For the third year in a row, the mad geniuses behind Friendship is Magic has brought us a movie based on what might be one of the dumbest and cynical ideas that you could come up with for a spinoff of a fantasy series. If you think about it, this is the same crazy idea that led to awful movies like Highlander 2: The Quickening, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, and Masters of the Universe. Somehow though, despite all that was working against them, the team that made colorful horses into a cross generational smash hit managed to make Equestria Girls into a quality and meaningful extension of the series. Neither of the previous films were perfect, but they managed to be a lot of fun and at brought a bit of variety to the franchise which is more than I think anyone was expecting. Now they’re back with the third movie which looks to go even more in depth with the parallel universe gimmick by making the Twilight Spark of this universe the focus of this outing. Will they be able to knock it out the park again with this movie, or have they gone as far as they can with this secondary series? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with everyone running frantically to school to face whatever new threat has befallen them this time. Oh no wait, Rainbow Dash just needs a new guitar string. Well, to SOME people that would be an emergency (mainly Rainbow Dash). Oh well, at least there’s absolutely NOTHING strange going on at this school for once and everyone can… wait who’s that?
Sunset chases off the creeper in a hoody and sunglasses that’s getting WAY too close to the portal, but doesn’t manage to find out who they are because they hop on a bus. Who is this mysterious snoop carrying around a science doohickey and why does it look like a P.K.E meter!? Well I’m not sure about the latter, but the answer to the former is that this is the Twilight Sparkle of this universe who you’d know has been researching the strange phenomena happening at this school if you had sat through the credits of Rainbow Rocks. Her investigation now seems to include waving scientific doodads at statues and also getting chased by for looking suspicious. Twilight Sparkle: ACTION SCIENTIST! Anyway, she heads back to her private school which is SO RICH that it can afford to accent all their walls with CRYSTALS!! Wait; are crystals and gems as plentiful in this world as they are in Equestria? Is it a safe alternative to asbestos for fireproofing the school? Well when she gets back there, she runs straight to her conspiracy theory room (because all schools have a conspiracy theory room) which leads us straight into the opening credits. Oh boy. So apparently their frame of reference for this opening was… I don’t know, Justice League Crisis on Two Earths? The Chipmunk Adventure? I ask this because the opening shows us that each one of the Mane 6 has a double from Twilight’s school that I guess will be their evil counterparts because their all glaring at each other and practically shaking their fists.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet but so far this movie is absolutely BONKERS! We’re only five minutes in and already this thing is a riot! You want more proof? They show that the principal of the other school is named Abacus Cinch who I’m guessing is named after the iconic character from To Kill a Mocking Bird because Atticus is the only name they could think of that rhymed with Abacus. That, or we’re about to get a fantastic Jimmy Stewart impression! Oh I can’t wait to find out if that’s the case! After the opening (which ends with the Mane 6 leaping at the screen like super heroes), we cut to Twilight doing even more science which leads to her updated the magic sensing P.K.E meter thing to fit inside of a compact mirror that she can carry around a lot more discretely. So does she know she’s looking for magic or are we going to have one of those great moments or realization where a character finds out exactly what’s up and loses their mind? Well we won’t find out just yet because we fade back to Canterlot High where the Mane 6 are investigating what had happened. They figure that because the intruder jumped on a bus heading to the city that she had to have come from Crystal Prep which is a rival school of theirs. Oh, so THAT’S why the school is covered in crystals. That totally makes sense. Anyway, everyone except Sunset thinks that the person was there to deface the statue which seems to be a tradition for Crystal Prep whenever a Friendship Games approaches. What are the Friendship Games? Well other than the title of this movie (and the worst named inter school competition of all time), it’s an event that happens once every four years (why not yearly?) where these two schools face off against each other in a series of events to prove which school is best. Ignoring the fact that this is a rip off of the Triwizard Tournament from Harry Potter (the Biwizard Tournament?), wasn’t this kind of competition the thing the last movie was railing against? Didn’t they have a whole song about it? Why are we back to this formula again? Well I guess we can make exception this time because everyone seems ultra-salty about it (except for Sunset) due to the fact that Canterlot High has never won a single time. Okay… I don’t know why that matters so much. It seems that everyone there (minus Sunset) hates the other school simply because of this, but because it’s every four years it’s not like they were around the last time they got their butts handed to them. Have the faculty been fomenting anger against the prep students so that they can be nice and agitated for the next Friendship Games? Maybe this all comes with all that School Pride stuff they’ve been spreading around since the first movie. Well Rainbow Dash has a trick up her sleeve to make sure they win the upcoming games! What’s her strategy? To give everyone a pep talk about the times they won against magical creatures from another dimension!
