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Fluttercheer


I have adopted all foals of Equestria and write stories about their lives. Help me feed them by supporting me on Patreon or Ko-fi!

More Blog Posts605

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  • Thursday
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  • 5 weeks
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Oct
11th
2021

[My Little Analysis] "My Little Pony: A New Generation" Review: Once upon a time, many, many moons ago in ancient Equestria..... · 3:26am October 11th

It is time. Generation 5 has begun and now I am sitting here and write my first ever Generation 5 review, of the Generation 5 Movie "My Little Pony: A New Generation".
Just one year ago, I thought this wouldn't be happening. I was bracing myself for a reboot of "My Little Pony", with a universe and a world that I don't care about because they aren't the same universe and the same world from Generation 4 that I love. But here I am now, Generation 5 got confirmed as a sequel to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, almost nine months ago on January 13th, and so I can write reviews again, this time about Part 2 of the Friendship is Magic Saga. And that is the exact right term to use here, Saga, because with Generation 5 being a sequel that shows us Equestria in its distant future, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has officially become a saga now. :heart:
And with this review of the Generation 5 Movie, I am also starting a new review series! "My Little Analysis" is born today, a continuation of my reviews for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but this time under their own series title!
This review is not spoiler-free, I will talk about the plot of the Generation 5 Movie in detail here, so if you still haven't seen it, only keep reading from here on out if you are very sceptical about watching the Generation 5 Movie and need a detailed review to help you with your decision-making. If you definitely plan to watch it, this is where you should stop reading. Beyond this point is Bat Pony Land*, I mean, Spoiler Land.
*Bat ponies are not guaranteed to appear in this review.



After my first time watching the Generation 5 Movie, now one week and one day ago, I was feeling a little underwhelmed. I expected a generous amount of worldbuilding and, most importantly, that we already learn a lot about what happened between the era we have seen in Generation 4 and the new era we now see in Generation 5. But there wasn't much of that. On my first watch, the past seemed to be reduced to little references, like Sunny's figures of Twilight and her friends in her bedroom that we already know since the First Generation 5 Screenshot, or certain words, like "Sparkle", being prominently spoken, while the wordbuilding felt tiny and basic. Which is not surprising and neither something wrong, Generation 5 has just begun and a basic introduction to the future of Equestria is all the Generation 5 Movie is supposed to be. Once the Generation 5 Show begins, this is when we will really start learning a lot about the world of the future and what secrets it holds, as well as what happened in the last couple thousand years. Everything before that is merely an introduction to give us an idea about how Equestria's distant future looks like.
Personally, though, I wanted to see more. I expected to see more individual places, to hear more history, to see more of what remains from the era during which Twilight and her friends and all ponies and creatures we know from Generation 4 lived and even to learn why the three pony tribes separated again. In short, I expected a shimmering collection of traces from "Ancient Equestria" that give us a good idea about how life went on for the ponies and creatures we know and love and that squeezes the tears out of us while we realize that all of this has happened long ago now, as well as that we get a little tour through the world of the future that, even if only shortly, shows us a lot of places, towns, cities, sights and mystical locations. But it wasn't like that, we only got to see a few towns in which earth ponies, pegasi and unicorns, respectively, live and a few places in the wilderness that don't look particularly remarkable or like they are in some way interesting, historic places. And mentions of the past were, like I said, reduced to tiny references. An underwhelming start, after Hasbro spoke about how it decided for Generation 5 to be a sequel because it didn't want to "walk away" from Generation 4's "really rich lore". This was the impression I got during my first watch and so I felt a little underwhelmed afterwards, because my expectations weren't met.
However, when I continued watching and saw the Generation 5 Movie more often, I was picking up on more and more things that slowly changed my feelings about it. Now I have seen it ten times and I came to appreciate the decisions that were made and the amount of things that are being shown to us.

The beginning of the movie surprised me. I didn't expect it would start when Sunny was a young filly, I already knew there would be a scene in which we see Sunny when she was younger, but I thought of that as a flashback that will occur later in the movie, not that it will be the start of it. And I was even more surprised to see, and hear, Twilight and her friends one last time before we will likely never see them again in the future from now on. I didn't cry about this, I think the end of the show and the end of Generation 4 overall in the official comics have already driven all the tears out of me, but it still made me have an unexpected lump in the throat at the beginning of the movie.
That the movie starts with Sunny's fillyhood was a positive surprise and it set up the plot of the movie perfectly for what should come later and is responsible for it that later moments can be as emotional as they are. In this beginning we learn for the first time in the Generation 5 Movie itself, that the Equestria we've seen in Generation 4 has existed long ago. Even so long ago, that Sunny's dad not only speaks of "Ancient Equestria", but that he also tells her the story about the Elements of Harmony, the story how Twilight met her friends and what they did together, slightly wrong:
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Once upon a time, many, many moons ago in ancient Equestria, there lived a very special– Unicorn! The unicorn was very bright. As bright as the sun. One day, the princess summoned her to the castle for an important assignment. To learn about friendship! She soon made lots of new friends. Earth ponies, pegasuses and unicorns! Together, they showed everypony the Magic of Friendship and how to live in harmony.

