MY LITTLE PONY: RAINBOW ROAD TRIP
Written By Kim Beyer-JohnsonTwo years ago, Twilight Sparkle and her friends set out on their biggest adventure yet as they journeyed beyond Equestria to seek help from some new friends and even an unlikely hero in defeating the Storm King from ruining the very first Friendship Festival in the fall blockbuster 'My Little Pony: The Movie'. Despite being a hit among kids as well as the fandom with having numerous premiere meetups and plenty of new merchandise taking over store shelves, the critics weren't so open to the movie and not only did the film not make the money it needed back because of an unfortunate online leaking that happened only a few days before the premiere but there was a huge lack of promotion for it as well considering the fact that it came out the exact same weekend as 'Blade Runner 2049' thus killing off any plans for possible sequels...or did it? Let's find out 'cause it's time to join the Mane 6 on a 'Rainbow Road Trip'!
MY LITTLE PONY - RAINBOW ROAD TRIP: The Mane Six hop a balloon for Hope Hollow where Rainbow Dash has been invited to be the guest of honor at the town's Rainbow Festival. But when they crash land in town, there's nopony there to greet them and the mystery only grows when the sun rises to reveal the entire town and the ponies in it have been drained of color! While Twilight Sparkle tries to discover what malicious magic caused the town to fade, her friends help the townsponies plan a new rainbow festival making friends along the way and restoring the hope missing from Hope Hollow.
- 'Simplifying The Story'-the pacing/execution plays a big part in how people will react upon viewing 'Rainbow Road Trip' since it feels like a double edged sword in a way due to being a very slow burn with a very relaxed pace all throughout the special which might be an issue for some people from feeling like your typical 'slice of life' scenario through and through whereas the movie had an opposite approach with trying to throw anything and everything at you going from location to location and meeting all of the different characters of different species which can make 'Rainbow Road Trip' feel like a very low key episode of the 'Friendship Is Magic' series really stretched out to fill the run time of a movie...you could argue that barely anything happens in this movie and yet being someone who enjoyed the My Little Pony movie back in 2017 would probably see this as a downgrade, but you have to look at it from a different perspective and it all depends on what you enjoy...'Rainbow Road Trip' may be targeted for a much younger audience, but maybe that's why they felt that they had to simplify the story and the interactions taking the pacing to a slow burn because it takes a while for pretty much anything to happen with the Mane 6 each having their own character to encourage which can make the story feel very predictable and the message not feel very deep or leave much of an impact with how the new characters just need words of affirmation to get their lives back in order!
- 'Where Did The Color Go'-the concept of a semi-mystery in finding out how Hope Hollow lost its color and how to bring it back: it would've been very easy to have another Starlight Glimmer-esque villain be the one responsible and yet I feel that would've made the movie feel extremely predictable, but instead the movie is especially simplified in trying to figure out what went wrong and why ponies don't like interacting with each other anymore which results in feeling like the movie was targeted towards a younger audience especially when the 'Friendship Is Magic' series having aspects that parents can really enjoy including elements that can go over kids' heads while appealing to the kids as well...you would think at first that Mayor Sunny Skies is the one responsible for draining the color from Hope Hollow and while it would result in the story not working as well, but it turns out that he just doesn't believe in himself anymore due to feeling like it was his fault that all the town lost its color and nopony enjoying each other's company anymore and yet that was a stronger direction to go with his character in my opinion-the writers picked a theme and stuck with it all throughout keeping it consistent!
- 'The Return Of Toon Boom'-I really hadn't expected to see any more movie style animation until there was another movie, but 'Rainbow Road Trip' kinda counts in that regard since I can see a lot of really creative designs put together for these characters...it may not be as good as the animation from the movie due to having a lot more going on in various different scenes, but the character designs even in black and white or dull gray is actually very interesting even before the colors show up and everything just pops at the end when everything comes into color while having the final musical number which really speaks high of the animators! Speaking of which, this is actually the first project in the fourth generation of My Little Pony where DHX Media had no involvement but instead being animated by Boulder Media who had previous experience with the 'Equestria Girls: Summertime Shorts' digital videos...I don't know what the future of My Little Pony has in store with Boulder Media for the series, but it looks and sounds pretty damn good for their first major outing!
- 'The Town Of Hope Hollow'-while I love how we got to see the Mane 6 in their movie art styles again as well as giving each member of the group something to do compared to the movie from back in 2017, it's the new characters that we are introduced to in the new location of Hope Hollow who steal the show in this special and I think I had an easier time remembering the newbies from 'Rainbow Road Trip' compared to the 2017 movie due to a lot of characters are sharing a lot of the same qualities with more than half of the town having Canadian accents from the newlywed couple of Petunia Petals and Mayor Sunny Skies to Torque Wrench who was an obvious reference to Rosie The Riveter along with Kerfuffle who I am so glad to see that her being an amputee wasn't made into a big deal and that her disability doesn't make her any less happy or optimistic as she loves doing what she does best in fashion...they may not have that much time on screen and yet quite a few of them do leave an impact!
Overall while having a very simplified story and very simplified interactions, 'Rainbow Road Trip' still manages to deliver a sweet but fun story with some beautiful animation and memorable new characters both old and new...it may not be perfect, but I'm gonna give 'Rainbow Road Trip' a rating of a 8 out of 10.