Equestria Girls: Legend of Everfree and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Hasbro
Directed by Ishi Rudell
Well what do we have here? It looks like another Spin-Offs Are Magic movie has been graciously provided by Hasbro who’s always looking to find new ways to milk it’s biggest cash cow that isn’t being helmed by Michael Bay! Now what’s interesting about this Equestria Girls movie though is that we’ve finally established Human Twilight as an entity in this world and is now a part of our parallel universe crew which, coincidentally (or not so coincidentally) now has seven members at about the same time as Pony Twilight got a new member for her team! It also means that this franchise doesn’t have tie itself to the school to accommodate Pony Twilight who still needs to enter in and out of this dimension through the statue portal thingy which gives this a chance to stand on its own as an independent world rather than an extension of Equestria. Does this series manage to throw off the shackles of its spin-off roots in spectacular fashion, or will removing the training wheels only lead to pain and an uncertain future for these characters? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Human Twilight who is tossing and turning in her sleep from some sort of nightmare, and while we don’t get a glimpse of what she’s dreaming about, we DO at least get a glimpse of her room which has some interesting details all on its own.
Well the good news is that she manages to wake up from her unsteady sleep once her friends arrive to pick her up. The bad news however is that she overslept and is about to miss the bus for the school’s trip to Camp Everfree! OH NO!! Not only that, but she also forgot to pack last night which means they have to do it at lightning speed, which means they are one musical cue from a Benny Hill sketch, but the shenanigan fueled revelry comes to an abrupt end as they’re visited by an unwelcome guest. SURPRISE! It’s EVIL Twilight from the last movie! WE’RE STILL IN THE DREAM! Good thing to, because this is getting PRETTY grim…
Human Twilight wakes up from the dream right before EVIL Twilight (who for some reason is being referred to as Midnight Twilight even though she wasn’t given a name in the last movie) rips out her heart or whatever, and we find out that she’s already on the bus headed for Camp Everfree! Sure, she may have just screamed out in terror in front of all her friends and classmates, but hey! At least she didn’t miss the bus! Actually, no one really seemed to notice her outburst; not even her friends who at best give a perfunctory “you okay bro?” before going back to their business. Sunset Shimmer seems like she’s going to say something but ultimately doesn’t which I’m SURE won’t bite her in the ass later when Human Twilight has another bout of PTSD at the campsite. Speaking of which, there’s not much explanation for this trip other than its being handled by the school, and that Celestia and Luna seem to be the only teachers around. It’s clearly not just for the afternoon, which makes me think this is a summer camp, but to schools usually do that? Speaking of Celestia and Luna…
From there we get the first song of the movie which is an anthem for Camp Everfree which these happy campers are heading to. Now I would have gone with the theme from The Legend of Boggy Creek, but then again I’m guessing some of the target audience’s PARENTS weren’t even alive when that came out. It just ends up sounding like all the other Equestria Girls songs (stomps, claps, oohs, ahhs, and harmonies) and by the fourth movie of that, it just feels perfunctory rather than inspired. The group arrives at the camp just as the song ends and everyone seems to be ready to take a vacation from all the wackiness that has been interfering with their daily lives which includes demon monsters fueled by Pony Magic. Gee… I wonder who was responsible for that!
From there we meet the two super cheery camp counselors who are far too enthusiastic for them to NOT be up to something sinister! The dude bro assistant named Timber Spruce seems like he uses this place to bag teenager girls every summer (Human Twilight certainly seems willing to volunteer as she’s smitten with him already), but his sister Gloriosa Daisy who runs the camp certainly has at least thirty bodies hidden out in the woods or sunk to the bottom of the lake (and I will henceforth refer to as Imperator Gloriosa). I’m less terrified of Angela Baker than I am of this hippie! There I go again… making references no one will get…
Anyway, Imperator Gloriosa assures everyone that this is gonna be the best week ever and that they’ll do everything that everyone wants to do; Except of course hiking near the rock quarry. FORESHADOWING!! The only real point of this scene (other than the rock quarry line that’s about as subtle as a baseball bat to the head) is that Rarity wants to have a fashion show by the end of the week which means that that will probably be the climactic ending we’ll be working towards. In the meantime, they all first need to be assigned a tent and meet up with their bunk mates. Oh look! Human Twilight and Sunset Shimmer are together! Who would have guessed!? Okay, so maybe THAT was a bit predictable, but what I wasn’t expecting is for this to turn into a SAVE THE REC CENTER movie as Filthy Rich rides up a fucking limo (those dirt roads must have been hell on its shocks) and lets EVERYONE know that he’s planning on snatching the land away. Well… he doesn’t come right out and say it, but what the hell else would he be doing there?
