Friday, 17 February 2017

So, about those character reveals...

Note: this was accidentally posted yesterday, along with the keyboard-related post. I wanted to give it a day to itself, so I deleted yesterday's post and re-posted this today. The article itself has not been changed.

The other day, we were treated to a chunk of information regarding My Little Pony: The Movie – to wit, no fewer than seven guest character announcements to go with the one we already had. There's also been an apparently genuine synopsis reveal on a Polish site. Like just about everyone else in the fandom, I have my views on these. I don't really consider these to count as spoilers, but for now at least I'll put a break here for the sake of anyone who is attempting the (I suspect impossible) task of avoiding any news at all.

Let's have a look at the synopsis first:
The herd of brave ponies comes eye to eye with their biggest enemy. The mischievous Storm King decides to steal all of the magic from their home Kingdom of Equestria. In order to save it, the brave heroes have to set out to a journey full of adventures. They will make new friends like seaponies or good pirates and will live through many emotional and funny turn of events to once again prove that friendship is magic.
I can accept the slightly weird phrasing as a result of this being a translation, but the actual plot seems too vague and generic to make much of at this point. "Biggest enemy" is quite a claim, too, when you think about the various villains the ponies have already faced. And exactly who will be travelling? The logo we saw a while back featured the Mane Six and Spike, but not Starlight.

Okay, some thoughts now on the characters:

Songbird Serenade (Sia)
This was the character we already knew about. Her design is a bit on the overblown side, but then so is Sia's real-life look. I suspect her role may be similar to Shakira's in Zootopia, in that rather than being a major part of the plot she'll mostly be there to sing a catchy theme song.

The Storm King (Liev Schreiber)
This guy, who will apparently be the main villain, has obvious similarities to Tirek, both in his design and in his desire to "steal magic". That being so, I wonder whether there might be an explicit link between the two. The synopsis describes him as "mischievous", which makes him sound less evil than Tirek, but that might simply be a translation issue.

Princess Skystar (Kristen Chernoweth)
A princess with no horn? What is this sorcery? Ahem. If this is a seapony, as Meghan McCarthy has been hinting, it's sure to lead to an outpouring of "Shoo-be-doo"-ing. Which is fine by me as I think that song is great! Still, it's a remarkably unwatery name for a seapony, so maybe we're barking up the wrong tree. No real complaints about her design.

Capper (Taye Diggs)
Oh boy, here we go. Mike Vogel has described this guy as "one cool cat", but I have serious concerns here. Yes, MLP has had an anthro cat before (G1's Katrina) and yes, we've had anthro dogs in G4... but Capper really doesn't look as though he fits. Even allowing for the fact that the Mane Six are heading out of Equestria, Capper looks like he wandered in from a different movie. He may be one of the "good pirates" the synopsis mentions.

Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt)
All I can say here is that she'd better have one hay of a good backstory if she's going to make that look work. I can't believe the team don't know that Tempest is pretty much every edgy OC you could think of, but the broken horn especially is stretching my optimism. Also: we're going to get a ton of fanfics starring her months before the movie actually arrives. Oh joy.

Captain Celaeno (Zoe Saldana)
Now this is more like it. Early speculation suggested Celaeno might be a griffon, but I think not; her name doesn't start with a G, for one thing. My hunch is that she's a harpy. She has the right name for it, and it's about time MLP gave us a bit more Greek mythology. Could she be another of the "good pirates"?

Queen Novo (Uzo Aduba)
Another seapony, presumably, and one with a design that doesn't look entirely dissimilar to Celestia's. Wild long shot: the blurb (only) of Under the Sparkling Sea mentions an interspecies "Cosmic Council" on which Celestia sits with the sealion King Leo. I've always been intrigued by it, but nothing's ever been made of it. Will that finally change?

Grubber (Michael Peña)
Oh my. This guy is clearly the Storm King's hench...something, given the logo on his chest. A honey badger, maybe? What he actually looks like, though, is something rejected for a Sonic the Hedgehog game for being too silly. Seeing this next to Twilight or somepony is going to be a moment and a half.

So... right now, I have very mixed feelings. I'm delighted we'll finally get ponies on the big screen for more than a few minutes, and I'll certainly go to see the film in the cinema. Several of the characters intrigue me, too. On the downside, other characters seem very iffy, and there seem to be way too many guest stars for a single film.