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This is mostly correct, but as we know, Twilight wasn't "summoned to the castle" when Celestia told her to make some friends and when she gave her the assignment to go to Ponyville and oversee the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration. Celestia told Twilight that in a letter she sent her. And it also wasn't like this that Twilight and her friends taught everypony in Equestria how to live in harmony, other ponies already knew about friendship and harmony a long time before they lived. It was Twilight who learned friendship, while teaching her friends some new things about friendship along the way.
Sunny's dad retells two things wrong here, this shows that the events we've seen in Generation 4 have happened so long ago that historical narratives have already gotten vague and obscure about Twilight and her friends and what happened during their time. Which implies that there aren't many relics from ancient Equestria left and that most of them are gone. Sunny's dad said he is doing research about ancient Equestria, but still hasn't all the details right. Then again, who knows what ruins might be discovered later on? Archeology discovers relics from the past that were thought to be lost, or were even completely unknown prior to their discovery, all the time. I wonder what discoveries will be made and how they will change what the ponies of Equestria's future believe to know about the past.
Either way, this beginning of the Generation 5 Movie further confirms that we look at a span of several thousand years that went by since the era of Equestria that we know.
What else is important here, besides hearing about Equestria's past and seeing Sunny's dad, is a lantern with a message for pegasi and unicorns that tells them they have friends in Maretime Bay and invites them to visit, on a card that Sunny has written and that is sent flying by her and her dad prior to the storytelling, in the hopes that some pegasi and unicorns will listen to their call. This is one of the most beautiful moments in the movie, it is permeated by a very strong feeling of hope that is supported very well by the accompanying BGM. Also, Sunny's card will become very significant later.
After Sunny falls asleep, the Generation 5 Movie makes a smaller jump into the future, and we see Sunny awakening one morning as a young mare. The detail I love in the transition between the two points in time is how we see Sunny's bedroom change from a filly's bedroom to a mare's bedroom in a sudden, but relaxing, way. I have yet to closely examine what exactly changed, but this gives us a deep look into the development of Sunny's life and of her interests and her personality since she was a young filly and draws us into everything much more than it would be the case without it and that's why I love the way we got the transition of time presented to us here!
After Sunny got up and ready for the day, she leaves the house, but not without fixing a picture of herself and her dad next to the door that always tilts when the door gets shut. This is a recurring event in the movie that prepares an important, emotional moment much later. Outside, Sunny is singing a song called "Gonna Be My Day", the first song of Generation 5! The song merges nicely with Sunny's plans on that day and the theme of the movie, as the scenes while Sunny sings it give us the first ideas how earth ponies think about unicorns and pegasi, with two foals punching down on a pegasus and a unicorn pinata, parents freaking out because Sunny gave their filly a balloon unicorn and several posters that warn of pegasi and unicorns, which Sunny draws on to change their tone. I will go into more detail about this song and the others in their own review once I have listened to each one separate from the movie and have a better idea about them.
When Sunny is finished singing, the plot of the movie already picks up and we quickly learn about Sunny's activism to reunite the three pony tribes. Hitch, Sunny's old foalhood friend, and Sprout, the opposite of that, both guardians of the law, with Hitch being the sheriff of Maretime Bay and Sprout his deputy, stop Sunny when she tries to enter the big building on the hill. This building (about which I had very different theories when we saw it for the first time on one of the preview screenshots from the "My Little Pony" Facebook page a few months ago, I was thinking of a bank, a government building and even a prison) is revealed as a factory of a corporation called "Canterlogic" that builds defense mechanisms against unicorns and pegasi so that earth ponies can protect themselves from them in case they should become attacked by a pony from the other two tribes. We learn from Hitch that Sunny tries to sabotage an annual presentation of Canterlogic products each year and from Sprout that his mom Phyllis Cloverly, who is the owner and founder of Canterlogic, has banned her from entering the factory for that reason.
This is also something that the beginning of the movie with Sunny's fillyhood prepares a little for, as we see Hitch and Sprout as colts there and how they play together with Sunny and her Elements of Harmony figurines, something that got visually depicted with a special, animated scene in which the aforementioned appearance of Twilight and her friends happened. Phyllis was there, as well, criticizing Sunny's dad for teaching Sunny that earth ponies can be friends with unicorns and pegasi and accusing him of brainwashing earth ponies while picking up Hitch and Sprout, followed by Sprout telling his mom that he will keep everypony in line once he is sheriff. I was saying in this moment that Sprout is going to become a problem one day and that should turn out as true later. Power fantasies like that already at a young foal's age are not a good sign.
This little moment in front of the factory establishes that Sunny and Hitch are still friends as adults. They even have their own little ritual and recital as a sign of their friendship. That Sunny doesn't like Sprout is also established in this moment, as well as that Sprout is not the good cop. Sunny tells them that she only wants to deliver smoothies into the factory as part of her job, but they don't believe her. Hitch sends her away after he made Sunny promise to try not to "pull any stunts today", as a friend not as the sheriff, while Sprout yells about Sunny's ban from the factory and mocks Sunny for not getting into the factory in that typical "I'm the cop and you're below me." way that's the signature of power-abusive cops and that probably everyone knows from somewhere. It's not completely apparent here yet, but this encounter continues the gradual establishment of a villain, which works very well and becomes more effective the longer the movie goes.
