This one stunk. Badly. Pinkie's characterization is easily the worst of the season. For so long, she genuinely fell for Dash "look-at-that!" trick and believed Dash enjoyed her pies. Pinkie, you're usually great. You became a mega-idiot here. The entire story is a stretched-out, paper-thin ripoff of Party of One. The only true difference is Pinkie didn't become super deranged. Rainbow Dash (as wrong as she was for lying and betraying Pinkie's trust) had to undergo the same, clichéd shtick of having to be taught a lesson. To the point of punishing herself to teach a lesson. Almost every joke sucked. Each of them can be placed in one of three categories: Stretching for far too to the point of thin. After the first time, Dash's "look at that!" and all other variations got old. Fast. Degrading characterization. Dash was OOC for feeding Tank her pie. If she's a smart, responsible master, she wouldn't poison him in desperation to get rid of her pie. The fact she did it twice is even worse! As someone who takes care of two cats and sees them as my children, it really pissed me off! Disgusting. Pinkie's exaggerated, big-lipped face; the detailed fatigue in her eyes; and that detailed dumpster were completely disgusting. The worst here, the dumpster pie, is in exaggeratedly gross detail and pure nightmare fuel. One of the worst jokes of the series. The only redeeming values here are Pinkie's imagination creating the evil Dash in her memory, Twilight and AJ, the moral itself ("Better to be honest to your friend than hold onto a lie so long"), and Pinkie waking up Dash. No, it's not awful, but it's bad. It joins Infamous & Mistake-in-Storytelling (an objectively worse episode than S&P) as the second bad episode this half. So far, easily Hamilton's worst in the series.
"Story" part of the Movie review finished.
My review here will be divided into specific sections. So far, my plan is as follows:
- Specific characters
New review: It Isn't the Mane Thing About You!
Some new updates: In the OP, revised grades for the following episodes: Applebuck Season (C+ ---> B-) Rarity Investigates! (C ---> B) The Cart Before the Ponies (D+ ---> F) Every Little Thing She Does (C+ ---> D) All Bottled Up (B+ ---> A-) To Change a Changeling (B ---> B+) Added grades for every new S7 episodes up to Zeppelin. The last three won't be included until they're officially released. As for the movie, I got to see this afternoon, and on the way back, I typed notes. For those who don't know my plans for an eventual review for it, here's how it'll work (copied from my status): In the meantime, below is a brand-new review, this one for It Isn't the Mane Thing About You! ^^ Josh Haber extended his résumé quite a bit since joining FIM back in Season 4. During that time, he published and edited a combination of the good, the bad, and the average. He wrote really good episodes like Re-Mark and Bloom & Gloom, yet edited Season 6, the worst of the series, and helped write To Where and Back Again, FIM’s worst finale. For most of Season 7, he was absent while working on another show. One week ago, he made his return joining the Lady Writers as editor for Daring Done? In his first written episode since To Where, Haber showed his growth and wrote Season 7’s most surprising amethyst. Strengths: Colorful characters. Ponyville’s charm comes from its cast. With the tertiary and background characters, Mane is no exception. Just about every character in this episode is very likeable. Filthy Rich in his desire to find the right flower bouquet for his Spoiled wife. Mr. Breezy and Davenport in trying to improve customer service and sales. The flower trio using Rarity’s advice to select and sell bouquets easier. Townsponies weren’t only interested in listening to Rarity’s advice, but also receptive to each other. It feels like the town actually likes each other and wants to help one another. Pay attention very closely to two very clever continuity nods in the background. As the flower trio sold out, Granny and Grand Pear were next door in the booth the entire time, cluing those who watched The Perfect Pear they put the past and feud behind them permanently. In the beginning shot, look very closely: Apple Bloom and Burnt Oak conversing. >BM and Sugar Belle… Seriously, good to see the show continue building the relationship after a massive screwup. One of the ponies to catch my eye most was Daisy and how receptive and kind she was to Rarity the entire time. Only a few episodes ago, she and Diamond Cutter denigrated her behind her back and was part of the anti-Rarity boycott. It was one of the most out-of-character moments of the entire show, ’cause this normally sweet pony bashed a supposed friend. Here, it’s like none of that happened, and everything returned to normal. Thank Mama Celestia! However, the background characters share their role. Fluttershy, Dash, AJ, TS, SG, and Zecora do, too, in their own ways. Zecora: Over the years, she