After peacocking up on a… teenager I think? Seriously, how old is she supposed to be? Well after whipping it out and measuring it, Filthy Rich heads back to his limo and drives off; presumably flipping them all off as he passes through. Imperator Gloriosa puts on a brave face and instructs everyone to ignore what just happened, and I’m guessing they take this command seriously as I’m sure they’re as terrified of her as I am. Human Twilight and Sunset Shimmer are unpacking their things when the latter tries to bring up the former’s night terrors which she isn’t too keen to talk about. Unfortunately for her, the issue is kind of unavoidable as shit starts levitating in their tent; a development that, for some reason, she doesn’t find totally awesome.
Since we’re on the topic, I’m not a big fan of how Sunset Shimmer is portrayed in here as it seems that all her flaws have been sandblasted off of her so that she can be The Good GirlTM, and she has no interesting characteristics left. The most we get out of her is that she’s interested in the magic that Human Twilight is tossing around, but it’s not really amounting to anything interesting like maybe she’s jealous of her powers. Hell, maybe the series doesn’t even remember that she was once one of the most powerful magic users in Equestria before being booted to the human world which to ME would have translated to her having a sense of swagger or confidence in trying to help Human Twilight. Instead, she comes off more like a guidance counselor and doesn’t even help Human Twilight out that much who’s CLEARLY dealing with some insecurities and outright fear about what she’s able to do! Instead, she promises to keep quiet about it at Human Twilight’s behest which I’m sure is a decision that won’t eventually bite both of them in the ass. Oh well. I’m sure Sunset has her own problems to deal with, such as her sudden ability to read people’s minds by touching them.
Oh, okay. On top of making an homage to Friday the 13th Part 8 due to Twilight having telekinetic powers, we’re just gonna throw in The Dead Zone for good measure! Give it ten more minutes, and this will turn into Firestarter with Rarity setting the whole place ablaze due to her boots getting smudged! So for whatever reason, Sunset seems to be able to hear sporadic thoughts but doesn’t quite realize that’s what’s going on (she just assumes she heard them say something)which I guess means that this subplot will be put back burner while we go back to Summer Camp Shenanigans! First up is Flash Sentry who they’ve officially run out of ideas for and is basically just here this time to get his hopes and dreams crushed once and for all so we can completely ignore him in future movies. He seems to be crushing on Human Twilight hard right now which is a non-starter because she’s obviously into Timber Spruce and doesn’t even know this other guy who’s really interested in someone else. Sunset, who doesn’t need to read minds to see what’s up, takes him aside and tells him he’s shit out of luck with both Twilight the Horse and Twilight the Human. Tough break bro.
This is just sad. I genuinely liked how non-intrusive the guy was to Pony Twilight’s quest in the original movie, but now he just comes across as a walking joke to be mocked and rejected, even if t is KINDA funny to see this guy who was supposed to be badass and cool (dude plays electric guitar!) turn into… well this. Who knows? Maybe he’ll have a heroic moment at the end of this and find love with a girl who isn’t either a horse or a magic powered doppelganger of a horse. Then again, everyone in here is a horse doppelganger and a lot of those horses DO have magic. Eh, whatever. I’m SURE all that will explained in the next dozen or so Equestria Girls movies. For NOW, we’re moving on to the next big crisis which is that the camp’s pier is literally falling to pieces at the slightest touch.
Under threat of not being able to do stuff on the lake (can’t they just use the shore to dock their canoes?) Applejack comes up with a brilliant idea. You see, Camp Everfree has this tradition where the group that comes through that summer makes something that will be of use to future campers, such as gazebos, totem poles, and even a sun dial that Luna and Celestia made when they were there. Clearly a dock will be very useful (and Rarity can use it as a runway for that fashion show no one but her cares about) so they tear down the collapsing one (off screen of course) and begin working on making a new one, despite the protestations of Timber Spruce who’s well aware that there’s probably not going to BE a next year. They seem to get the pier pretty much done in an afternoon though, so I guess it’s not that big of a deal even if it gets torn down in a few months (they still haven’t come out and said what Filthy Rich’s plans are considering he’s only made the one appearance) and the group heads to the campfire just as night begins to fall to have s’mores and tell scary stories.