Sunny pretends to leave and to go home, but keeps her intent of entering the factory. During the presentation, which includes heavy boots to prevent aerial abduction by a pegasus as well as a unicorn entrapment device, among other things, and that seems to showcase the same products each year for long-lasting propaganda effect, Sunny raids the stage wearing fake pegasus wings and a fake unicorn horn and equipped with a sign. She holds a prepared speech to convince the gathered earth ponies that unicorns and pegasi aren't dangerous for them. During which she becomes victim of the automated presentation, as she replaced a pony dummy with herself, but doesn't give up and even asks two foals if they wouldn't like having a friend who can do magic or fly. Her attempt fails, though, and Sunny gets booed off the stage and escorted outside by Hitch.
After this, the movie comes to its first dramatic moment. Hitch showed empathy for Sunny during her failed attempt, but he is also sworn to the law and feels more and more pressured to make a decision between his job and his friendship with Sunny. A fight happens between Sunny and Hitch and we learn that Hitch is the only friend Sunny has left in Maretime Bay. She has lost all her other friends because of her activism and her belief that earth ponies can be friends with unicorns and pegasi.
This is something that was hitting me hard. Generation 4 got very dark and very serious on several occasions. But we haven't seen something as heavy as this. Earth ponies hating unicorns and pegasi and living in a state of fear that they could attack them and an earth pony activist who doesn't believe that and wants to inspire them to become friends with the other tribes, until she becomes an outcast among her own people and loses all her friends because she is being labled a traitor for defending pegasi and unicorns? Yikes. That's a rise of standard regarding drama and gravity that even beats the new standard that Generation 4 has given the "My Little Pony" franchise. And it doesn't even stop there.
Hitch, throwing away his nerves during the fight because of all the pressure on him, says that he can't keep associating with Sunny anymore if she keeps doing that, because he is the sheriff. And sincerely asks Sunny if she wants "to lose him too". And then leaves and lets her stand there alone, after Sunny couldn't answer that question and only looked at him with an increasingly desperate and horrified look in her eyes. After that, Sunny sits down on a bench next to her, looks up at the sky and says "I wish you were here, dad."
No moment in Generation 4 was that heavy. I was speculating that Generation 5 might rise the standard and be darker and more serious than Generation 4 was. I think this moment confirms it. And it also confirms that, despite being a new team that's working on Generation 5, the mature themes from Generation 4 are here to stay. And have become deeper and more mature. If there was anyone who had worries that Generation 5 could return to early generation standards, now these worries can be put to rest. The new team knows what it's doing.
While Sunny sits on the bench and doesn't know what to do, ponies suddenly run past her screaming. And responsible for that is a unicorn, as Sunny discovers a moment later. Izzy enters Maretime Bay and she does indeed wander innocently into the town, without any ulterior motives, unlike what I predicted about her, for a reason we will learn later. Which is exactly what Sunny needed in this moment. The tone of the movie shifts from heartwrenching drama to mostly lighthearted silliness there, when Izzy, as the innocence in person, doesn't even realize that the earth ponies are scared of her and believes that they want to play hide and seek with her. Sunny's condition improves, as meeting a unicorn is what she always wanted.
Sunny and Izzy retreat into Sunny's lighthouse, after fleeing through the town and after Sunny freed Izzy from a unicorn entrapment device in front of Hitch who told her not to. This is also a strong moment, albeit not nearly as strong as the one I just detailed. More than anything, Sunny is interested in seeing Izzy's magic. She is obsessed with seeing magic in action. That's an interesting moment of character development, not only does Sunny willingly become a criminal to give shelter to a unicorn, her obsession with magic also shows that Sunny has no idea about that even earth ponies like her are supposed to have a certain kind of magic. That impression will also get strengthened later in the movie.
Also, I could finally see the moment with Izzy and the can of beans in full context. I looked forward to that. I even bought a can of beans to celebrate the start of Generation 5 and ate it while watching the movie. And there's something surprising here, Sunny nowhere says her line "Show me some magic!" from the trailer. Instead she asks Izzy "Can you make this float?" when shoving the can of beans off the table. The line is also nowhere else in the movie. It was changed last-minute and I really wonder why.
Sunny learns that Izzy has no magic and before she can ask more about that, Hitch and Sprout come to arrest Sunny and Izzy. The two of them manage to escape, however, and leave Maretime Bay. To bring Izzy's magic, and that of all unicorns, back, Sunny wants to travel to Zephyr Heights, the capital city of the pegasus kingdom. She thinks that pegasi still have magic and that they can help. Sunny's outstanding belief in the other two pony tribes shows especially strong here. She has never met a pegasus and can't tell how the pegasi will react to her and Izzy, but she still believes they will help.
