MY LITTLE PONY: EQUESTRIA GIRLS - LEGEND OF EVERFREE
Written By Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco
Composed By Daniel Ingram and William Anderson
Produced By Angela Beylea
Directed By Ishi Rudell
Ah, the Equestria Girls series...we may have had a rocky start with the release of the first movie back in 2013, but things soon got better immediately with the releases of Rainbow Rocks and Friendship Games. But now that there is a fourth installment in the franchise, will the magic of friendship be better than ever? Let's find out with 'Legend Of Everfree'!
When Canterlot High School goes on a trip to Camp Everfree, they’re surprised to find a magical force is causing strange things to happen around camp. With the help of the Mane 6 and especially Sunset Shimmer, Twilight Sparkle must confront the dark 'Midnight Sparkle' within herself and embrace her newfound magical abilities to save the camp. When I first heard about a fourth Equestria Girls film in the works, I didn't think much of it since I thought that 'Friendship Games' was a good film to end the franchise on and that this was gonna be a half-assed rehash of Rainbow Rocks in terms of the whole 'main character redemption' plotline. But I did my best to go into the film with an open mind and I was left completely surprised by how good it was.
When it came to the story, this is easily the darkest of the films in the series so far especially with how it tackled the subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the form of Twilight recovering from the events of the last movie when she became Midnight Sparkle. Not only is the subject matter dark, but a lot of the action sequences are pretty damn dark too-especially during the climax and final battle sequence...but don't worry, there is plenty of humor supplied from the cast of characters that ranged from chuckleworthy to those that are more suited for the older demographic. And if you're wondering if this is gonna be one of those eco-friendly films with the whole 'save the trees' moral, it is much more complicated than that.
As for the songs...now, I had already done a review of the soundtrack a few weeks back before the movie had premiered and found it to be a mixed bag. Turns out all that I really needed to do was wait until the movie finally premiered to have a change of heart. The main title song 'Legend Of Everfree' may sound like 'Ballad Of The Crystal Empire' from back in Season 3, but it has that nice feeling that not only welcomes you into the movie but the camp as well. As for 'The Midnight In Me', the orchestrations and performance by Rebecca Shoichet truly help capture the traumatic stress that Twilight feels for a majority of the film. Speaking of Rebecca Shoichet, that brings us to her second solo song in the movie-Embrace The Magic, and...while not as good as 'My Past Is Not Today', it's still a pretty good song for Rebecca to showcase her talents as Sunset Shimmer. And now we come to our villain song 'We Will Stand For Everfree', which...while not quite as good as 'Welcome To The Show' from Rainbow Rocks, it's still pretty damn eerie and creepy and newcomer Enid-Raye Adams has some great singing chops...also, I think this song is what 'Unleash The Magic' from Friendship Games should've been. Then, that brings us to our final songs 'Be The Legend You Were Meant To Be' and 'Hope Shines Eternal' and...while not as memorable as the closing song from Rainbow Rocks, I still think that they are great songs to end the movie.
As for the animation, there's no doubt that the team at DHX's work with the franchise is constantly getting better and better...here, they really amped up their game especially with the fact that this was the first film in the franchise to not use the high school setting and Camp Everfree looks incredible from the different designs of the buildings to the scenery around the campsite...not only that, but the animation also helps to make a lot of the action-packed dark sequences feel pretty damn intense like during the 'We Will Stand For Everfree' song and villain battle as well as Twilight's numerous 'Midnight Sparkle' nightmares.
And when it comes to the characters, Twilight Sparkle was extremely well-developed and relatable in this movie especially during the first two minutes when she has her first nightmare where Midnight Sparkle basically kills her friends-that alone is pretty damn dark, even by the show standards! As for Sunset Shimmer and the rest of the Mane 6, they were also well-developed as they all try to help Twilight overcome her fears of the past in their own respected ways. Now, we come to our new characters Gloriosa Daisy and Timber Spruce. Gloriosa may not be as memorable as The Dazzlings in terms of villains, but she is definitely better and more memorable than Principal Cinch was in the last movie...while I think Timber's relationship with Twilight works so much better than Twilight and Flash Sentry (they actually did address this issue, THANK YOU HASBRO!!!) since they have a lot more in common and are actually given time to get to know each other. But if there had to be a problem with the characters, it would have to be Filthy Rich. I know that they had to have a character to put the film's conflict into action, but I personally think Spoiled Rich would've fit better since Filthy's appearance in this contradicts with his humble businessman persona in the show with his pony counterpart.
Overall, while I still think that Rainbow Rocks is the best film in the Equestria Girls series, 'Legend Of Everfree' came pretty damn close to becoming my favorite film in the franchise and gets an rating of a 9.5 out of 10...and with that cliffhanger ending, all I can say is: BRING ON, EQUESTRIA GIRLS 5!