I’m a child of the 80’s. I grew up with Rainbow Brite and She-Ra and, of course, My Little Pony. I also really enjoy kids’ movies in general, so I consider myself a pretty solid authority on the subject.
So, when I say My Little Pony: The Next Generation (now available on Netflix) is top-notch, I think you should believe me. Although you are totally entitled to your own opinions on the matter – I just so happen to think mine is the correct one, ha!
Our ponies have always been magical, with their most powerful magic being the gift of friendship and teamwork. A world without magic ponies is unimaginable. But it has happened! Not only have the ponies lost their magic, Unicorns, Pegasi, and Earth Ponies live isolated from and in fear of each other. Gone are the days of the Friendship is Magic crew of Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Applejack. But Earth pony Sunny (voiced by Vanessa Hudgens) refuses to buy into the stereotypes and clings to the stories from her father that there was a time when all of the ponies lived in magical harmony, surrounded by friendship.
So, when an unexpected Unicorn visitor, Izzy (voiced by Kimiko Glenn), cheerfully prances into Sunny’s life, they set off to uncover the truth and restore magic to all of the ponies.
This movie is absolutely delightful. The animation is engaging and with a voice cast includes the talents of James Marsden, Sofia Carson, Jane Krakoswki, Ken Jeong, and as previously mentioned Vanessa Hudgens and Kimiko Glenn, the “acting” is on-point.
But it’s the story that is the heart and soul of this movie. Granted themes like stereotypes and fear and living divided aren’t anything new, but I always appreciate when films geared toward children really make universal struggles accessible. And this film delivers on that and then some. Sunny is often ridiculed and ostracized for her conviction that Unicorns and Pegasi aren’t evil, but she doesn’t budge on her hope for reconciliation. And what begins as two new friends on the same mission becomes a movement that will impact everyone.
I am often discouraged these days that there is nothing I can do to impart change. I am one person. Most of the time it’s overwhelming to even try because disappointment looms. But I recently had a conversation with a friend that reminded me that we can take one step to impact the person next to us. We may set out to change the world and everyone’s minds, but it only takes connecting to one other person before a third, and then a fourth, and then a fifth hop on board. And before we know it, change is blooming. Relationships are formed on acceptance and understanding. Lives are changed and communities are built.
Reconciliation is hard work. For Sunny and her new friends, they have to challenge generations of fear and prejudice while facing on of their own who rises into power by latching onto fear and weaponizing it. Again, it’s not a new story and probably more timely than ever.
But if we don’t keep seeking out ways to tell this story, we’ll find ourselves in the same place we’ve been in for generations – stuck in fear of the other, compelled only by self preservation, and completely lost to the beauty that is accepting someone for who they actually are instead of who we fear them to be.
My Little Pony has always stood for friendship. This movie stays true to that while also speaking into the moment we are living in now. Will we choose to stay stuck? Or will we take a lesson from our pony friends and step into a bright new future built on the magic of hope? For me, My Little Pony: The Next Generation compels me to dwell in the truth that even the smallest act of hope can change the world, one friend at a time.
My Little Pony: The Next Generation is now available on Netflix.