Izzy, however, is cautious about that idea. She has also grown up with hearing a lot of nasty things about pegasi and says they are "bad news". But Sunny proves her loyalty. She calms Izzy down by assuring her that she will protect her and look out for her, in Generation 5's second song and musical number "I'm Looking Out For You", that is actually a duet between Sunny and Izzy. The first duet of Generation 5!
Back in Maretime Bay, Hitch is upset because Sunny helped a unicorn. He wants to leave with Sprout to arrest Sunny and bring her back, but then changes his mind when Sprout is scared of going and pretends that he has to stay in their office to do paperwork and clean up his desk. He leaves Sprout with the stern order of "not to start a war while he's gone" and then heads out. This line by Hitch is important for later and will, in hindsight, make clear that Hitch knows Sprout very well and that there's a reason for it why Sprout is just deputy.
Staying behind, Sprout starts raging about how Hitch is more popular, more successful and more competent than him. His confidence improves when his mom comes and tells him that he is the sheriff now until Hitch is back in Maretime Bay. This moment further continues the buildup with Sprout that I mentioned earlier.
Shortly before Sunny and Izzy arrive in Zephyr Heights, the movie delivers a mysterious piece of worldbulding. Izzy reveals to Sunny that she is able to see something that she calls a pony's "luminescence" or "sparkle" and tells Sunny that hers has the color lavender. She explains Sunny that the sparkle shines brighter the happier a pony is. What this basically means is that Izzy has the ability of seeing the auras of other ponies and that even without any magic! But there is also a bit more to it than that, as Izzy also mentions that the luminescence can get stolen, telling Sunny that pegasi are supposedly able to do that. There is no further explanation as to what the luminescence or sparkle is exactly during the rest of the movie, but we have one of the most interesting pieces of worldbuilding in the entire Generation 5 Movie here and it intrigues me a lot.
What mysterious part of a pony is the luminescence? Why is it also called "sparkle"? Does this term somehow derive from the pony we know as Twilight Sparkle? How can it be stolen and what consequences for a pony would it have if it does? Are pegasi really able to steal it? And why is there no magic required to have a sparkle or to see it? And how is Izzy able to see it in the first place? Does only she have this ability or can all unicorns see the sparkle of a pony?
I am asking questions as excitedly about this as Sunny when she asks questions about unicorns. This is the first big mystery after the start of Generation 5 and it foreshadows that we will learn about epic new things once Generation 5 progresses.
On top of the mountain that Zephyr Heights has been built on, the same mountain where Canterlot once was, Sunny and Izzy meet Zipp for the first time. Zipp is positively surprised to meet a unicorn and an earth pony and says that this day has just gotten a whole lot more interesting. And she has no idea yet just how interesting that day is going to be.
When two pegasus guards on a patrol come up the mountain, Zipp leaves in haste and asks Sunny and Izzy not to tell anypony that they have seen her. Sunny and Izzy then get arrested by the guards and brought to the castle. It's in this moment that Izzy gets the tennis ball stuck onto her horn, which is done by one of the guards and revealed to be a standard procedure from the Zephyr Heights Guard Guide for the emergency that unicorns show up in Zephyr Heights, so that their horn can't become a danger for pegasi. Exactly the reason that the fandom most commonly suspected and that I theorized, too.
On the way to the castle, Sunny and Izzy get a good view of Zephyr Heights, which appears to be a very futuristic city compared to what they know from their own homes. The buildings are emblazoned with gold and connected with bridges, the entire city seems to stand on poles which gives the impression that it floats in the sky and there are gigantic TV screens, that stream news reports, and advertisement posters everywhere. While Sunny, Izzy and the guards ascend to the castle in an elevator, a video by Pipp is being broadcast, with a message to her fans and the announcement that she will debut a new song later.
In front of the pegasus kingdom's ruler, Queen Haven, a celebrity who got crowned queen, Sunny and Izzy meet Pipp for the first time, who gets revealed as a princess, Queen Haven's daughter and, as implied already by the broadcast, a popstar. Pipp is enthusiastic about seeing an earth pony and a unicorn and livestreams Sunny and Izzy all over the city with her smartphone, causing the citizens to get worried and requiring her mother to step in and assuring all pegasi that she will protect them. Pipp is an obsessed social media addict and loves to showcase herself and everything interesting she sees to her fans.
Sunny and Izzy also meet Zipp again, who signals them to be silent about their prior meeting. Zipp is the second daughter of Queen Haven, therefore also a princess and Pipp's sister. They learn that Pipp will give a concert that day and Queen Haven suddenly acts very nervous once Sunny asks her about magic. Sunny and Izzy get thrown into the dungeon of the castle, which is strangely luxurious and their cell feels more like a spa than a dungeon cell.
In the meantime, Sprout starts to seize control of Maretime Bay, which is where the problems begin. At first, he tries to calm the citizens of Maretime Bay who are still scared and in panic because of the unicorn that came into their town. But then he realizes what opportunity Hitch's absence gives him. He starts to play the fears of the earth ponies of Maretime Bay, makes them think that pegasi and unicorns could come to attack them and manipulates them into wanting to fight back against pegasi and unicorns, with a song called "Danger Danger", mobilizing them as his army. Sprout's realization is very subtle for the audience. At this point, one can still think that he merely takes the fears of the other earth ponies away, but it will escalate very quickly from here.
