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Friday, December 27, 2013

DVD Review: My Little Pony: Classic Movie Collection

My Little Pony: Classic Movie Collection is a two-disc set containing four My Little Pony specials: The Princess Promenade, Dancing In The Clouds, The Runaway Rainbow and Friends Are Never Far Away. These four movies were from the time before the series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic first aired. And though they have some familiar characters – Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Spike and Rarity – they are quite different from how they appear and sound in the series. Rainbow Dash is a more prim and proper type, often saying, “Darling.” In fact, she’s much more like the series’ Rarity. What is interesting is that some of the same voice actors from the show do different voices in these specials. For example, Andrea Libman provides the voice of Zipzee, not Pinkie Pie. These four movies are aimed at a decidedly younger audience. As with the show, there are several musical numbers.

The Princess Promenade (2005)

The first film, The Princess Promenade, opens with a musical number. Tiny Pegasus horses, called Breezies, sing lines like “Here nothing can go wrong.” It is spring, and spirits are high because it’s time to travel to Ponyville. Meanwhile in Ponyville, ponies are getting ready for the Spring Parade. There is a song about gardening and friendship. Wysteria (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain) and Pinkie Pie (voiced here by Janyse Jaud) try to deal with a giant weed, but end up in an underground lair where they discover a rare flower and a tiny dragon named Spike (voiced here by Brian Drummond) who has been asleep a long time. Spike is quite a different character than in the series, and has a distinct odor. They ask him, “Have you ever had a bath?” Spike replies: “Can’t say I have, but it sounds delightful. What is it?” There is then a song about bathing Spike, though really it’s about inner beauty.

Because Wysteria touched the flower in the cavern, she is the new princess of Ponyville, and Spike must protect her and teach her how to be a princess. Minty calls Wysteria “Your highnessness,” taking a bit from Han Solo. There is a song about royalty, as Spike teaches Wysteria that a princess has subjects, not friends. But of course by the end there is a song about everyone being a princess.

Dancing In The Clouds  (2004)

Dancing In The Clouds begins with ponies outside playing. Sky Wishes says, “I’m just wishing for something to wish for,” while Twinkle Twirl (Chiara Zanni) is looking for an idea for the friendship dance that night. They go on a roller coaster, which gives them the idea of the dancing in the clouds theme. Twinkle Twirl teaches other ponies the new dance. Meanwhile Sky Wishes (Saffron Henderson) meets Star Catcher (Lenore Zann), a Pegasus pony who grants her wish to be able to help Twinkle Twirl with the dance. As always, this special is about friendship, with Star Catcher saying, “The extra, extra special wishes are the ones made for friends.”

This one is strictly for the very young, and is by far my least favorite of the collection. Nothing much happens, and there is little charm. And it has lines like, “Notice I am pointing my toes as I go, ‘Wee!’”

The Runaway Rainbow  (2006)

The Runaway Rainbow is my favorite of this collection. It has all of the charm of series, a good plot, and some funny lines (like when Minty says, “My tummy was thinking too much”). Rainbow Dash (voiced by Venus Terzo) and the rest of the ponies are excited because it’s the time of the year to celebrate rainbows. Meanwhile, in Unicornia, the unicorns are also excited for the annual Princess Rainbow ceremony. In this special, Rarity (voiced by Cathy Weseluck, who does the voice of Spike in Friendship Is Magic) is a young pink unicorn who has been selected to be this year’s rainbow princess, and so has to learn what it means to be a princess. (And yes, that was part of the plot of The Princess Promenade too, but so what?) Four unicorns, including Rarity, have to make the first rainbow of the season.

But Rarity plays with the magic wand and disappears, landing in Breezie Blossom. The Breezies are on their way to Ponyville to celebrate rainbows, so Rarity goes along with them. The unicorns search for Rarity, because if she isn’t found, there won’t be any rainbows this year. So it’s in everyone’s best interest to get Rarity back to Unicornia. The ponies take Rarity to meet Spike because he can help her find her way home.

There are several musical numbers, including one in which Rarity sings, “Basically I just want to have fun,” which kids (and adults) will relate to.

Friends Are Never Far Away (2004)

Friends Are Never Far Away is a special about making new friends and trying new things. Sky Wishes wants the other ponies to be able to meet her friend Star Catcher and the other flying ponies. But Star Catcher says Pegasus ponies are shy. Sky Wishes’ solution is to throw a big party in Ponyville and invite all of the Pegasus ponies. She says, “We’ll sprinkle glitter and sparkles everywhere.” Oh boy. Yeah, this is another that is aimed at very young girls. One thing of interest to fans of Friendship Is Magic is that it is Rainbow Dash that expresses skepticism at the idea of ponies that can fly.

Special Features

The first disc contains two sing-alongs, both of which are from The Princess Promenade: “Breezie Blossom” and “A Princess Is Back In Town.” The second disc has no special features.

My Little Pony: Classic Movie Collection is scheduled to be released on January 21, 2014 through Shout! Factory.

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