Okay, now I have to bring this up. What the hell is this universe’s Twilight (let’s call her Twi-prep) investigating if everyone in the school still knows that they fought against magical threats!? It’s not like the school imposed some sort of gag order under threat of expulsion! Hell, I’m sure that all the details are on the school’s damn Facebook page! HOW IS IT THAT TWI-PREP CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHAT’S GOING ON!? FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, SOME OF THE STUDENTS GROW WINGS ON A REGULAR BASIS!!!
Actually, this is brought up somewhat because Vice-Principal Luna wants to make sure that the girls can keep their powers under wraps during the games so they don’t get accused of cheating. The Mane 6 find it odd that Rainbow Dash was able to get ponified without playing the guitar, so Sunset promises to investigate further… which basically means asking the REAL Twilight (let’s go with Twi-pony) what to do by sending her a message in the magic book. I don’t blame her! It’s not like this universe has a thorough knowledge on magic and its practical applications! Hell, the best person she could talk to about in this universe is Twi-prep considering she’s the only one with actual research on it! Speaking of which, we cut to Crystal Prep where Twi-prep is rattling off exposition in the guise of having a one sided conversation with her dog Spike. Her research (which she still seems to be keeping secret) is what she will use to hopefully get into some independent study program at an even more prestigious school! I don’t know how the new school will take her research on mysterious readings from a random high school, but hopefully they will receptive to studies about magic. One of her only friends at the academy is Cadence (oh hey! She’s in this!) who has her concerns about Twi-prep regressing even further into her own research by not even having to go to classrooms anymore if she gets into the independent studies program but Twi-prep doesn’t seem all that concerned. Cadence also informs her that she’s wanted in the principal’s office so she heads up there and sings the entire way. From what I can gather, Twi-prep is not popular with the other kids at school (how shocking) and is hoping that this independent study program will fill that empty void she feels within her. I’m betting it doesn’t. You know what will? Friendship of course! Well she’ll probably need another forty minutes to figure that out so for now she goes to see the Principal. Not only is Miss Cinch waiting but so is Cadence (why didn’t she escort Twi-prep?) who is a Dean at the school, and her brother Shining Armor who is an alumnus.
The three of them are there to try and convince Twi-prep to join the Friendship Games which seems like a REALLY bad idea for the school considering that Twi-prep is not an athlete! I mean I GUESS the friendship games could include a pop quiz (the exact nature of this competition is a bit vague) but I don’t see why they need her so badly when there are plenty of much more willing students to ask. After giving Cadence and Shining Armor an excuse to leave the room, Principal Cinch (who does NOT sound like Jimmy Stewart) straight up coerces her into joining the competition, promising to approve her independent studies if she joins (and presumably wins) and intentionally sabotaging her if she doesn’t. Yeah… no. Twi-prep should just walk out the room, go straight to Cadence and Shining Armor, tell them what’s up (they’ll definitely believe her) and let them raise all sorts of hell about it. Besides, Twi-prep is too smart to let this terrible awful person dictate her life! You know what? Fuck it. Drop out and make a million dollars selling your magic seeking machine, then use the money to investigate whatever else this cold hearted jerk wad has done in the past to intimidate students. FIGHT THE SYSTEM!! Oh no wait, she decides it would be easier to just go along with the games. WHERE’S KEKKO KAMEN WHEN YOU NEED HER!?