Back in Sunny's and Izzy's spa cell, Sunny ponders why only the royals are able to fly, when Zipp suddenly comes to visit them, followed by Pipp a moment later. Pipp is just there "for the content", which means taking a picture of herself in front of Sunny and Izzy behind golden bars that she'll post on Pegagram later. Which isn't directly mentioned in the movie and the name "Pegagram" for a photo-sharing social network isn't a part of it and I made it up.
Zipp, on the other hoof, brings Sunny her dad's notebook that was confiscated by order of the queen back. Upon asking, Pipp confirms to Sunny that only her, Zipp and their mother can fly and that the other pegasi are unable to, without specifying why that's the case. Zipp confirms her sister's words, albeit only reluctantly. Once Pipp is gone again, Zipp starts to turn out as a rebel who disagrees with her mother and her sister about a lot of things. She frees Sunny and Izzy from their cell and prompts them to come with her so she can show them something.
Outside of Zephyr Heights, Hitch has arrived on the mountain and is on Sunny's and Izzy's trail. He learns where they are when Zephyr Heights appears in the retreating fog and reveals custody photos of Sunny and Izzy on the city's gigantic screens to him.
Sunny and Izzy are led by Zipp into the underground ruins of an ancient airship station whose architecture implies that it was built when Canterlot still existed. They look at old posters there, one of which shows a flight team in uniforms and looks suspiciously like the old Wonderbolts poster we have seen in Generation 4. When Sunny remarks that it must be weird to be the only pegasus who can fly while Zipp stares at this poster, Zipp admits that she and her family can't fly, either, and that they are faking it with wires and good lighting.
From there, it leads to a pivotal point of the movie when Zipp shows them a stained-glass window that is adorned with Twilight's cutie mark. Beneath it is a wing-shaped crystal, which Zipp calls the "Pegasus Crystal" and says that it's part of her mom's crown. Sunny figures out that a unicorn crystal is also supposed to be part of the window and asks where it is, then finds the shard that depicts the crystal lying on the floor under an old piece of rag. By moving it onto the reflection of the pegasus crystal on the floor, Sunny finds out that the two crystals fit together and she concludes that the magic of the pegasi and unicorns will return if the two crystals are brought together. The stained-glass window here implies strongly that there is also an earth pony crystal, as the middle of the window is missing. Not knowing that earth ponies once had magic, too, the possibility of an earth pony crystal does not occur to Sunny.
The Generation 5 Movie does something interesting, that I think I haven't seen in any other movies before, it plays with the fact that we know more thanthe protagonist does, which creates an interesting and unique emotional experience towards the end of the movie, as well as raises the suspense while we wait for Sunny to find out about the earth pony crystal herself.
With Zipp's help, Sunny and Izzy devise a plan to steal the crown and to replace it with a fake crown that Izzy crafted, during the royal celebration when Queen Haven is distracted by Pipp's concert. Prior to the concert, Zipp questions her mother for lying to all the other pegasi, while we also find out that Pipp has told their mother that Zipp talked to Sunny and Izzy in the dungeon. Queen Haven explains Zipp that faking to be able to fly makes their subjects feel safe and says that she will understand one day, before she calls showtime for Pipp.
The family dynamic between them is very exciting and makes me wish we would have seen more of it. The only weakness of the Generation 5 Movie (well, aside from the full-CGI animation that fails to capture the charm of traditional animation) is its short length that doesn't allow for many things to be shown in greater detail. But it wouldn't be fair to judge the movie because of that, as Hasbro dictates the length and insisted on 90 minutes.
The heist happens, but unfortunately doesn't go as planned. Sunny and Izzy manage to sneak into the throne room and steal the crown from Queen Haven's head while she listens to Pipp's new song "Glowin' Up", which marks the fourth song of the movie. But when the queen's pet dog Cloud Puff, aka the cutest, flying pomeranian, chases them and takes the crown with him and Hitch shows up to arrest Sunny, the resulting chaos leads to it that the attending pegasi discover that Pipp can't actually fly. They have to flee, chased by Hitch, and lose the pegasus crystal in the rush of the moment. This part of the movie manages, despite being short, to create a lot of suspense that is brilliantly supported by Pipp's song. For a few minutes, the Generation 5 Movie feels like a heist movie and, somehow, the writers managed to squeeze the feeling of an entire heist movie into these few minutes. The writing is brilliant.
Hiding out in a dark back alley of Zephyr Heights, Sunny, Izzy, Zipp and Hitch watch a news report on one of the screens and learn that Queen Haven has been arrested for betraying her subjects. Pipp suddenly joins them, frazzled from her last-minute escape and angry that her show got ruined and that Zipp left her there. She has brought the pegasus crystal with her and asks them furiously why getting it was so important that they ruined everything for her. Another broadcast, this time on Pipp's phone, informs them about it that a warrant for arrest of her and Zipp is out. Pipp freaks over it, asking why all of this happens, but Zipp explains her that they can bring magic back. Pipp is annoyed, but agrees, and shows them a way out of the city.