has appeared very sporadically, sometimes only making two appearances for an entire season. In her first speaking appearance since Re-Mark, she clearly points out which item is which. True, Zecora could’ve labeled them, but the conflict and accident aren’t her fault whatsoever and, thus, not a flaw in the episode at all. She pointed with her hoof which is the shampoo and which is the remover potion. Rarity’s accident caused the mix-up. Telling Rarity to conclude Act 2 she can’t brew a potion in time is a breath of fresh air, particularly in a show where magic’s sometimes considered the be-all end-all. To conclude Act 2 or the episode as a whole with Zecora saying she got one available right now would be as anticlimactic as Dragon Quest. Fluttershy, RD, and AJ: Like any good friend, they try fixing Rarity’s mane as a last resort. Each of their choice for wig works, because they’re familiar with the items they share with her: tree leaves, cloud moisture, and straw. Rarity desperately wants to be in the photo shoot, but can’t with her mane so messy, and with their last resort being a failure, it leads to Rarity having to cancel. Why does this work? Because they’re doing whatever they can to help her. Their wig creations are intended to help Rarity, and both she and the audience get it. Twilight & Starlight: They, too, tried their best to help. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Although there was a clever callback to Re-Mark: More about them a little later. Of the RM7, the character that got my attention the most was Applejack. Over the past few seasons, when they communicate, it’s if they can’t stand each other rather than the opposite (Made in Manehattan exempt). Here, after Rarity sulked to the point of downing tubs of ice cream, AJ turned on the light and had enough. This is exactly who she should be: honest to the point of saying the uncomfortable truth, yet do so because she cares for her. Now, a good episode doesn’t require background ponies to be involved in the episode. But when done right, it makes Ponyville feel more like a town and community. It does that here. Rarity. It ain’t a good episode if the star isn’t written well. She was written well here. Every line she spoke oozed with personality: confident, sassy, vain, unsure, hopeless, upset. She reacted to specific situations she was involved in, whether it’s having super-sticky string bound to her body, accidently applying remover potion on her mane, and so forth. One criticism I noticed of this episode from an analyst is he called the salesponies in the town dumb for not recognizing Rarity under her black cloak. There’s a problem with the argument. Rarity completely covered her entire body aside from her hooves and face with a large cloak. When Rose tried to peak underneath, Rarity shyly refused from fear of ostracization and embarrassment. A few times, she pulled her hood down, once after opening Mr. Breezy’s door and as she headed to Davenport’s auction, possibly to keep her identity hidden. By how the episode was structured, Rarity apparently looked forward into taking part of Vanity Mare and Photo Finish’s photoshoot. How long? Not stated. Although you can guess it was scheduled well in advance. Her self-assurance was obvious throughout the opener by how she used her mane proudly during the three scenes. Being no shortage of ego, it ain’t a surprising for her to flash or focus her proud locks. The accident was so sudden and so close to the date of the shoot that she was desperate in trying anything to fix it. Borrow a Crystal Pony’s glass-like mane, mask it with a beautiful dress, use a cloud or straw, have Zecora quick-brew a potion to revert the mane to its original state. When her wig options dried out, she was forced to cancel her shoot, which she longed planned for and visibly upset her. From all the buildup and the RM4 worrying about her wellbeing, her iconic meltdown isn’t treated as a joke. Her disappointment and sadness are real. Nothing is exaggerated. Consider this: If by chance you lose your hair through some kind of accident before some kind of important event, how would you feel? It makes sense in Rarity’s character to be so upset. Good for DHX and Haber to treat her situation seriously. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Getting back to Starlight and Twilight, some lines grabbed my attention: How significant are these lines? Very. A magical boundary within this world is established. It doesn’t matter how rich the world of ponies is. Without rules, you arbitrarily pull solutions out of your basket. Worldbuilding is fun, but it’s equally important to sit back and cut off possible shortcuts. Look no further than Twilight having only a few minutes to become one with a book and griffons never getting cutie marks. Twilight, Starlight, and Zecora (from earlier) inform and remind her that magic doesn’t come out of thin air. You need something of substance to create the magic. Rarity’s mane is so shredded and damaged by Zecora’s remover potion that re-growing her mane with magic’s even riskier. So, what about the mustache and poison joke? The mustache temporarily grows above the lip. At some point, it either disappears or falls off. Rarity pleaded to grow her mane back to what it used to be as a permanent solution. Rarity’s mane and tail were fully grown when the poison joke made dreadlocks out of her fur and hair. With most of her violet hair missing, there’s no guarantee if she’ll be poisoned the same way. Once more, the poison is temporary; a bath reverts the joke. Mane sticks to their established guidelines of Equestrian magic. Like Zecora’s quick brew, finding a spell to revert the potion’s effects is anticlimactic and contrived, neither of which this episode needs. More importantly, they set up the platitude expressed by AJ and FS: Older than time, but its truism helps circulate it and not expire. Rarity is one such pony capable of turning around a worst-case scenario. Just two questions: How can she overcome this horrific problem, and what can her friends do to help her? Twilight answers the latter: With Rarity at her lowest point in a few years, comforting her makes sense. This trek commences this conversation chain, including feeling guilty for canceling her photoshoot and believing to be a fad the entire time, her friends reminding her of the goals she accomplished, and Twilight nudging a lesson of self-confidence to get by her difficult situation. Here, we’re reminded of one important detail: Throughout Act 2, she assumed that ponies looked at her differently because her mane is missing. Again, that’s not true. Everyone she came across knows her for her pizzazz, ability to help others, and inherent command for attention. How big of an ego does the Element of Generosity have? Really big. Yet, they never ostracized her for not being pretty. She isolated herself and desired to blend in, an act they see as out of character of her if they knew it was her. Rarity was so shy around the merchants that she refused attention. The townsponies weren’t acting like jerks at any point. So, with the barriers of what ponies can’t do with magic, Rarity’s desperation and depression, and their words of encouragement, what do you get? Three things: Reinvigoration of Rarity’s self-worth. Kickass Rari-punk mane. And one of the cleverest and smartest resolutions of the series. Although she canceled the shoot, her decision worked out for everyone. Rarity’s lavender order was left over, so Filthy was able to give his spoiled wife bouquets of her flowers for Mare’s Day. Mr. Breezy relocated his large fan outside his shop, allowing traffic to interact with it firsthand. Davenport’s chaise is sold. Everyone picked up the best possible. (Good for the show to have Rarity’s mane grow naturally.) Yet, if that wasn’t enough… Warm cup of karma. Although Rarity canceled the shoot, Photo Finish took pictures of her as she ventured through Ponyville, courtesy of her friends. Sure, this ending is sorta Hollywood-ish, but Rarity underwent a literal bad hair day and then attached her newfound look to spread goodwill to everypony that having her front and center of Vanity Mare magazine makes sense. Negotiating with Photo reinforces how much they care for Rarity and will do anything to make her feel better. Mane comes full circle with the ending. Good at what it doesn’t do! Back when I first heard about Mane, I was concerned. Coming to the episode, my two biggest fears were: Rarity’s worst personality trait reemerges: her judgmentalism. Occasionally, sound bites of prejudice spew out of her mouth, most notably her racism towards Zecora in Bridle Gossip. Witnessing one of the most groundbreaking characters in the series showing a prejudice to bald ponies would seriously damage her rep. An unfortunate implication of the story belittling cancer patients. How would that be represented? Rarity or any pony treating somepony bald or becoming bald differently than folks with a full mane. Ponyville treating Rarity differently for losing her hair. Magically growing her mane back after melting down for losing it. The idea of baldness as the worst possible thing. Neither happens. Her mane grows back naturally a few months later. Rather than vanity or prejudice, self-confidence during the heat of a sudden crisis is Mane’s overarching theme. Rarity assumes ponies will treat those without (good) manes differently. Instead, no one insults, shuns, or intentionally shames her. Self-embarrassment by her destroyed locks causes her to cloud her own judgment and believe her own livelihood is a lie. After Twilight reassures her that her lost mane shouldn’t destroy her self-worth, Rarity takes what should be the worst-case scenario into the best. Until here, Rarity’s confidence was never tested, and this plot rounds her character more. Credit to @Jeric for helping me provide info for this