So Twi-prep is now on the team without telling anyone what had just happened (how does she not know the Principal will only escalate her demands because she has no leverage?) and will have to cut back on her investigation since she’ll be competing when she’s at Canterlot High. Her team by the way is filled with nothing but douche bags. What, did the Dazzlings get new crystals or something and just spread discord (heh heh) throughout this school? I don’t even know why they don’t like her that much. She’s clearly the smartest student there so she’ll supposedly be a great addition to the team according to whatever logic Principal Cinch is working from! Is it the point that they suck at teamwork and will learn the error of their ways at this tournament? If so, then how the hell did they win in the past if they don’t know how to work together!?
Once the students gets to Canterlot High, Twi-prep wanders off from the group to use her magic tracking device to find out where these strange readings are coming from, and instantly gets bombarded with Canterlot High students giving her well wishes because she looks just like Twi-pony. She even runs into Flash Sentry who, god bless him, is STILL holding a torch for the pony princess who only occasionally crosses dimensions to visit. What’s he hoping for in this long distance relationship anyway? Does he think their dating? Does TWI-PONY think they’re dating? I don’t know and neither does Flash who once again is befuddled by Twi-pony’s odd behavior (this time because it’s Twi-prep) and is left all alone to twist in the wind.
Twi-prep continues her search for whatever it is that’s making her compact go haywire and gets drawn to the music room where Rarity is fashioning up a storm. So much so that she starts to “pony up” as they put it which should REALLY give them a clue as to where the magic energy has been coming from. Sunset still isn’t getting the hint though and hasn’t heard back from Twi-pony yet, so for now it’s still a mystery. Besides, that’s not even the most important part of the scene. No, what’s REALLY important is that Twi-prep’s magic sensing device also doubles as a SOUL SUCKING TALISMAN FROM THE DEPTHS OF HELL!! Seriously! She makes a magic sensor, but also accidentally programs it to steal the magic from its source!? How do you even make that without realizing it!?
Fortunately, the effects of the device seem minimal in that it only takes the magic and doesn’t have the same effects as Starlight Glimmer’s cutie mark stealing technique or Discord’s corruption spell. She seems to be fine and will just be unable to transform until she gets her magic back. Twi-prep ends up wandering into the room (not all that fazed about having just sucked up some strange gas like substance) and runs into the Mane 6 who greet her thinking that she’s Twi-pony. It doesn’t take long for them to realize this is actually be the Twilight of their world, but before they can clue her in to what’s happening, she gets whisked away by Principal Cinch who’s still taking everything WAY too seriously and firmly believes that everyone at Canterlot High is a rat faced bastard trying to exploit whatever weakness is in Crystal Prep’s ranks. So on top of coercion, she’s fostering paranoia in her students in order to get them all riled up? This is how the freaking NAZIS got started!! Twi-prep doesn’t seem to be buying her crap, but then she’s too meek to hold her own opinion so who knows what she’ll end up doing. Sunset isn’t doing much better because she hasn’t heard back from Twi-pony yet (I’m guessing she’s too busy at Rarity’s shop opening) and doesn’t know what to do. She’s contemplating going back through the portal to Equestria (I’m guess it’s always open now) but unfortunately there’s a dark force lying in wait for her.
Twi-prep’s thing-a-majig of unimaginable horror not only manages to suck up Sunset’s power through solid concrete, but it also manages to seal the portal shut which is unfortunate for everyone, but I REALLY hope they show Twi-pony rushing headlong into the portal on her end only to be quite comically rebuffed. Anyway, we cut from that tragedy to another one. The school is holding a party to greet the Crystal Prep students and everyone is just standing around glaring at each other. CLEARLY this place is in serious need of a party planner! It’s too bad that Cheese Sandwich hasn’t shown up yet (how amazing would it be if they just flashed an album cover with his face on it!?) so we’ll have to settle for Pinkie Pie. She enlists Twi-prep’s help and they’re able to get the kids from both schools to relax and begin to mingle which of course causes Pinkie to “Pony Up”. I bet you can guess what happens next.
