The first Equestria Girls movie – My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – wasn’t that great, it suffered from a lack of ambition and underwritten characters. The film follows princess pony Twilight Sparkle and her friends as they morph into human, high-school students to retrieve the Equestrian crown. When I heard that the movie had a sequel, with the story picking up where it left off, I didn’t keep my hopes up. Surprisingly, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks turned out to be far more superior than the first film.
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The Movie Review
causing trouble, singing siren songs to lure students into doing sinister things. With their black magic, The Dazzlings turn the school’s yearly talent show into a “Battle of the Bands.” Their dark melodies spark rivalries amongst the bands, and the girls appear to feed off of those negative emotions in order to grow stronger.
Due to their connection with Equestrian magic, however, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and AppleJack, are only unaffected by the spell. Can they beat The Dazzlings with the magic of friendship?
Director Jayson Thiessen and screenwriter Meghan McCarthy are back for another equestrian tale, this time they’re joined by co-director Ishi Rudell. Some fans may recognize him for being the animation director for the Friendship is Magic series for three seasons, so we can assume that this sequel will have the same feel that bronies know and love. Since this is their second try at human characters, the animation layout team seems to have gotten a knack for it and made a lot of major improvements.
Unlike the first Equestria Girls movie, Rainbow Rocks has better and more intense villains. Instead of having the girls face off against the popular girls, they’re now fighting off equally-powerful enemies. They even have complete backstories and personalities that bronies will definitely be intrigued to hear, and it’s something I didn’t expect from a kids’ movie.
The Dazzlings are voiced by Kazumi Evans, Maryke Hendrikse, and Diana Kaarina, who were a great addition to the cast. The animation is far more colorful in comparison to the flat and robotic animation of ‘Equestria Girls.’ This time around, the character designs don’t appear extremely unhealthy, which looked unflattering and parents were quick to point out what a negative message it carried.
Like many My Little Pony stories, Rainbow Rocks shares a message about teamwork and accepting others’ differences to work for the greater good. The characters go through actual challenges that real people experience, and they solve them like real people. Another good lesson included in Rainbow Rocks is forgiveness.
Sunset Shimmer’s characters arc involving her quest for redemption in the eyes of her peers is heart-wrenching, now that she is the school’s black sheep, it’s sad when you see how hard she tries and others remember only her previous terrible behavior.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks does in fact, rock. It’s everything the predecessor missed out on, improving things such as the story, characters, villains, humor, and music. Daniel Ingram completely outdid himself here, and the music can easily be compared to Disney musicals with a more modern twist.
My only problem was how The Rainbooms won over The Dazzlings when the sirens had better music, and the romance subplot feels forced. Still, I’d definitely be watching this with a kid for the soundtrack, which also includes songs from the original series. The ending also hints at another sequel, which turned out to be one of the weirdest MLP entries.