know better about the Flim Flam Bros. Honestly, you'd think she'd learn at this point they aren't to be trusted. And once again, I didn't care much for the FFB as I feel they've kind of run their course. At least they didn't sing another song that would've no doubt been recycled.

    A great special overall and easily one of the best Hearth's Warming specials. Not sure if this beats the first one, but it's close.

    Also, "Pudding" face Twilight is hilarious.

    1. Thanks for the comment – very welcome! :) As you'll have seen if you've read my review, I had my problems with Fluttershy's portrayal, too. Ah well, overall it was a good 'un, I think.