Seriously, how many times does Twi-prep’s amulet have to suck up mysterious substances before she thinks to put the damn thing away!? She SOMEHOW misses Pinkie Pie getting deflated, but she DOES notice a brand new side effect. The device can now open portals to another world (I’m guessing it got that ability by sucking up the portal), but the affect can be neutralized by closing the contraption. Oh well THAT’S good. The fate of the multiverse relies on a compact clasp working properly. Isn’t there a Friendship Games or something we should be getting to? Not yet, because Principal Cinch has to stop the party dead (kills the music and turns on the lights), get up on stage, and talk shit to Canterlot High IN THEIR OWN SCHOOL!! For someone who’s SO prim and proper, she has the WORST FUCKING MANNERS!!
Can someone please trip her or something? I’m guessing it wouldn’t take much more than that for her inflated ego to shatter. We cut to the next day where the games are finally about to being and the first leg of the competition is an academic decathlon which seems to imply that Twi-prep would be a good fit, but it’s odd because while the two teams are competing with each other they’re also competing with themselves. Each team is composed of twelve students, and only the top six will move on to the next round. Since Twi-prep is obviously going to win here it means that she’s taking someone out of the tournament who more than likely is better suited for the next round. It’s hardly like she’s absolutely necessary to win this round because all we see her doing is an angle formula!! You’re telling me no one at Crystal Prep could have solved for X!?
Crystal Prep manages to win the first round and the six moving on are the same ones from the opening credits scene that were mean mugging the Mane 6. They’ve occasionally popped up in the movie, but their presence has been so brief and understated that I’m pretty sure that only half of them have names and even fewer have personalities. I wouldn’t mind so much if the opening credits didn’t make such a big deal about it, but it was selling this like a super hero mirror match! Why would they put so much emphasis on an idea that they don’t bother to explore!? But wait! I know what all of you are thinking! Forget about inter-dimensional portals and one dimensional snooty kids! What about Flash Sentry!?
Flash might have been underplayed in the last movie, but he is a glorified cameo at best here. Do they regret putting the guy in these movies? I really don’t have a problem with the dude being a romantic interest for Twi-pony (maybe Twi-prep as well?) and I thought he was pretty spot on in the first one of these. He did stuff, but never once took focus away from Twi-pony and her quest to get the crown back which is exactly the extent to which this character should be utilized. I hope they find something for him to do at some point because now he’s just a joke they trot out every so often. This does bring up an interesting point though. If THIS guy isn’t aware that Twi-prep is not Twi-pony, then I’m guessing the rest of the school doesn’t know either. How exactly are they taking the fact that their Fall Formal Princess from another world is now working against them in this tournament that is clearly important to the entire student body? Anyway, the next event isn’t until tomorrow so Twi-prep has some time to stalk the Mane 6 and find out more about the mysterious reactions her device is having. She’s not all that good at it though, but she is lucky enough to have followed Fluttershy who invites her to spend some time with her and the pets she brought along in her cramped and dark backpack. This act of kindness towards Twi-prep is enough for her to go full pony-saiyan in front of Twi-prep and promptly get her powers sucked away.
