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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » My Little Pony: The Movie (30th Anniversary Edition)
My Little Pony: The Movie (30th Anniversary Edition)
Shout Factory // G // January 27, 2015
List Price: $14.93 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Randy Miller III | posted January 13, 2015 | E-mail the Author

Man card revoked again. But seriously, anyone reading this review is probably shopping for their kids or grandchildren, save for the occasional Brony and/or single-digit reader who hopefully has no access to YouTube's comment section. For those folks, Hasbro's My Little Pony needs no introduction, but here's one anyway: the franchise has been kicking for over 30 years, ensuring that anyone who grew up with these cute li'l horse action figures dolls is undoubtedly sharing the Pony love with their little ones now. To help sell the toys, several animated tie-ins were produced: two made-for-TV specials (1984's "Rescue from Midnight Castle" and 1985's "Escape from Catrina"), a feature-length 1986 movie (the subject of today's review), and the 1986-87 animated series My Little Pony 'n Friends.

Although the franchise remains more popular than ever today, this 1986 movie didn't exactly light the box office on fire. Hasbro's poor ticket sales continued with Transformers: The Movie just two months later and led to the delay of G.I. Joe: The Movie (which was eventually released straight to television), as well as the cancellation of a feature-length movie featuring Jem and the Holograms. Did 1986 audiences see through the paper-thin marketing tactics of Hasbro, or were the respective franchises just not popular enough to warrant all that big-screen attention?

I'd like to say that My Little Pony: The Movie failed because it's a terrible movie...but y'know, it's actually kind of cute. Formulaic? Yep. Predictable? Of course. The animation isn't all that great, and the presence of several new characters and objects---none more obvious than the introduction of new pony headquarters Paradise Estate, which descends from on high like a pink plastic idol---falls somewhere between eye-rolling and laughable. The cut-and-paste horsies are only differentiated by color palettes and one-note personalities ("the brave one", "the unlucky one", etc.). The episodic plot is just an excuse to meet more wacky characters...and even at 86 minutes, there's a lot of padding along the way. But the story itself---in which the ponies must stop evil witch Hydia and her wicked daughters, who conjure up the all-consuming purple Smooze---is harmless enough, and it's peppered with a few catchy songs along the way. Also, my four year-old enjoyed herself and didn't immediately ask for a bunch of plastic junk afterwards.

Featuring the voice talents of Danny DeVito, Cloris Leachman, Rhea Perlman, Madeline Kahn, Tony Randall, Charlie Adler, Susan Blu, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, and even a pre-Simpsons Nancy Cartwright, My Little Pony: The Movie arrives on DVD courtesy of Shout Factory, replacing Rhino's out-of-print 2006 disc. It's advertised as a "30th Anniversary Edition", but there's very little to get excited about: there are no substantial bonus features here, even though the A/V presentation isn't half-bad. Either way, anyone who enjoyed this one as a kid will no doubt be interested, but those relatively new to the franchise---or at least this version of it---may want to try before they buy.

Quality Control Department

Video & Audio Quality

I've only ever seen segments of My Little Pony: The Movie presented in 1.33:1 open matte (unlike the similar Transformers and G.I. Joe movies, which were also composed for 1.33:1 but cropped to widescreen for theaters and/or home video), so this doesn't appear to be a hatchet job. With that said, I couldn't imagine cropping this image any further than it appears here, as many compositions have very little room to spare. Either way, image detail tends to run a little on the soft side; after all, the series' smooth, pastel-heavy design doesn't lend itself to a crisp, razor-sharp appearance. Colors are reasonably bright without feeling too saturated, and digital imperfections like compression artifacts and interlacing are kept to a minimum. It's doubtful that young or nostalgic MLP fans will be floored or disappointed by this visual presentation...but for what it's worth, the image looks a little better than expected.


DISCLAIMER: The resized screen captures in this review are strictly decorative and do not represent this DVD's native 480i image resolution.

Not surprisingly, the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix is limited but gets the job done. Channel separation is evident but not strong, while the dialogue and music are clear without fighting for attention. No obvious drop-outs or other signs of damage were heard along the way. Optional subtitles are not included, although this DVD supports Closed Captioning.

Menu Design, Presentation & Packaging

Seen above, the static menu interface offers smooth, simple navigation. This one-disc package is housed in a white keepcase with colorful artwork and a promotional insert. The only Bonus Features are a few Sing-Alongs from the movie itself, which will disappoint those looking for something more out of a "30th Anniversary Edition".

Final Thoughts

Lightweight and occasionally entertaining, My Little Pony: The Movie is as paper-thin and predictable as anyone outside of its target demographic would expect. But the catchy songs, harmless story, and relatively solid voice cast elevates this material to reasonable heights...and the animation, while certainly not spectacular, is colorful and expressive enough to get the job done. Shout Factory's oddly-named "30th Anniversary Edition" serves up a respectable A/V presentation that, to the best of my knowledge, isn't a pan-and-scan job. The lack of substantial bonus features is almost expected for a catalog title, but at least the low price makes this an affordable dose of nostalgia for those who enjoyed it growing up. Mildly Recommended, but newer fans might want to stick with a rental.


Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey by day and film reviewer by night. He also does freelance design work, teaches art classes and runs a website or two. In his limited free time, Randy also enjoys slacking off, juggling HD DVDs and writing in third person.
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