Nostalgia has been erased in a revamp of the 1980s classic My Little Pony with the once-whimsical characters now pushing progressive political messaging, and the baddies painted as being ‘anti-science’.
Netflix‘s woke My Little Pony: A New Generation introduces its young viewers to themes of tolerance, prejudice and even fascism as it turns the colorful tiny horses into political pawns.
The film depicts anti-magic ponies – the ‘the baddies’ – as ignorant anti-science creatures likely to spread irrational fear and untruths.
It also includes a cameo from a character called Deputy Sprout – complete with a tuft of blond mane and bushy eyebrows – who is portrayed as the antagonist. The character appears to be based on former president Donald Trump.
The entitled and spoiled pony takes a bigoted attitude toward unicorns and the Pegasus, and sets out to battle against them. He later atones for his rage-filled ways after losing the battle to his magical enemies, who outpowered him with their friendly and harmonic ways.
Astute reviewers say the messages contained in the movie are applicable beyond Equestria
Pipp Petals (above) is among the characters featured in My Little Pony: The Next Generation
The demagogue character is a strong contrast to cheerful Sunny (voiced by Vanessa Hudgens), a curious and optimistic animal who wants to restore Equestria’s harmony and magic.
The film’s heroine strives to make peace with outsiders, and teams up with others in an effort to make a more impactful change.
‘I think that it really reflects the times,’ Hudgens told ABC 6. ‘My character believes in inclusion and friendship.’
Kimiko Glenn, who voiced good unicorn Izzy, agreed.
‘It’s such a sweet little message to be reminded of,’ Glenn told the outlet. ‘Until you’ve experienced someone, you can’t know how they actually live. We flourish when we come together. It’s an important message.
The movie was largely a hit with viewers and has a 9/10 score on imdb.com.
But some reviewers said they miss the elements that made the series special in the 1980s.
‘As a person growing up with the old my little pony (which I very much enjoyed),’ one reviewer said. ‘I knew (and loved) the main characters… but now they have added in characters like pipp petals. WHO THE H*** IS PIPP PETALS???? ‘I feel like they have wiped away my childhood and replaced it with this new and ‘improved’ show. I wouldn’t recommend this show at all.’
The revamped version of My Little Pony also includes a cameo from a character called Deputy Sprout (right) – complete with a tuft of blond mane and bushy eyebrows – who is portrayed as the antagonist. The character has the same hair and busy eyebrows as former persident Donald Trump
Sunny’s cheerful demeanor helps her unify a divided Equestria
Ponies such as Hitch and Sunny face some sad times as they battle angry anti-magic believers
For those wondering, Pip Peddals is a Pegasus pony who likes to sing, and doesn’t always think about the consequences of her actions.
Netflix said the clearly fictional film depicts a divided nation.
‘Equestria’s divided,’ it said in the synopsis. ‘But a bright-eyed hero believes Earth Ponies, Pegasi and Unicorns should be pals — and, hoof to heart, she’s determined to prove it.’
The Netflix movie appears to be following in the footsteps of Disney, which reimagined Belle as a feminist in 2017’s Beauty in the Beast.
Variety praised the film for imparting positive messages on its viewers in the cartoon.
‘Distrust and hatred of unicorns and Pegasi is ingrained in the minds of the anthropomorphized equine population of Maretime Bay — and that prejudice has run rampant,’ wrote reviewer Courtney Howard.
‘Schools have scrubbed the past from their history books, and their major commercial business, run by war-mongering profiteer Phyllis Cloverleaf (Elizabeth Perkins), is built solely on stoking fear of winged or horned ponykind. Yet the foreign creatures have become something of a curiosity for headstrong empath Sunny Starscout (Vanessa Hudgens) and her father Argyle (Michael McKean), who both believe in a path to understanding.’
A New York Times review says the movie ‘stages a political awakening about tolerance, prejudice, even fascism — sweetened, of course, with musical numbers, cutesy gags, and pastel vistas’.
‘However generic (just this year, ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ depicted a similar treasure hunt geared toward bringing together diverse groups), the film’s messaging about unity and the need for a new generation to band together against misinformation and rabble rousing isn’t the worst thing,’ it read.
‘At the same time, parents might get a kick out of the film’s surprisingly unsubtle references to American politics — something to numb the pain of watching yet another ‘My Little Pony’ movie, which the kiddies will demand whether you (or I) like it or not.’