I hope my worries turn out to be unnecessary; I do bear in mind the fact that I detested the first glimpses we got of Equestria Girls and ended up moderately enjoying the series. I think the arrival of an actual trailer – a proper one, not some stupid three-second "teaser glimpse" – will tell us a lot more about whether this film is going to work.

Edit: Some of the above is now slightly outdated thanks to the toy reveals; for example, it's now pretty certain that Skystar is a seapony. But I'm too lazy to retype everything. :P I also see from MLP Merch that "Spike the Pufferfish" is a thing. Poor guy, first a dog and now this.


  1. If you'd asked me five or four years ago, my response to the question "Would you like a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic movie?" would have been a resounding "YES".

    If you'd asked me three or two years ago, I'd have said "OK, so long as they're not humans or some gimmick like that".

    If you'd asked me one year ago, I'd have said "Er..."

    If you ask me now? "Give me a very good reason to see it. I mean a GOOD one. Otherwise, I'm ignoring it."

    I'm not even particularly put off by the new designs, though I am convinced there are going to be some poor decisions made somewhere in the movie. (And that plotline as it stands is as cookie-cutter generic as they get).

    What saddens me more is that I don't feel strongly about it at all. That bothers me because even as the TV show tends towards diminishing returns, I can still at least feel good about roughly a third of the episodes, the buried gems I can always dig out.

    A grand movie fit for the show I came to admire would be an awesome thing, but given what's happening to the show itself, I doubt this is that movie.

    1. Clarification: That's at least a third of the episodes of the last season, not a third of the entire series. Previous seasons had much higher ratios, except arguably the third one, so the average ratio would be much higher.

    2. It would appear that I'm considerably cheerier about the state of the series itself than you are,* and I'll go to see the film even if it's terrible as it's almost certain to be with friends. I enjoyed seeing the EqG movies that way, after all. But I don't think I'm going to set my expectations all that high. I'm expecting something about on the level of the first EqG film. Now, if that then leads to a second film which is as fun as Rainbow Rocks, it'll all be worth it. But that's just waving in the dark at this point.

      * S5 rivals S2 as my favourite series of the lot, and if the finale hadn't messed up at the end it might even be top. S6 was undeniably poorer and had too many episodes I shrugged at, but I mostly found even those decently watchable. "Newbie Dash", for example, is an episode I wish had been more special but don't consider a dead loss.

    3. For "favourite series", read "favourite season". Blasted Americans and their American... things. :P

    4. Heh, perhaps you're right. Rereading my opening comment, it seems far more petulant than I'd intended, though I wouldn't retract my overall claim. I could be persuaded to see the movie. It'd just be harder now than it would've been before most of the, uh, controversial directions of the later seasons.

      I mean, if it turns out to be on par with my favourite episodes of Season Six, then I'll be all for it.

  2. I hope this movie can come to my country :(, i dont want to wait for DVD version.

  3. I'm okay with all the designs except for Capper's. His look is jarringly inconsistent with the rest of the characters. Personally, I hate smarm-brow, ain't-I-so-cool cliché characters, so that's another strike against him. Tempest Shadow (Co-incidentally, the same name as a black stripper I once knew.) is a big step toward the dreaded black-and-red alicorn, but given how much MLP has to soften characters for its target audience, I'm cautiously optimistic.

    But then, I liked most of Season 6, so I am an outlier, I guess.

  4. Most of the villains/new characters look good, but Grubber looks like he belongs in Lilo and Stitch, maybe he's Experiment #627...:P

    I've heard the Mane Six might become Seaponies themselves in this film, which I find exciting. I wouldn't have called the kingdom "Seaquestria" though, I would have used the Aquastria name from that "Under the Sparkling Sea" book.

    From what I've found out with merchandise (which looks good), sadly Aurora and Funrise aren't making plushies anymore, which sucks as I've been wanting to get plushies of those.

    1. Correct -- Hasbro are taking more and more of the merch manufacturing in-house, so they'll mostly be doing their own plushies. (I think Ty are carrying on, though.)

  5. I see.

    That's good, I've only got 4 Mane Six Ty plushies, so I want to complete the six and get the Princesses. Today I just got some cuddly plushies of Twilight, Pinkie and Fluttershy (my three favorite though I love them all), this is what the Twilight one looks like: