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My Little Pony - A Very Minty Christmas

Paramount // G // October 25, 2005
List Price: $16.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Mike Long | posted October 18, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Movie

The line between the media and consumer products has become so blurred that it's basically non-existent. Toys beget TV shows and TV shows beget toys in a seemingly never-ending cycle. Due to their popularity, it would be easy to assume that this only occurs in the world of "boys" toys with titles such as G.I. Joe and Transformers. However, girls can get in on this process as well, as evidenced by the new DVD release, My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas.

As My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas opens, we are introduced to the residents of Ponyville, all of whom are ponies which have unique names and interests. (And all of whom are female, which certainly raises some questions.) Some of the ponies have wings and can fly, but most do not. It's Christmas Eve in Ponyville and the ponies are decorating the town Christmas tree, which is anointed with the "Here Come Christmas Candy Cane", a glowing beacon which leads Santa Claus to Ponyville. Minty (voiced by Tabitha St. Germain) decides that Candy Cane is slightly crooked, but when she attempts to adjust it, it falls to the ground and shatters. She tries to tell Pinkie Pie (voiced by Janyse Jaud) about the accident, but can't. Thus, Minty decides that she must take matters into her own hooves. First, she tries to play Santa Claus, delivering presents to the other ponies, but this doesn't work. So, she takes one of the Ponyville hot-air balloons (of which there are a surprising number) and heads for the North Pole, where she hopes to guide Santa to Ponyville herself.

One must admire a program which knows its target audience, and My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas is aimed squarely at the girls who play with and know the "My Little Pony" line of toys. There is no greater evidence of this than the way in which the movie simply jumps into the story. There have been animated versions of "My Little Pony" in the past, and A Very Minty Christmas is clearly part of a new cycle of shows. Yet, this program assumes that the viewer is familiar with the ponies as it does little to introduce us to the characters or the setting. This could be jarring to some viewers, but my daughters (ages 6 & 4) took this in stride.

As for the story itself, it's incredibly simple and cliched. Minty is sort of an oddball in Ponyville (anyone familiar with psychology will immediately noticed her Obsessive-Compulsive tendencies). When she breaks the Candy Cane, she fears that she's ruined Christmas for everyone and must remedy the situation. This is a plot that we've seen before, but once again, the target audience for this program will find it delightful. They shriek in horror as the Candy Cane breaks and clap with delight as Minty tries to fix things. The program is never scary and even when she's down, Minty tries to keep a positive attitude about her dilemma.

Young viewers will also enjoy the look and sound of this 42-minute program. The colors are very bright, and each pony has a unique look and signature symbol on their flank. There are two songs in the movie, and for a direct-to-video special, they are fairly good and slightly hummable. Adults may find My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas a bit perplexing, but if there is a child in your life who likes to play with "My Little Pony" toys, then they'll probably enjoy this show.


My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas gallops onto DVD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The program is presented in a full-frame (1.33:1) aspect ratio which I can only assume is its original framing. The picture is bright and clear, with the pastel colors looking fantastic. The colors are distinct and don't run together. However, the picture shows some overt pixellation at times. The most noticeable flaw can be found in the hair of the ponies. The lines which make up their hair become very jagged and separates into individual pixels. There are also some ghosting effects at times.


The DVD carries a Dolby Stereo audio track. This track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The two songs in the program sound especially good. The stereo separation is adequate, as I noticed a few instances where distinct sounds came from the right or left channels, but for the most part, the audio is relegated to the center.


The My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas DVD contains a few extras. There are two "Sing-a-Longs" from the show for the songs "That's What I Like About Christmas" and "Nothing Says Christmas Like a Pair of Socks", with the lyrics appearing on the screen. The other extra is a "Bonus Episode" entitled "Dancing in the Clouds" (which was originally available on VHS as part of a "My Little Pony" toy package). In this show, Twinkle Twirl (voiced by Chiara Zanni) wants to do a special dance for the Friendship Ball. She asks Sky Wishes (Saffron Henderson), who apparently has the power to help ponies decide what to wish for, for help. They decide that "Dancing in the Clouds" would be a good dance, but Twinkle Twirl can't get the other ponies to do the dance correctly. Sky Wishes sets off to find a way to help Twinkle Twirl and along the way meets a magical pony named Star Catcher (voiced by Lenore Zann). This show has similar technical specs to A Very Minty Christmas as the animation is bright, but shows some minor defects.

The translation from toy to screen and back again seems to be the norm and the obligatory Christmas special is a staple of this phenomenon. My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas doesn't come close to matching the holiday magic of the classic Christmas specials, but some youngsters will love the bright colors and the gentle story of a pony who just wants to give her friends a merry Christmas.
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