Not only that, but the portals come back and dog-spike gets zapped by magic beams or something that gives him the ability to talk. Oh yeah, that makes TOTAL sense! No wait… the magic beams were coming from Fluttershy… and Flutershy can talk to animals… so an animal getting blasted with Fluttershy’s magic would give them the same power? Okay fine, it makes a LITTLE sense. Twi-prep eventually gets her magic trap closed and runs for the hills now that she’s witnessed someone float in midair, has seen multiple portals open up, and finds out her dog has been granted the power of speech. Spike follows after her but Fluttershy cannot because she’s so weakened from the magic sucking. I’m glad to see Twi-prep is willing to let someone suffer for her mistakes instead of helping them! Spike eventually corners Twi-prep and she calms down long enough to see if he’s okay, but still doesn’t have ANY pertinent questions to ask. Shouldn’t she find out what the hell just happened out there? Forget that, she doesn’t even know if Fluttershy (who was being REALLY nice to her) is okay!! This is actually a pretty big problem in the movie because there are lots of running plot threads that could be resolved with a couple simple conversations, but no one seems to want to have them. So far, four of the Mane 6 have gotten their powers stolen. No one confronts Twi-prep in earnest or even seems all that concerned about losing their magic. Twi-prep has seen what her invention can do and just witnessed it suck up some magic powers and open portals. Does she take off the necklace or open it up to observe if the machinery is working correctly? Nope. The problem is that the Friendship Games and all the hoopla surrounding it is what’s at least in part preventing them from getting this resolved sooner, but so far it’s just not interesting enough to justify them focusing on THAT instead of all the magical shenanigans going on. Speaking of shenanigans, Principal Jerk Wad finds Twi-prep in the hall and as expected escalates her demands. NOW Twi-prep is expected to spy on the Mane 6 to find out if they have any secret weapons up their sleeves. I TOTALLY didn’t see THAT coming. Twi-prep agrees with great trepidation and we cut to the Mane 6 whose top priority is NOT chasing down Twi-prep and getting some answers, but to instead prepare for the next round of the Friendship Games because of course they are. What could they possibly do for the next round to make up for detracting from the story line that’s actually interesting? A dance off? Lifting weights? Double Dutch Face Off?
This movie has officially gone in “don’t give a fuck territory” and it is AMAZING! The next round is broken up into three parts; archery, roller skating, and MOTORCROSS!! Your telling me a public school bought custom motorcycles for their underage students to drive!? We don’t even know if they have their driver’s licenses, let alone are qualified to drive a motorcycle! Earlier in the movie, it was made clear that none of the students knew what the events would be ahead of time and on top of that, only six of the initial team members would even make it to this part of the competition. What would happen if none of the students in this round knew how to drive one of these? What the hell is going to happen if one of them ends up in traction!? There’s NO WAY this school wouldn’t be in violation of the terms if it’s insurance policy by pulling a stunt like this!!
The event begins with the archery portion where Twi-prep and the sarcastic one (I still don’t know what heck her name is) playing for Crystal Prep and Fluttershy and Applejack playing for Canterlot High. Things go pretty well for three of them, but guess which one is having trouble?
I’m not blaming her! She shouldn’t have been put in this position in the first place! Was this all worth it to Principal Cinch? Was it worth risking getting fired and getting arrested just to force her on the team!? Twi-prep continues to fail at her leg of the race and everyone is giving her shit about it. No wait, that’s not right. Everyone from CRYSTAL PREP is giving her shit. Can someone tell me how they won this in the past when team work seems to be a big component of it, yet everyone here is a raging ass hat? Hell, maybe they just had SUPER competent people before which would mean that the Principal’s BRILLIANT plan to commit serious maleficence to force Twi-prep into the tournament is what will ultimately lead to her downfall? Good job choosing the ONE PERSON at your school to torment into joining this competition that will definitely be the weak link! Canterlot High is scoring an early lead because of this, but Applejack is sick of the crap that Twi-prep’s getting from her supposed teammates and goes over to help her. With her honest (wink wink) advice, Applejack is able to get Twi-prep to shoot a bullseye which is what she needs to finish her leg of the race. This leads to Applejack getting all ponified and she realizes the error of her ways as Twi-prep (still not aware of what the hell is going on with her own invention) sucks up her magic as well.
Because of this, shit goes CRAZY!!! The device goes haywire and portals start to open, but now bad things are coming out of them. No joke, this movie has motorcycles trying to outrun Audrey Two. Seriously.
You think that’s crazy? Rainbow Dash (after going back to help Sunset because Loyalty) grows out her wings and beats the CRAP out of that giant plant bastard! The entire stadium turning into a battleground which finally gets the attention of Principal Meany Pants, and she certainly DOES NOT approve.