It's here where the group dynamic between them starts coming into play. And it's a great one. An idealistic earth pony activist, an innocent and crazy misfit unicorn, a rebelling pegasus princess, an earth pony sheriff trapped in a conflict between his duty and his best friend and a fallen pegasus popstar princess. This constellation of an unlikely team of heroes makes me wish that we would have seen more of them travelling together during their quest, but again, Hasbro-mandated runtime. But what we do see of them interacting together is great. I hope to see lots of that in ponyfics.
Sunny and the rest of the team leave Zephyr Heights and make Bridlewood, the home of the unicorns, their next destination. Meanwhile, in Sunny's and Hitch's hometown, Sprout has appointed himself as the Emperor of Maretime Bay. Questioned by his mother for overtaking her factory's construction work, he reveals that earth ponies won't defend themselves from pegasi and unicorns anymore, but will instead go into offense. Hitch told him not to start a war, but Sprout didn't listen.
Sunny, Izzy, Pipp, Hitch and Zipp make it past an obstacle in the form of a collapsed bridge over a canyon, by Izzy cutting down a tree with her horn and creating a makeshift bridge that way (and also confirming that unicorn horns can be strong weapons even without magic). It becomes night and all of them, except for Hitch, sit down at a campfire together. Hitch has to be convinced by Sunny to join them and that Izzy, Pipp and Zipp aren't their enemies. Around the fire, when Izzy is asked by Hitch why she came to Maretime Bay, she pulls Sunny's card out of her mane, the same card Sunny wrote as a message to pegasi and unicorns when she was a filly. Izzy explains that she always wanted to visit Maretime Bay ever since she found the card. Sunny instantly recognizes her card and her face is enough to make Izzy realize that she was the one who sent it. In the emotions that result from this discovery and from Sunny explaining how she and her dad always wanted to prove that all ponies are meant to be friends, Hitch changes his mind and says that he wants to do his part, as well.
There is another recurring pattern in the movie that becomes clear in this scene. Every time Sunny talks about her dad, or even just implies him, her voice becomes sad and sorrowful. She never outright says that he is dead, but it can be felt in Sunny's voice when she talks about him. This is a fantastic use of "Show, Don't Tell" and the implications and how they are conveyed are so much more effective in creating emotions than Sunny simply saying that her dad has died would be.
And this is also a perfect moment to praise the voice acting. It is constantly of a very high quality and, in moment like these, shines especially strong. I can't say for sure without direct side-by-side comparisons, but from what I can hear in the Generation 5 Movie, it might even beat the emotion of Generation 4's voice acting.
On the next day, the group arrives in Bridlewood which, as the name already says, is a huge forest. It looks dark and spooky in some parts, but also like a magical forest in others. The crystals it is filled with support this feeling. Izzy equips them with fake unicorn horns and hides Pipp's and Zipp's wings under capes while singing a song about making them fit in, the movie's fifth song and last musical number called "Fit Right In". Which is also the title of one of the last songs in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Generation 4, sung by Rarity in "She's all Yak", the seventh episode of Season 9. I don't know if giving the song that title was intentional, but a wonderful connection is being made with that. :heart:
Inside the house, Izzy reveals that she doesn't have friends in Bridlewood, when she says that she never got to present her special tea table to actual friends.
While Izzy leads them all to a teahouse, Sunny remarks how the other unicorns are so different from Izzy when she sees them acting depressed and without passion or happiness. Izzy responds that she gets to hear that a lot and that her sparkle is a bit too bright for Bridlewood. Izzy is, albeit not being an activist, an outsider in Bridlewood just like Sunny has become an outsider in Maretime Bay.
Izzy further tells them how superstitious unicorns are, after they saw a group of foals on a playground acting weird, and that they have to do a ritual to ward of bad luck each time they hear one of four forbidden words: Magic, Wing, Feather and Mayonnaise.
In the teahouse, Izzy introduces them to a collector of crystals who might have the unicorn crystal in his possession. He tells them that he lost all of his crystals in a limbo contest with another unicorn named Alphabittle, who is the owner of the teahouse. They find out that Alphabittle has indeed won the unicorn crystal and Sunny challenges him in solving a cube puzzle. She offers the pegasus crystal as prize if she should lose. Alphabittle accepts the challenge, but changes it from the cube puzzle to a dancing game, something that Sunny isn't good at. Alphabittle, who does not take Sunny serious, says she has to win only one round out of three. Sunny loses the first two. But Pipp encourages her and Sunny manages to win Round 3 and the unicorn crystal. While cheering with the others, she accidentally throws off her fake horn and reveals that she is an earth pony. Pipp, Hitch and Zipp also take off their disguises and Alphabittle, furious over seeing earth ponies and pegasi in Bridlewood, claims that Sunny betrayed him and demands the pegasus crystal from her. Alphabittle and the other unicorns in the teahouse threaten them, but they can escape when Hitch shouts all forbidden words at once, trapping the unicorns in their ritual, and they flee with the unicorn crystal.