Okay, so Rarity’s story turned out to be a dud (spoiler alert: it was a fashion nightmare), but good ol’ Timber Spruce has one ready to go that’s supposed to be REALLY scary! Back when his and Imperator Gloriosa’s grandparents first moved out here to set up the camp, strange things started to happen! What strange things? Um… some fast growing plants (and not even the grabby kind) and a tree fell over. Okay… and all this terror was the work of Gaia Everfree! THE GUARDIAN OF THE FOREST and what I can only assume was a Mardi Gras float gone horribly wrong.
So this is the point where the Grandparents get decapitated and their severed heads were tossed in the lake, right? Not quite. Apparently all it took to appease the Goddess of the Forest was some begging as she agrees to let them stay after they do so. Huh. That was easy. I guess they just need to re-up their lease every few generations to keep Gaia from levying strict fines and penalties. Let that be a lesson to you all! Don’t fall behind on your rent, and always kiss the landlords’ ass! The whole point of the story (yes, there was a point to all this) was to let everyone at the camp know that she leaves a trail of glittery dust wherever she goes which will play into the story line soon enough. For now though, the Mane7 (I’m assuming that’s what we’re calling them now) are wondering whether there might be some truth to that story and if they’ll have to cut their vacation short to deal with the latest magical monstrosity (more than likely from Equestria) that’s been fucking with their lives. Boy, isn’t magic just THE WORST!?
Things don’t get any better for Human Twilight as she continues to have bad dreams (no doubt worsened by her friends’ comments) and Sunset gets a front row seat to all of this which only shows that she needs to talk about it. Human Twilight says no, and the issue is dropped. Sigh… You’d think that after two straight nights of horrible dreams followed by bouts of telekinesis that Sunset would be a TAD bit more insistent! I don’t remember Charles Xavier backing down whenever Jean Grey was turning into The Phoenix! Speaking of uncontrollable powers of death and destruction, it’s the next morning and there’s some weird boating accident where one of the sailboats crashes into the newly constructed pier for no reason. Apparently the wind picked up without warning which is what caused the accident, but Human Twilight and Sunset think this is bullshit and that MAGIC was involved. Where they disagree is the source as Human Twilight thinks she did it because of how much guilt she feels, but Sunset doubts this is the case; not only because Human Twilight’s magic hasn’t shown that level of focus or control yet, but because there’s a clue in the water!
You see!? I TOLD you that sparkly trail stuff was important! Clearly someone wants to convince the campers that Gaia Everfree is haunting this place! BUT WHO!? Well the mystery has to be put on hold for now because while everyone else gets to work fixing the pier, Human Twilight runs off to the woods to have her angst song about how much of a monster she is. It’s got some decent imagery and it actually sounds distinct from the rest of the Equestria Girls tracks (the song it reminds me most of is the song they cut out of Friendship Games), but I’m having trouble getting invested in the drama when either Twilight or Sunset could have this sorted out with a few conversations and a training montage. Also, the chorus “Mustn’t see the midnight in me” sounds clunky like they couldn’t use Darkness or Evil or some other word that might be considered too harsh for the target audience.
After the Ballad of Miserable Twilight, she starts wandering through the woods and runs into Timber Spruce which leads to some awkward moments. Dude HAS to be in his twenties, yet he’s clearly hitting on this teenage girl out in the middle of nowhere. The laws about this kind of thing still apply out in the woods you know! Fortunately nothing much comes of it (I guess Timber’s not ready to make his move yet) and we head back to campsite where strange stuff is happening again. Everyone there feels an earthquake, and then see some more sparkly stuff on the ground which points to more shenanigans from whoever’s pretending to be Gaia Everfree, but that’s bush league compared to what’s happening to the Mane5 (that’s the Mane7 sans our two leads). It seems that Human Twilight and Sunset aren’t the only one’s developing magic powers! Some of them make sense, such as Applejack’s strength, Rainbow Dash’s speed, and Fluttershy’s ability to talk to animals, but then Rarity has the power to project constructs a la Green lantern, and Pinkie Pie has the ability to blow shit up. Okay…
No one’s quite sure what’s going on, but Human Twilight naturally (and silently) blames herself despite these powers being AWESOME and no one really complaining all that much. Sure, there’s a learning curve (and Rainbow Dash with her super speed has determined that the effects only happen when they’re within a certain proximity of the camp), but who wouldn’t want super powers!? Hell, there’s certainly one person working here who could use them! Then again, I don’t really trust her to not immediately go on a killing spree.
Imperator Gloriosa has just about had it with everything here, but she manages to hide her anguish against a chipper façade. You know! Like Dexter! I’m sure at least one of those background students isn’t gonna be on the bus back home! She goes to deal with the mountain of bullshit that’s on her plate (including another meeting with Filthy Rich even though we don’t get to see it), and everyone else just goes about their day; politely ignoring that those girls who can turn into half-pony hybrids just got even MORE powers. Human Twilight though has decided that the best course of action is to just stay the fuck away from everyone and even tries to run away that very night. Fortunately, Sunset Shimmer was awake to see her bolt for the interstate (how far into the woods is the camp and what the hell are Human Twilight’s chances of making it through before dying of exposure?) and stops her from leaving. That’s the good part. The bad part (or I guess the frustrating part) is that she still insists on a personal quarantine until she’s sure that she’s not causing these changes in her friends. These AWESOME changes, but she still doesn’t see them that way. Sunset agrees even though this PRETEND THERE ISN’T A PROBLEM strategy has failed at least twice before, and they start to head back to the camp when they discover… they are not alone!!
No, it isn’t Jason Voorhees (or Pamela Voorhees, or Tommy Jarvis, or Roy Burns). Instead, it turns out that Timber Spruce is living up to his namesake by chopping wood… in the middle of the night. Okay… maybe it’s not just Imperator Gloriosa who they should be keeping an eye on. Wait, what’s that falling out of his back pocket!? GLITTER!? Of course! It was him the whole time trying to scare off the students from the camp! At least that’s the conclusion Sunset Shimmer comes to (Human Twilight doesn’t notice it because she’s too enamored with the hunk-a-licious tree man in front of her), but I still don’t really buy it. Maybe this is just a red herring to make us think it’s him, but I’m still a bit confused about the point of any of this is. Seriously, whoever has been pulling these stunts isn’t really scaring anyone, especially when whatever they’re doing is total weak-sauce compared to what these students have lived through already and what the Mane7 are doing right now. The movie isn’t even giving the sense that this is even the goal as it’s never even brought up whether Celestia and Luna should pack this in and get everyone back to the city. It’s just some odd stuff happening, but no acknowledgement of stakes or goals like any good Scooby Doo villain would have done by now.
I’m beginning to think the film is trying to split itself too much between being a fun summertime flick, a story about Human Twilight getting new powers and dealing with them, and about a mystery involving the fate of Everfree camp. It probably wouldn’t be too hard to strike a proper balance between the three, but they really aren’t doing it here as the mystery feels completely tacked on and Human Twilight’s story feeling needlessly protracted. Oh well, at least we now get to go back to the Mane5 having their superpowers. We cut to the next day where they’re working on the pier, but all are acting very cautiously (and working slowly) so as to not accidentally trigger their new powers and break something. Well… everyone except Pinkie Pie who carelessly throws around a box of nails! HOLY SHIT!! If her powers kick in, that’d be a freaking IED! Fortunately it doesn’t explode and everyone isn’t immediately killed, but it’s clear that this caution is interfering with their work. Now I would have suggested they get everyone else to work on the pier as they seem to be the only ones doing it right now (what, are they too busy or something?) but Sunset has a better one. Step one: Read Pinkie Pie’s mind, because why not?
After that diversion, we get our next song which basically boils down to PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, and we see a montage of all of them using their powers responsibly to finish the pier quickly. Gee. It’s almost as if having magic powers is pretty much a non-issue and would be a weak premise to hinge all the emotional drama on! Where’s Human Twilight by the way? Oh, she’s not there? WHAT A SHOCK!! Sunset seems to be just as peeved as I am that she missed the musical number that confirms magic isn’t a terrible thing, so she goes to find her; presumably to recap the song and even sing a few bars of it. On the way however, she hears a bunch of shouting coming from one of the cabins where Imperator Gloriosa and Timber Spruce are arguing over something. Something… suspicious!
All this shouting only gets Sunset more apprehensive of Timber Spruce (*cough* Red Herring *cough*) and she plans on following him, but runs into Flash Loser… I mean Flash Sentry. Seriously, this is getting painful. He’s trying REALLY hard to hit on her and she ain’t biting. Instead, she runs off to do something that’s ACTUALLY important and leaves Flash to nurse his hurt ego. I can almost see the fedora and neck beard materializing as we speak.
Now where were we before we were so RUDLY interrupted? Oh right! She heads towards where she thinks Timber Spruce went off to, and sees SOMEONE (i.e. It’s not gonna be Timer Spruce) go into a cave at that rock quarry that they were told to stay away from. AH HA! I KNEW that was gonna come back at some point! Now obviously Sunset can’t get back on the Scooby Doo track without her Scoob and Velma, so she calls up Human Twilight to meet her there (Spike will naturally come along) so they can investigate… because clearly she’s gonna be helpful if they get attacked or if the cave collapses. I’m just saying that they could PROBABLY use a bit of muscle here, especially considering that the Mane5 now have VERY USEFUL MAGIC POWERS! Once they get inside, they find out just who’s been behind this the entire time! You wanna take a guess?
Sunset Shimmer grabs her hand which gives her a really long exposition dump, and here’s where things start to fall apart very quickly. First, it’s clear that Sunset’s powers only exist to justify this scene where we get the full backstory in two minutes (is this in real time and she’s holding Imperator Gloriosa’s hand the entire time!?) and it now feels like a wasted opportunity when they could have given her ANY power instead. All I’m saying is that fireballs would have been cooler! Aside from that, the backstory itself has some glaring plot holes and odd choices, so we might as well go over it. Sure enough, Filthy Rich is land snatching the camp (apparently Imperator Gloriosa is behind on her payments) and she only has a month to get the money before it becomes Rich-bag’s property. While lamenting her miserable lot in life, she JUST SO HAPPENS to see a sparkle thingy crash into the cave where she finds a bunch of magic crystals that gives her Poison Ivy’s powers.
Now any reasonable person would think this is a good thing. A person being trampled on by fat cats and land developers has been given an opportunity to reverse their fortune. Not only that, but we JUST got through a song saying how awesome magic is! Well… Timber Spruce doesn’t seem too thrilled about it and thinks she should put the crystals back before something bad happens. Yeah, and maybe just chain yourself up to your bed so that you don’t trip over and scrape your knee! Maybe she should also eat her soup cold to prevent a burnt tongue! If you can’t tell yet, I’m having trouble finding a reason to dislike her for choosing to explore these new powers she has when they can do some real good, and she seems to want to use them for the right reasons. Hell, her motivations in this flashback are even MORE selfless than her using her powers to earn money and save the camp… which I would assume would be the first thing to try. Instead, she’s only been using her powers to help people! Are you kidding me!? THIS is our villain!? I know I’ve talked shit about her this entire review, but only because of how obviously her supposed villainy was being telegraphed, and now it just feels contradictory!
Let’s go ahead and tally her crimes. Remember the boat that crashed into the pier? She used her powers to push it along and used a bit too much force. Fine. That was a mistake, but there was no malice there! She just wanted to help them get moving despite the lack of wind for their sails! There was also that earthquake that happened right before the Mane5 found their powers. Apparently the story behind that is there was this dry creek that some of the campers were hoping to fish from, so she moved a few rocks out of the way so that the water can flow again! Sure, there was a bit of noise as the rocks fell, but who gives a shit!? No one was hurt, and the campers got to fish!
So if it wasn’t clear already, Timber Spruce told the story about Gaia Everfree to cover up the weird stuff going on at the camp which was actually being caused by his sister. A couple of things here. One. The stuff that was happening? NOT ALL THAT WEIRD!! A boat moved too fast! An earthquake happened! CLEARLY we need to blame this on some sort of forest ghost! By putting that fake sparkly shit all over the place, it just called attention to weird things happening, which only made things WORSE!! No one would have questioned half the stuff that happened as out of the ordinary, but instead he got the attention of Sunset Shimmer who was able to solve this mystery! GOOD JOB!! Also, the weird stuff didn’t start happening until AFTER the first night where he told the story, so I guess he was planning ahead and just assume his sister would fuck things up… which she didn’t really do. Seriously, WHY ARE WE SUPPOSED TO THINK SHE’S THE BAD GUY!?
There is a thread of a good idea here which is that Imperator Gloriosa is overexerting herself. We saw throughout the movie that she took responsibility for everything and was clearly doing so through gritted teeth which I guess is what’s leading her to this breakdown. The thing is, you can’t just go from beleaguered hero to megalomaniacal monster without there being SOMETHING to connect the two. Think about the movie Chronicle where Dane DeHann’s character slowly grew more and more closed off from the world but didn’t turn fully evil until he did something incredibly risky, failed, and then suffered a major tragedy. I don’t get the sense of buildup for her character, or even an inciting incident, where her turn to the dark side (or even her own warped interpretation of being a good guy) makes sense given what we just saw, and it makes it all that much harder to buy what happens next. Apparently Imperator Gloriosa didn’t grab ALL the crystals initially and has come back here to grab the rest… for reasons. Now as well all know more power equals more evil so she ends up transforming into… a Super Tree Hugger I guess?
She heads off to the camp to do… whatever it is she plans to do (presumably she wants to blow everything up now that she’s over 9000), but makes sure to lock Sunset, Human Twilight, and Spike inside the cave. And by lock, I mean she ties them up with vines and pushes some boulders in front of the cave entrance. Let’s see James Franco get out of THIS one in five days! Imperator Gloriosa floats back to the camp (apparently she can float) where the Rarity Fashion Show dress rehearsal is taking place and is promptly upstaged by the big villain song which causes giant walls made of roots to spring up around the main campground.
This is probably the best song in the movie (as is often the case with villain songs) and the thing is that I’m still completely on her side in this fight. Hell, is this ANY different from the Root of the Problem story arc in the My Little Pony comics!? The only difference is that for some reason we’re NOT supposed to be rooting for the tree huggers to fight the onslaught of environmental ruin… and in the comic they fed the bad guy to a giant monster. I don’t see Imperator Gloriosa doing THAT!!
Okay, she’s TECHNICALLY holding the entire camp hostage. Fair enough I guess. So what’s the plan now for the Mane5 who are trapped inside with this ecological dictator? Use their magic powers of course! Oh, and I guess they can summon their ears and tails whenever they want, because they CERTAINLY aren’t playing their instruments right now!
Their resistance falls short unfortunately and I’m SURE that has everything to do with Human Twilight and Starlight not being there to help (though I would attribute it to them attacking the plants instead of the one CREATING the plants), so I guess it’s time to go back to the cave if we want to get the plot moving again. Spike manages to chew their way out of the vines but there’s still the issue of the giant rocks in front of the cave entrance. If only there was someone who had the power of the force…
Human Twilight’s continued resistance towards using her powers is REALLY starting to wear on my patience; especially considering we get the EXACT same scene THREE TIMES IN A ROW!! She doesn’t want to move the rocks, but she does on Sunset’s insistence. She doesn’t want to put a hole in the vine wall but does on Sunset’s instance. She doesn’t want to use her powers to help the others fight Imperator Gloriosa (who for some reason is encasing herself in tree roots) but, you guessed it, does on Sunset’s insistence. To the film’s credit, that last one actually confronts the issues that Human Twilight is facing and actually brings some closure to her subplot. My problem though is that this could have been dealt with some time ago (at the absolute latest, the cave) and it would have helped move things along in this finale instead of having to repeatedly stop and start to get the point across.
So Human Twilight embraces her powers, flies up to Imperator Gloriosa, and steals her necklace of crystals which wins her the fight. Well, that was certainly easy. Not only that, but it turns out each of the crystals are color coated to match every member of the Mane7, and they fly to each of them; turning THEM into Magic Sargent Pepper members. Oh, I see. Someone who’s not predestined to be a hero can’t be trusted with power and responsibility and instead it has to be given to those DESTINED to hold it. *COUGH* bullshit *COUGH*
Well I guess everything is alright now! Imperator Gloriosa is back to normal (and feigning ignorance of what just happened) while the Mane7 get yet another round of applause for saving the day for at least the fourth time. Actually, there IS something different this time around as each of them now have magic necklaces THAT ARE ABSOLUTELY NOT A RIP OFF OF THE COMPACTS FROM SAILOR MOON and hold the crystals they just got. Honestly, I would love nothing more than for this to become a Magical Girl series with the girls fighting inter-dimensional threats on a weekly basis, but if they haven’t invested in a full series yet I doubt they’ll start now. There’s just ONE problem left to solve.