Oh it gets even crazier. THE RACE IS STILL GOING ON!! For real!! Sunset Shimmer gets back on her motorcycle and wins the race against the Crystal Prep student who WASN’T almost eaten by the Equestrian monstrosity! WHAT!? Do you see what I mean when the Friendship Games are completely out of sync with everything else going on!? In what world would this still be a legitimate race instead of a crisis situation!? At least two of the students were nearly eaten by a plant!! Fortunately, Twi-prep is able to close the compact again and therefore close the portals. Finally! Things can get back to normal… NO WAIT!! LOOK OUT RAINBOW DASH!!!
With ALL of the Mane 6 having had their powers sucked out by the horrible device, Sunset Shimmer is absolutely fed up with it and unleashes on Twi-prep. Much deservedly I must say considering that Twi-prep is causing A LOT of issues with that magic absorption necklace and she hasn’t thought to maybe NOT bring it around the people who could be harmed by it. This has happened SIX TIMES, three of which in absolute plain view of the pained expressions on the people faces she’s hurting, and yet hasn’t thought to put her invention somewhere else? Maybe give it to Cadence for safe keeping? She needed to do SOMETHING by this point, but instead has done nothing and it doesn’t make any sense. Twi-prep ends up running off due to Sunset’s yelling which I guess COULD have been handled better but it’s not like she didn’t have it coming. Even if Twi-prep didn’t MEAN to do any of this, she had so many chances to stop it from getting worse. While this is going on, Principal Cinch somehow manages to raise a good point to Principal Celestia that it’s a BIT out of whack that some of the students here can apparently fly. Celestia is standing her ground though and is perfectly happy to let the results of this farce of a race stand which only riles up Mean ol’ Cinch even more and we all know who’s going to get the brunt of that frustration. We immediately cut to the final part of the competition (I’m guessing that whole spying thing is a moot point now) and Cinch finally gets her villain song. I haven’t mentioned it yet, but the songs in this movie aren’t that good especially compared to what we got on the Rainbow Rocks soundtrack. Granted that was a movie ABOUT music, but even the first movie had some songs that were more memorable than the ones here. There’s one about being the best team, and then there’s this song… and that’s all I remember. The one they’re doing right now is just so… standard. At least with the other movies, it went along with the high school theme and focused on big and bombastic cheer anthems. This is just Poor Unfortunate Souls only with a much more subdued beat and a villain that’s far less compelling.
Here’s the thing though. Despite the lackluster song, this is the perfect way to kick off the finale. You really do get the turmoil that Twi-prep is facing, what with the pressure she’s under to appease the monster disguised as a school principal and her own genuine curiosity about the power she has been able to collect. The animation has been solid across the board, but Twi-prep’s facial expressions are spot on throughout and show the depth of emotions that are going through her due to the circumstances she’s forced into. If they had done a better job of getting to this point, this would be a much more poignant moment as she gives into her own personal desires (both in terms of what she can gain and what she could lose). Unsurprisingly, she gives into her temptation and is immediately punished for it.
Did I say punished? I meant REWARDED!! She turns into… Maleficent crossed with a fairy? I don’t know, but it’s AWESOME!!!!