During this entire part of the movie, the unicorns of Bridlewood are portrayed and depicted like a society of criminal underdogs, the exact opposite of what everyone thinks of when hearing "unicorn", an impression that the trailer has already given. They don't seem to have a ruler or a government and Alphabittle seems to be their leader and feels like a corrupt mafia boss. This is also something the Generation 5 Movie didn't have much time to touch on, but there is hope we will see more of this unique society of underdog unicorns in the Generation 5 Show. They are my favourite of all three pony tribes in Equestria's future already since I've watched the trailer. I want to see a lot more of them.
Having gotten away, Sunny and the others have a surprise run-in with Queen Haven, who could flee her kingdom, but is being chased by her former guards. Alphabittle and several unicorns, among them one of the unicorn foals from earlier, catch up with them and it comes to a small showdown situation. Queen Haven demands the pegasus crystal back, Alphabittle claims it by saying he won it fair and square, which Queen Haven doubts and she says that all unicorns are cheaters. A fight is about to break out when Alphabittle says in return that pegasi always think they're better than unicorns and when the pegasus guards, momentarily forgetting their queen's betrayal, react offended over the insult of their former ruler. Everypony but the unicorn filly, who is visibly distraught over the impending fight, are ready to go at each other's throats, but Sunny prevents an escalation by reminding them that nopony has magic.
Finally properly explaining herself and what her plan is, the unicorns and pegasi agree to let Sunny and Izzy connect the crystals to bring magic back. They move the crystals together, watched with great anticipation by the gathered unicorns and pegasi. But then something happens that Sunny didn't expect: The crystals don't react with each other, the magic doesn't come back and her theory turns out as false. Feeling desperate and regretting all the trouble she caused, Sunny gives the two crystals back to Alphabittle and Queen Haven, apologizes and leaves Bridlewood. Hitch says goodbye to Izzy, Pipp and Zipp, calling them friends for the first time, and follows Sunny back to Maretime Bay.
Sunny enters her house, this time without fixing the picture, and after sitting at the window of her bedroom for a while, she begins to put away everything that's connected to her dad's research, including her figurines of the Elements of Harmony, heartbroken and hopeless after she failed to accomplish his dream. Following one last clue, however, Sunny notices something about the table she used to play on with Hitch and Sprout when they were foals, the gravures on the table look just like the pegasus crystal and the unicorn crystal. Sunny takes a round, white gem out the music box her dad made for her and places it on the table right under the depiction of the pegasus crystal. A secret mechanism activates and the earth pony crystal, as nothing else is the white gem, sinks deeper into the table and slots for the pegasus crystal and the unicorn crystal appear.
The very emotional finale of the movie starts here. Connecting the dots and overjoyed over her discovery, Sunny runs off to tell Hitch everything. Before she can explain her discovery, though, they are interrupted by loud sounds and see almost all earth ponies of Maretime Bay marching towards the Canterlogic Factory, where Sprout gets ready to hold a speech in front of a flag with his face on it. He has truly become the Emperor of Maretime Bay at this point and finished his development to a villain.
Seeing that Hitch has returned, Sprout denounces him and says that he is now doing what he couldn't, attacking their enemies, and proceeds to reveal a giant battle robot that he let the workers of his mother construct in the factory and wants to use to attack and eliminate the other two pony tribes. An explanation by Sunny and Hitch that the unicorns and pegasi are harmless proves futile and the information that the other tribes don't have their magic makes Sprout just more eager to attack them. He gets on board of his robot and announces that his first destination will be Bridlewood.
Sunny and Hitch get ready to warn the unicorns there. But before they can leave Maretime Bay, Izzy, Pipp and Zipp show up and say they followed Sunny and Hitch because they wanna stay friends. Queen Haven, the pegasus guards, Alphabittle and some other unicorns arrive and Izzy, Pipp and Zipp are being told by Alphabittle and Queen Haven to return home with them before they get into more trouble.
In this moment, Sprout arrives at the scene with his battle robot. Queen Haven tries to reason with him by saying they didn't come to fight, but he refuses to accept what he sees as surrender and gets ready to attack them all. Sunny wants to stop him with magic and she asks for the other two crystals from Queen Haven and Alphabittle, who give them to her. Sprout has overheard everything and when Sunny hurries to her lighthouse with Izzy, Pipp, Hitch and Zipp in tow, Sprout changes his target and steers his robot to Sunny's home to stop the pegasi and unicorns from getting their magic back, knowing that they will stop him if they do. A battle ensues during which Hitch and Zipp, with some support by Phyllis, try to stop Sprout's robot and to convince him of giving up, while Sunny, Izzy and Pipp are inserting the crystals into their slots. They are hindered in their attempts, though, as Sprout rams with his robot into the lighthouse several times, despite best efforts being taken to stop him, and causes it to crack and fall apart more and more.
