A trio of shorter, interconnected Equestria Girls adventures
Loves: My daughter
Likes: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the Equestria Girls films, Equestria Girls music
Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I am friends with one of the writers involved in this release, and have made every effort to not allow that to influence my review.
The first adventure, "Dance Magic," sees the girls trying to fundraise to fix the damage Camp Everfree suffered in the previous film. The opportunity they need comes in the form of a music-video contest, but there's competition in the form of the girls of Crystal Prep Academy, the crew's foes from Friendship Games. As is the case with most of the "Friendship is Magic" Pony episodes, the key to success is in discovering some sort of moral tied to social skills. In "Movie Magic", the girls are granted a visit to the set of the new Daring Do movie, a reward for saving Camp Everfree--summer camp to the film's director, Canter Zoom. Unfortunately, the production's run into trouble, as costumes and props go missing and sets crumble, which threatens the participation of the film's tightly-scheduled star. In what's either a solid homage or a clear rip-off of the classic Scooby-Doo cartoons, it's up to the girls to solve the mystery.
Finally, in "Mirror Magic", a magical hand mirror gives dangerous powers to an old enemy of the girls, while Sunset Shimmer introduces a new member of the team, Starlight Glimmer, a transformed magic student of the pony-verse's Twilight Sparkle. It's as classic an example of the Pony concept as this disc provides, mixing magic-tinged action with good-ole lesson learning. Though there's no true through-line bringing the three stories together, there's enough connective tissue to make this a more cohesive collection than most My Little Pony DVD releases, and with three related 20-minute specials, it's a self-contained arc. However, that means all you're getting is just over 60 minutes of animated adventures (even if the price is reasonably low to match.)
The thing is, you're also not getting the same Equestria Girls found in the previous movies, as the TV-sized adventures (complete with fades to black for commercial breaks) result in less ambitious animation and less of the songs that have emerged from the other releases (even if the Daniel Ingram-penned "Dance Magic" is a quality track.) The ponies are still essentially the same personalities that fans have grown to love, but they don't have the room to roam in these more compact tales, each of which has a distinct plot to service. The fact that, until the third episode, when there's a genuine enemy to take down, they barely reference their pony powers (involving geodes they wear, which is apparently a thing in this world?) makes it feel even more removed from the movies that came before.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track does a fine job with the show's lively dialogue, with some discreet placement in the surrounds to flesh out the soundstage, while sound effects and music boosts utilize the sides and rear speakers to create a sense of energy (aided by some LFE that enhances the music and action. Distortion is not a concern.
The Bottom Line