section. Weaknesses: Clean Up on Aisle 19! Every episode can use a cleanup, and Mane ain’t no exception. The dialogue can use some better editing and more varied vocabulary. How many times does the episode use the word “mane”? Forty-one. That’s way too much! Dash herself said the word “awesome” thrice. Varying the word choice and cutting down the repetition will allow the dialogue flow a bit more. If you ask me which bothers me more, it’s Dash’s “awesome.” These days, that word has become a catchall identification for her, when she’s more than capable of using others. At least, multiple ponies rather than just one used “mane”. The script’s repetitive vocabulary also made the moral of shining from the inside out really heavy. Saying it once as Rarity changed into Punk Rarity is fine. But to do it twice more pushes it. Shake off the excess. The opener takes too long to establish some level of conflict. Usually a minute long, the theme song doesn’t play until three minutes in. For a 22-minute episode, that’s excessive and slow. The message can begin more effectively by either rearranging the song’s placement — perhaps after ordering the lavender bouquets — or trimming some of the runtime in the market. Mane-ly forgotten. After Pinkie accidentally applied Zecora’s shampoo on Pound and Pumpkin Cake, the episode focused the entire time on Rarity. No mention of her at any point until a few minutes before the end. Considering she was the catalyst for the conflict, her absence left a gap in the story and felt like she was re-inserted to tie it all up. Nevertheless… Nice ‘do. Conclusion: Well, well, well, what a pleasant surprise. Out of every episode in the second half, this one worried me the most. Prior to Daring Done? (the episode preceding Mane), I was looking forward to DD more. Why? Blame the synopses. That said, the actual story is something very different. I’m really surprised by how I enjoy Mane more, Mane is (in over quality) better than DD?, and none of my fears came true. In Haber’s first story since co-writing To Where and Back Again, he shows his FIM touch. Rarity has easily one of her best appearances in quite a while. The rest of the mane cast is also well done, especially Applejack. Zecora’s first speaking appearance since Re-Mark brings her to the familiar role, yet at the same time showed how she can’t solve all problems. No background or tertiary character is a jerk, reviving and sticking true to that refreshing (albeit familiar) welcoming atmosphere the show proudly presents itself in. A guideline of magic was both established and stuck to, providing Rarity (and the episode itself) the opportunity to twist the story’s formula. Mission accomplished!
Not gonna spoiler any details, but the FIM Movie is a good one.
Anyone curious about the grade, it's a solid B.
With seeing the FIM Film may come forth a review.
Now, unlike past reviews for this series, if I write one, it's gonna be a little different in a few ways.
The animation and music will be talked about and judged.
Traditionally, I don't, because they're really well done, and my focus is primarily the story. The only times I talk about them are when they do something extraordinary or if they screw up in some way. Unlike the rest of the series, the FIM Movie is animated in Toon Boom Harmony, a completely different program. A different program and theatrical release mean new character models, revised set design, and different animation movement and style. The music is performed through an orchestra, so you're gonna get a different type of feel for it than the show.
There won't be exact lines of dialogue quoted in the review. I'm able to do it in ones for the comics and episodes, because I can read or watch them online, where they're readily available. Every episode and EQG flick has a transcript in the FIM Wiki. That's not the case for the FIM Movie. I'm paying $15 to go to a theater, so the best I can do is paraphrase it. I'm gonna have to retain a general sense of what the plot will be and what the characters do and will read plot spoilers afterwards as a reminder. And, no, I won't read any transcript for the movie until it's released for home viewing.
Once it gets released, and if I desire to rewatch it, I might edit it to include lines to indicate which are significant in a positive or negative sense.
- NO continuity references, comparisons, or contrasts. NO judgment of continuity being reinforced or contradicted.
I won't judge existing characters as in character, out of character, flanderized, or a combination. Whether any of the Mane Six are given solid development, balanced, not shifted to the background, and don't act flat are what I'll generally look for.
The villains and new heroes: the same thing. Since they're brand-new, I'll be judging their development (including whether the character is underdeveloped or not), believability of their motives, richness of personality (or lack thereof), stereotypical or not.
