We’re living in a pretty messy time. Through the alienation of the modern world we can’t help but question the limits of our good-natured selves. The Paddington films see this and suggest something extremely simple but bold: If we’re kind and polite, the world will be right. There’s plenty of stories that tell people to be good to others, but few capture the amazing power of kindness like the Paddington films do.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was special to me. Still is. For six years it’s been one of my post shameful admissions and yet I see no real reason to be ashamed. I like things gosh darn it. I like sincere things that fill me with joy, I like things that are funny and exciting and genuine and touching, I like things that inspire a little goodness in me. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic gave that to me at a time when I needed it most, and no matter where it goes it’ll always be special to me for that.
Sadly My Little Pony: The Movie is a little late to the party (insert hackneyed Pinkie Pie joke here). The once booming curiosity of its adult fandom has dwindled in numbers comapred to the default market of incredibly young and impressionable girls, with the presence of young boys and adults and equally enthused parents at my local premiere only being a footnote. And yet My Little Pony: The Movie still manages to ooze with happiness and love. It takes Lauren Faust’s original adventure-driven concept and elevates it to a scale that I only ever dreamed was possible, leaving me more enthused about My Little Pony than I’ve been in a long time.
For a business as manufactured and suspect as the idol industry we sure do see a lot of well-crafted anime surrounding it. Of all the ones I’ve seen I found The iDOLM@STER to stand above the rest of the pack, bringing together an ensemble of incredibly talented animators to create a work filled with endearing subtlety and tons and tons of engaging vignettes and little narratives. The iDOLM@STER Movie is essentially cut from the same cloth, a continuation of all the little things that made the original series great in an extended feature-length format.
Broadly speaking we tend to see society become a little more open towards different groups over time, and with that comes slowly but surely increasing media representation of them. A cynical way to look at this is that it’s simply because their existence has become profitable, and that’s certainly a very valid way to look at it given the slew of middlebrow oscar bait exploiting historical prejudice and hamfisted tokenism. A more positive way to see it is that media representation gives us a platform to humanise different groups, to become aware of their existence and their validity as individuals. I believe both perspectives can be true at once, and in that sense there needs to be conscious thought about how representation is implemented.
I’ve been to the cinemas twice now to go see ‘Big Hero 6’. It certainly pales in comparison to the aforementioned 11 times I saw ‘Wreck-it Ralph’ in cinemas as I mentioned in my last post, and doesn’t quite measure up to the 3 times I saw ‘Frozen’, but it’s a good sign for any movie when I’m willing to see it more than once. Right off the bat I’ll say that it wasn’t as compelling for me as either of Disney’s previous animated releases. I don’t hesitate when I say that it’s a great movie though. Big Hero 6, in a lot of ways, is more a product of this current age of western animation than any major Disney releases these past few years, however in some ways it turns out not to be quite the product of the current age that it perhaps intends to be.
So here we are again with the second installment in the My Little Pony Equestria Girls franchise. I went into this a different person to the person Iwas when I saw the first film. I was just barely 6 months from cutting off my rocky relationship with the Brony fandom almost entirely, and coupled with the slightly underwhelming feeling I had watching the third season of the series first time around I was at my nadir of enthusiasm for MLP: FiM. I went in with the expectation of a mediocre to average experience and had a mediocre to average experience. Though I was excited to see the franchise get its own movie, it wasn’t quite the way I wanted it to be. Though fairly enjoyable all in all, it was much more a sidestep than a step up, and even managed to pale in comparison to the series’ two parters in terms of ambition.