Twi-prep’s new found magical power goes straight to her head and she starts opening portals all over the freaking place to the point that I guess it starts to tear away at the fabric of reality. Since Dr. Who isn’t nearby to fix this (neither is Dr. Whooves) it’s up to the powerless Mane 6 to take care of it! No wait, most of them are trying to climb out of a tear in the space time continuum. Okay… plan B! Since Sunset Shimmer is the only one currently not about to fall to their death, her plan is to fight fire with fire by taking Twi-prep’s necklace (which has since been discarded) and does… something with it. She points the necklace at each of the Mane 6 who are slowly getting out of their predicament (with the help of their Crystal Prep sorta-counterparts because apparently THAT was a subplot that needed resolving) and then they start to glow with magic. I can’t tell if the Mane 6 are getting their magic back for some reason or if the necklace is giving it back to them. The necklace isn’t opening up or reacting in a way that indicates magic is being given or taken, so I guess they’re getting their powers back organically? But then if the device is sensing magic again, why isn’t it absorbing it? I don’t know but Sunset Shimmer seems to, and starts to give Twi-prep a speech about absolute power corrupting absolutely or something. They’re trying to make this a parallel to Sunset’s own fall from grace in the first movie, but I don’t really buy it here because Twi-prep’s arc isn’t even close to Sunset’s. I guess she COULD be going down the road to evil what with her being constantly used and put upon by those around her, but the snap to super villainy doesn’t feel all that convincing considering she’s never shown even a small tendency towards being mean to others or even selfish beyond a very reasonable extent. The only other thing I can think of is that the power ITSELF is corrupting, but then it’s also made up of the elements of harmony, so why is it making her evil? Again, if they had spent a little more time with her character (maybe she acts out in private once to vent her frustration) then this villainous turn wouldn’t feel so out of the blue, but they didn’t so we have to make sense of what they’re giving us. Well whatever is causing this new super badass Twi-prep to be all “FEEL MY VENGENANCE” about everything; it unfortunately has to come to an end. Personally, I’d like to see her cause some SERIOUS damage, especially to that Principal who scampered off like a total Jabroni. Oh well. Sunset Shimmer throws the necklace thingy down like a fucking smoke bomb which causes it to erupt in even MORE magic (didn’t all of it get sucked up by Twi-prep?) and turns her into Paragon Shimmer. Wait, seriously!?
They’re completely fucking serious here! Sunset closes up the rifts, and the two of the m get into a straight up Dragon Ball Z, Goku vs Vegeta, throw down, free for all, energy blasting, slugfest of the GODS!!! Okay, maybe it’s not THAT crazy (the Tirek fight had more going on than this one does) but in the context of THIS world where magic is really freaking rare and we spend most of our time worrying about an interschool competition, this over the top confrontation definitely gives the ending a real punch. The fact that they’re even using something like Dragon Ball Z (or Shounen anime in general) as a reference point for the big climax in a movie called FRIENDSHIP GAMES means that they are doing something right!
Things don’t look good for Sunset, but then Spike starts pleading for Twi-prep to stop the madness which distracts her long enough to get completely obliterated by Sunset’s blast. Not really, though I’m not sure exactly what’s happening now. Both Sunset and Twi-prep are in some sort of void place (it looks kind of like that mystical train station thingy in the last Harry Potter movie where Harry talks with the very much dead Dumbledore) and Sunset reaches out to Twi-prep one more time. She finally accepts Sunset’s friendship I guess and then they both come out of the void as their old selves. It looks like everything can finally get back to normal! Oh no wait, Principal Jerk Face decides to crawl out of whatever rock she was hiding under (I wish she’d stay there) and DEMANDS that Canterlot High forfeit the Friendship Games or else she’ll start blabbing about the magic and the portals and the friendship and the uncouthness of it all! Everyone just laughs it off of course because this raving harridan, who has already lost the respect of everyone here, isn’t actually about to go to the school board with a story about magical half pony students and their talking dog.
Not good enough. She needs more than just bare minimum ridicule. Can we at least get a pie to the face? Oh well, at least NOW things can finally get back to normal. The Mane 6 have their powers back, the portal has been restored, and Twi-prep has even decided to transfer to Canterlot High instead of applying for that independent study program! Wait a minute… aren’t we forgetting something? Oh right! Where the hell is Twi-pony!?!?