After the struggles caused by Sprout, Sunny and Izzy manage to bring all three crystals together just when the top of the lighthouse breaks off completely by one final thrust from Sprout's robot and starts to fall down. Like earlier in Bridlewood, though, nothing happens and there is no reaction coming from the crystals. Sunny's home gets destroyed by Sprout's attacks, the crystals get buried under debris and Sunny and everypony else, minus Sprout, are devastated over the destruction. Sunny, however, figured out why the crystals don't react and tells everypony else that it's not the crystals who have to be brought together, but them. Looking at the broken picture of her and her dad from the entrance of her house, Sunny explains that they can stay separated by fear and mistrust or that they can choose friendship and love. Her voice breaks at the word "love" while looking at her dad on the picture, once more implying that he died.
Moved by Sunny's speech, Phyllis, Queen Haven and Alphabittle put the pieces of the broken picture together in a symbolical act of cooperation. In response to this, the three crystals finally react, start to glow and circle around Sunny, who is being given wings and a horn made of magic by them, before the crystals connect and send out a colorful wave of magic resembling a sonic rainboom that gives everypony in Equestria their magical abilities back. This moment is emphasized by one of the most beautiful BGMs I have ever heard anywhere, a mystical flute melody that I describe as sounding like a signal that is played on an instrument by scattered members of a jungle tribe so they can locate where they are and can find each other again. Or, like a call to reunite that is sent out to all three pony tribes. It's the melody of the three crystals and it was also heard when Sunny looked at the stained-glass window in the airship station ruins under Zephyr Heights and when she and Izzy brought the pegasus and unicorn crystal together.
I couldn't internalize a whole lot of the BGM yet (and I hope RainShadow will return and pick up his BGM extractions again), but this one alone is already making clear that we have a very talented, new BGM composer who knows their craft at work here! I will definitely make the melody of the crystals my phone ringtone! :heart:
The unicorn filly from earlier, who stayed behind in Bridlewood, leaves for Maretime Bay to excitedly tell her dad about the return of magic.
In Maretime Bay, all earth ponies have lost their fears of pegasi and unicorns and start to make first, friendly connections with them, while the unicorns and pegasi do likewise.
From here, the movie transitions in a very sudden way into its first credits, a slightly animated sequence that shows several items that were important throughout the course of the events, alongside the names of some of the production crew, and while Pipp's song "Glowin' Up" is being played in the background. At the end of this sequence, the stained-glass window in the ruins of the airship station under Zephyr Heights is shown again, this time fully intact and with the earth pony crystal included, as well. When the window leaves the screen again, the movie switches to a short post-credits scene before the final credits roll.
The unicorn filly from Bridlewood, an earth pony filly from Maretime Bay and a pegasus filly from Zephyr Heights sing a line from Pipp's song and then laugh together, making fun of the song. The pegasus filly suggests racing to a bridge, which possibly is the bridge that Sunny and the others couldn't cross because it had collapsed, and they run up a hill and into the sunset together, laughing and giggling. A more subdued version of the melody of the crystals is heard again during this moment. Shortly before they disappear behind the hill, the hoofsteps of the earth pony filly begin to glow with a mysterious, multi-colored, magical light that grows ever stronger..... leaving the audience guessing what it means as the movie suddenly cuts into the second credits.
And this is significant. These three fillies..... they are going to become important. And I think what will happen is that the three of them will be the new mane characters of the Generation 5 Show. Three fillies, one earth pony, one pegasus and one unicorn, who became friends in the wake of the events..... Their appearance at the end of the Generation 5 Movie and their friendship is obviously a symbol for it that the three pony tribes make peace and start to become friends again. But with how the three of them were spotlit here, at the very end of the movie, and despite not having any big roles in the movie before or, in the case of the earth pony filly and the pegasus filly, not even any roles at all, it is clear that there is more behind their appearance than just a symbol for the reunification of the three pony tribes. If they wouldn't play a bigger role later, they would have never been so specifically shown to us.
None of them are credited with names, even the unicorn filly is only credited as "Unicorn Kid", but that is easy to explain with it that Hasbro does not want to let us know their names yet and that it wants to present them to us later. I predict that we will see them as the new mane characters of the Generation 5 Show again next year. And I can hardly wait for this. I love Sunny and I like Izzy and I like all five of them together, but three fillies as the mane characters of the Generation 5 Show will be lovely and when that happens, my initial thought that I had when we were still thinking that Sunny, Izzy and Pipp are fillies, that Generation 5 will have foals as mane characters, will become true, after all, then.
Applebloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle will forever remain my favourite fillies and favourite ponies, but I want to see these three new fillies in action and I can't wait until we will. This is a perfect end for the Generation 5 Movie. The speculation rising from this and the hype it builds, it couldn't have ended in a better way. Now we will have to wait about a year until the Generation 5 Show begins, but it will be well worth the wait. :heart:


And that concludes my first Generation 5 review! It feels better than anything to be able to do that again! I focused on the plot here, but I will write additional reviews/analyses of the songs, the animation and the ponies who star in the Generation 5 Movie, and perhaps of the BGM if I can find good, clear versions of it, in the coming weeks! Generation 5 has only just started now and there will be so much to discover and analyze! More will happen very soon!


Stay easy as a filly!

~ Fluttercheer

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