- The entire review will be hidden under the "spoiler" tag. Many still haven't seen it, and the movie is getting released internationally at later dates. So, out of respect, I'll keep it completely hidden. If I edit the review further in the future, perhaps I'll un-spoil it.
It's getting a little obvious what I plan to do, but for those who still wonder, if there's a review, I will judge the MLP Movie as a self-contained movie, NOT a continuation of the TV series! Why? If I treat it like it's part of the series, then I'm being unfair to not only the movie I'm watching, but also the rest of the series that came before it. Yes, Big Jim stated on Twitter it takes place between seasons 7 and 8, but this movie should hook people who'd never seen FIM before and wonder if it's worth watching. The FIM Movie is its own entity and ought to be judged on its own merits.
- The animation and music will be talked about and judged.
I went through the episodes on Saturday, and I had a lot to talk about them. Secrets & Pies: Uncommon Bond: Finally, Shadow Play: In case you're curious, here are my grades for each. Also under the tag:
Ongoing S7 grades:
- Celestial Advice: B-
- All Bottled Up: A-
- A Flurry of Emotions: B+
- Rock Solid Friendship: C+
- Fluttershy Leans In: C
- Forever Filly: C+
- Parental Glideance: A+
- Hard to Say Anything: F
- Honest Apple: F
- A Royal Problem: D+
- Not Asking for Trouble: B-
- Discordant Harmony: A-
- The Perfect Pear: A+
- Fame and Misfortune: F
- Triple Threat: B-
- Campfire Tales: C+
- To Change a Changeling: B+
- Daring Done: C+
- It Isn't the Mane Thing About You: A-
- A Health of Information: B-
- Marks and Recreation: A
- Once Upon a Zeppelin: A-
This is Fame & Misfortune done correctly. Unlike the former, Zeppelin doesn't forget to write a story. Brittany Jo Flores develops an actual story and intertwines it without making it the focus. It's not a hodgepodge of scenes and disguising it as a story. The story is the focus. The fans here have a very solid reason to be on the cruise. They were promised by Iron Will that they'll spend quality time with the princesses, and the ponies were really happy when they found out she was there. But if you take a look, no one on the cruise is treated like an asshole. They look up to the princesses and are happy to see them. When Twilight kindly asks them at the end if she can spend time alone with her family, they were more than happy to oblige. Now, Star Tracker. He's awesome! Here's a question: If you as a teenager were guaranteed to spend a day with your favorite celebrity, would you be so giddy and nervous, too? I bet. Star Tracker's the second-youngest pony seen in the cruise line, and he was so happy to be with Twilight that he got nervous and accidentally got too close. His moment telling IW to leave her alone was AWESOME! The fans aren't stereotypes, straw men, or dumb. They're people, and this episode shows that. Twilight slowly gets to the breaking point. She wants to be with her family, but misses activities from getting swarmed by Iron Will and her promise to live up to the deal. Missing the northern stars was her breaking point. Like To Change a Changeling and Marks & Recreation, the episode doesn't treat her or the fans as entirely in the wrong. Both sides have really good reasons to feel the way they did. But like Parental Glideance, when Twilight crossed the line and started yelling at Star and her family, the story doesn't let her off the hook. She's right to be frustrated, but not burst out and yell at everyone. After Cadance (who had maybe her best appearance of the series) gave her some advice on where to draw the line, Twilight made things up and apologized to her family and Star. Her hug to Star Tracker was really sweet. Really well done!
A rant on IGN's review for the FIM film:Spoiler
If you're gonna pan the FIM Movie, pan it for the story/characters. Don't fill a good chunk of the review with literal quibbles that don't affect its quality at all, and don't overlook important details established by the show leading up to the movie.
The GOP mentality about guns is so hypocritical. They're more than happy to ban the right to an abortion, yet the minute there's gun control, they stutter and say "no."
The American gun culture is so fucking backwards that it defies logic. Anytime there's a massacre/terror attack related to firearms, the quick solution by the gun lobby, the political people in office enslaved by Gun Money, and most of our society is to reduce restrictions and make MORE guns! Jesus Christ!!!
Couldn't agree more!