This movie was a fucking blast, but it’s just oddly put together with so many of the elements not working in conjunction with each other. Maybe the fact that they’re fighting against humans rather than threats from Equestria has something to do with it, but it’s just strange how everyone here seems pretty calm about magic and some of the other out there moments. It’s one thing when we have fantastical aspect in the land of Equestria which has been painstakingly crafted so that they all work together, but this is supposed to be the real world to a certain extent and the people inhabiting it just act strangely. They didn’t just pick a high school as the setting for this spin off series for no reason. The idea is that by setting it in such a familiar location (either through real life experience or popular culture) that they don’t HAVE to do all the world building they did in Equestria which saves time to develop the characters and situations instead. This however comes with a cost which is that it’s easier to break the rules when you expect each person to fill them in for themselves, and breaking said rules can confuse the audience and make them question what can and cannot be taken for granted. I for instance took it for granted that the schools in this world DIDN’T put their students behind the wheels of dangerous motorized vehicles on an obstacle course. Now I don’t know WHAT to think! That problem though isn’t the biggest one this movie has, and admittedly the wackiness of some of the scenes was directly responsible for me enjoying this so much. As you can probably guess, the biggest problem in this movie is Principal Abacus Cinch. It’d be one thing if her clichés made her silly or over the top but instead the movie makes her an intolerable and poorly written character which is a problem because, as the villain, the conflicts in the story have to revolve around her actions to a certain extent which are completely inexplicable. She’s also completely overshadowed by the fact that PLANT MONSTERS AND VORTEXES TO ANOTHER DIMENSION keep popping up all over the place, so (like the titular Friendship Games) she doesn’t feel as important as her role in the movie suggests she should be.
Speaking of unimportant roles, Shining armor and Cadence don’t have much to do in here so their parts feel more like shameless cameos than anything else. If there’s just one scene where Twi-prep went to Shining Armor or Cadence and told them what happened but they didn’t believe her (or even if Twi-prep was going to tell them but had reason to believe they wouldn’t believe her), it would have not only help give those two characters something to do and a reason to be here but would also help at least give the villain some legitimate menace. Her plan wouldn’t be any smarter but at least we can believe that she might get away with it which would put Twi-prep in a legitimately tough spot. On top of that, the supposed counterparts to the Mane 6 are woefully underdeveloped and don’t have any lasting impact. I doubt we’ll ever see them again in future movies and I certainly won’t be missing the sarcastic girl, the literal girl, and… the headphones girl? I think that one of them.
Anything else I need to rant about because this review isn’t long enough already? Well it seems that they kind of had Sunset Shimmer fall backwards into the role she had in the previous film which is a bit disappointing because I thought she’d gotten past her self-deprecation issues already. She spends most of the movie complaining about how incompetent she is while she misses all the important details which are right in front of her. That would be fine, except we already saw this and it doesn’t sell as well the second time around. At least she has an arc though because the rest of the Mane 6 really don’t have any conflicts of their own to work through. Going back to one of the other problems in this movie, this might have been improved somewhat if they took the time to establish an actual rivalry between them and the already underdeveloped competitors from Crystal prep which is VERY HEAVILY implied to be the focus of the film in the opening credits yet it never really materializes. Still, I really did like this movie and it comes down to two major elements. Twi-prep is a very interesting character (even if she doesn’t act on the things she learns throughout the film) and the magical elements are a whole lot of fun (even if no one has a realistic reaction to them which deflates some of its impact). Twi-prep just learning about magic would have been enough to carry this film and I hope that the next movie not only explores how her smarts can be used for good, but also the new dynamics that will created with her now being part of the Mane 6; or maybe Mane 7 now? In particular, I’m curious to see how Sunset will adjust to being in the leadership role now that she has her own naïve Twilight to mold in her image.
In the end, this movie more than the other two feels like it’s straining to fit everything they want into a single seventy minute feature. Considering how successful the spinoffs have been so far and the fact that they didn’t even bother to put this one in theaters, would it be all that unreasonable for them to move from full(ish) length features to a mini-series? I think that’s probably the step to going to have to take for any future installments unless they decide to pull back in the next one or just keep moving forward with shoving too much into such a short amount of time. I haven’t heard anything yet about the future of Equestria Girls, but whatever they decide to do can’t come soon enough!
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