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My Little Pony - family and children's DVD / television DVD / animation DVD review
MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC - THE FRIENDSHIP EXPRESS Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Tara Strong, Ashleigh Ball, Tabitha St. Germain, Andrea Libman, Cathy Weseluck
  Distributor: Shout! Factory
DVD release: 28 February 2012   Runtime: 110 min. (1 disc)
Format: Animated, Color, DVD, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
DVD features: Aspect ratio 1.78:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English), 5 My Little Pony episodes, Sing-Along, Meet the Ponies!, Coloring sheet, Debut episode of the new Pound Puppies series

*My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - The Friendship Express*I was in high school and too old to catch pony fever in the '80s. The cutesy pastel-ness of the predisposed me to skepticism concerning the recent reboot of the phenomenon. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - The Friendship Express, however, made a believer out of me.

*My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - The Friendship Express*Bolder colors, a little more attitude, fun pop-culture references and fresh, more stylized animation bring My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic up to date with today's animated TV fare, and this five episode collection (three from Season 1 and two from Season 2)--squarely centered on friendship and featuring several origin stories and pony mythology--is as good a place to start as any.

*My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - The Friendship Express*In the opening episodes, of the collection (and the first two episodes of the new series), "Friendship is Magic Parts 1 and 2," studious Canterlot unicorn Twilight Sparkle's research convinces her that Princess Celestia's banished younger sister, Nightmare Moon, will return on the day of the Summer Sun Festival to take over the land of Equestria and bring eternal night. Princess Celestia's response is that Twilight should pull her head out of those "dusty old books" and make some friends. She sends Twilight to Ponyville with irrepressible baby dragon Spike to oversee the festival preparations there.

*My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - The Friendship Express*Twilight is dubious that she and any of the ponies she meets--including down-home Applejack, speedy Pegasus Rainbow Dash, quiet but kind Fluttershy, the refined and beautiful unicorn Rarity, and bubbly Pinky Pie--have anything in common. Nonetheless, she finds herself joining forces with them to find the Elements of Harmony and defeat Nightmare Moon when the prophecy of her return proves to be true.

*My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - The Friendship Express*On their quest through Everfree Forest that features more than one reference to The Wizard of Oz, the group encounters obstacles that each of the individual ponies is able to overcome in turn. A manticore with a thorn its paw receives a dose of Fluttershy's quiet kindness, and a vain river serpent whose lopsided mustache is ruining his "fabulosity" is restored thanks to Rarity's generous gift of most of her beautiful tail, among other difficulties the ponies surmount.

When at last they confront Nightmare Moon, who smashes the Elements of Harmony into shards, Twilight realizes that she and the others carry within them the spirit of those elements. With her spark of magic, they together release the power of friendship to defeat the remorseful princess of the night.

The other episodes include
  • Over a Barrel, in which a group of "Appleloosa" settlers (including Applejack's cousin) stand on the verge of war with the native bison over the settlers' apple orchard that has been planted on the bisons' ancient stampeding trail
  • Hearth's Warming Eve, in which the pony friends star in a play in Canterlot that tells the history of ponykind and how the three tribes--Earth ponies, Pegasi and Unicorns--embraced the spirit of compromise to found Equestria
  • The Last Roundup, in which Applejack's decision not to return to Ponyville after a rodeo competition prompts her friends to find her to learn why
This retooled Pony iteration is not merely palatable--it's enjoyable. Don't tell my kids that their mom might be seeking out more episodes on The Hub to enjoy with her bonbons.
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reviewed by Sharon Schulz-Elsing
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