So what’s the answer here? Why, use magic of course! Only this time, it’s from the people who I guess DESERVE to wield that power rather than Imperator Gloriosa which means that things DON’T go pear shaped immediately. Whatever corrupted Gloriosa’s mind when she was using the jewels apparently has NO effect on the Mane7 who work together (along with the non-super powered members of Canterlot High) set up a fundraiser to save the camp! Oh, and for some reason they hold it in the absolute WORST and most dangerous place imaginable, which is the cave from earlier. WHY!? WHY NOT HOLD IT AT THE CAMP ITSELF!? WHY WOULD YOU HOLD IT IN THE ONE PLACE WHERE INJURY IS A DAMN NEAR CERTAINTY!?
Oh well. I guess everything turned out for the best as the fundraiser goes off without a hitch (or a lawsuit), and Imperator Gloriosa gets to keep her camp… at least until the NEXT time she runs out of money. Plus, we got to see this! Now this is the kind of crew I roll with!
So, anymore subplots to wrap up before we go? Oh right! There’s that creepy romance between Human Twilight and Timber “Tried as an Adult” Spruce! I don’t know, maybe if they established that this dude was under eighteen it would help matters, but there’s also the fact that she’s a minor that he’s hired to (to a certain extent) watch over as he’s an official camp counselor of Camp Everfree. Even if this guy WAS still a minor, this doesn’t seem like acceptable behavior and at the very least should get his ass reprimanded by management… which is his sister. Anyone else think this camp is a powder keg ready to explode, or at least the setting of an awesome AMC drama?
And so the movie is finally coming to a close with the possibility of these two hooking up in the future, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s dropped in the next movie (Flash Sentry could certainly use some company), and the Mane7 now having newer and fancier powers to deal with whatever challenges they have to overcome in the future. By the way, how DID these crystals find their way into their world?
This movie is probably the most frustrating of the four so far as it feels like a whole lot of wasted potential; from the characterizations of Human Twilight and Sunset and especially the moral at the end. I get that the message here is that Imperator Gloriosa was taking on too many responsibilities and should have asked for help earlier, but the resolution they went with (and the mythology they’re setting up for this universe) feels somewhat at odds with what they’re trying to say. We never get a proper build up to explain WHY these powers were so bad for her, nor do we get an explanation as to why they work for the Mane7. Who knows? Maybe I was right all along and the writers wanted to make it so that only certain characters can use the powers without turning evil, but doesn’t that send kind of a lousy message? Instead of “Do your best and ask for help when needed”, it instead feels more like “You can never be as good as these PROFESSIONALS so let them handle everything”. It’s not always easy to come up with THE MORAL OF THE STORY once the lore and continuity get as robust as they are at this point, but that doesn’t really excuse the unintended messages that are being presented here. On top of that, I was thoroughly unimpressed with how they handled Human Twilight who hems and haws her way through the story (essentially showing no growth as a character since the last movie as the arc here is very similar to her one in Friendship Games) and Sunset who really SHOULD be a dynamic and interesting character but is bland and boring for seemingly no reason. On the more positive side, I REALLY like the idea of the Mane7 having new powers even if they don’t exactly make sense, and the animation has improved a lot with a lot more dynamic faces and poses… even if the running animations still look pretty sloppy. I also liked Imperator Gloriosa as a character who was clearly flawed but still garnered respect for all that she’s forced to hold together, and while I thought the villainous turn wasn’t quite earned, she did turn into a fun bad guy and had the best song in the movie. Despite its flaws, this latest entry in the Equestria Girls series has been one of the more interesting events of the sixth season, so while I still think there’s room to grow and places that need to be fixed (particularly Sunset’s characterization), it’s still a lot of fun and one of the best Pony related things we’ve gotten all year. Probably not the most ringing of endorsements, but at least it’s something different to distract us from this overly safe and not particularly ambitious season.
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