Title: My little Pony: The Movie (1986)
Summary: Capture the magic and escape to Dream Valley to join all your favourite Little Ponies! Take a magical journey to Ponyland just as the Little Ponies’ annual Spring Festival is about to begin. While the ponies enjoy their festive spring party, the evil witch Hydia is up in her gloomy home, the Volcano of Gloom, plotting to turn Ponyland into a wasteland. When her first attempt fails, she decides to cutterover Ponyland with a purple ooze called the “Smooze”. It looks like the end of Ponyland, unless all the magical creatures of Dream Valley answer the Ponies’ call for help!
Grade: C (it would be an F, but that Smooze song is sooooo damned catchy.)
Notes: You could do a drinking game with this movie. Every time there is merchandise to be bought (aside from the ponies themselves), take a shot. But you’ll die. Like really die. Instead, have a carrot stick. Or something. I don’t know. I’m not good at health and safety warnings.
Second Note: Several times I refer to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. To avoid having to write out this title over and over, I’ve abbreviated to FiM.
Timeline: I never really understood the order of this series, because the first episode of season 1 has everyone meeting the Flutter Ponies, who they didn’t meet until the movie, but the movie references things – without explaining them, ffs – which feels like it should be in the TV show. I’m really hoping bat will help me out on this, because she’s seen the whole show multiple times.
[bat: Basically with My Little Pony the toys came first, which were then shilled in two cartoon television specials: My Little Pony (aka “Rescue/Escape From Midnight Castle” or “My Little Pony in Dreamland” if you were in the UK) and Escape from Catrina (or Katrina, people seem to argue about this) before this feature length film was released in 1986. Subsequently, the G1 cartoon series followed. The television specials were chopped into pieces and added to the cartoon series, at the end of both seasons, respectively.]
Edit: For reference, I recapped this first, and then bat emailed me and said did I want a tag team partner for MLP, and if so, would I consider doing things in the right order? (*grin*) Thankfully, bat knows which order the episodes go in, so I did this recap, then watched Nightmare/Midnight Castle then Catrina/Katrina. But I stand by my questions. This is a stand-alone piece of media, there shouldn’t be so many unanswered questions.
I think my thoughts about this (and, by extension, the Smooze episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) are the very definition of “what could have been” at TV Tropes.
Let’s look at this objectively. A bunch of fundamentally nice characters are having a perfectly nice time when a tsunami of purple ooze crashes over their home, obliterating everything in its path, and hardening to a solid shell when it is finished, forcing the survivors to go on a quest to find a way of de-smoozing their home and friends. When the Smooze hits a living creature, that creature becomes grumpy and disagreeable. If the Smooze has hardened, there is a good chance that when they de-Smooze, they will find the corpses of their suffocated friends.
That, my friends, is horrific.
[bat: But it was the 1980s and all us kids watched Artax drown in the Swamps of Sadness in The Neverending Story yet he was resurrected without a scratch at the end of the film, which was released two years prior to this Smooze-fest… Okay, 1980s “children’s” movies messed up the lot of us.]
Instead, we get this…
The movie opens with tweeting birds have some lolz-fun by dropping snow on each other before flying through a sparkling rainbow. And I think that pretty much sets the tone. Also, the annoying birds continue to drop snow on other animals, and the animation repeats several times. Actually, this scene, if you ignore the birds being annoying asshats, is probably a good base for the Winter Wrap-Up episode in FiM.
Then the most annoying earworm song kicks in, showing us the ponies going about setting up for their spring festival. Also, the sea ponies are living in a river near a waterfall, just outside of Dream Castle. Which means they must be freshwater ponies. Except for the whole story in the 1984 annual, where they talk to a whale in the ocean.
We cut to Baby Lickety-Split, who is dancing at the Baby Bonnet School of Dance (BUY OUR MERCH!) [bat: I STILL HAVE IT.] while Spike plays the piano. Baby Lickety-Split makes up a spinning twirl and Spike asks where she learned that. She says she made it up, and he says she’d better “un-make it” before the recital, because it’s not part of the routine and she’ll mess up everyone else. Baby Lickety-Split says “I can do whatever I want!”
[bat: Baby Lickety-Split is a bitch. She annoys the ever living shit out of me, just as she did in 1986.]
I’m going to say it here: all the baby ponies talk in baby voices. I really hate baby voices. South Park does adorable kid voices (for kids Ike’s age), but this is just feigning lisps and cloying cuteness. I was once out with a bunch of work friends, and the odd bloke on the floor invited his wife (which caused all of us to raise our eyebrows, because nobody else had invited their partners). His wife, who was at least thirty, talked in a baby voice all night, coming out with such blinders as “Wifey wan’ dink-dink!” (Please, husband, would you be so kind as to fetch me a tasty beverage?) and “Wifey wuv oooh!” (I am awfully fond of you, my beloved husband.)
Over in the Volcano of Gloom, the witches, Hydia, and her daughters, Reeka and Draggle are being evil.
Since every site I go on contradicts each other over who voiced which role, I can’t tell you which daughter is which with any certainty. The tall skinny one is voiced by Madeline Kahn – or, as I always think of her, Mrs White from Clue, and I think of her as Draggle. The short fat one who is always eating is voiced by Rhea Perlman, and I’m sure she’s Reeka. I’ve edited this paragraph about eight times, and I don’t actually care if I’m wrong at this point. Unless one of the actresses gets in contact, that’s my cannon.
Hydia looks into her cauldron and sees a vision of how much fun the ponies are having (and apparently, how identical quadruplets with no symbols/cutie marks are doing the may pole) and gets in a huff. When the sisters get into a shoving match for literally no reason, she explodes. Hydia is frustrated with her kids for not being evil enough, and she hates it when they call her mother, or any variation. She wants everything to go back to being “dark and dank and dreary“, like it used to be before the ponies came along and make everything nice.
And we have our first song, “Evil Witch Like Me”, where she encourages them to be as evil as possible, listing all of their evil relatives’ bad deeds.
Hydia charges them with the task of ruining the Spring Festival.
Back over in Ponyland, all the woodland creatures are gathered to watch the baby ponies dance, although as far as I can see, only Fizzy and Gusty have shown up to represent the ponies. That’s ok, Gusty has always been one of my favourites. And that’s before I found out she was voiced by Bart Simpson.
(Side story about Gusty. One day Wing and I were talking about our childhood toys, and I said I always wanted Gusty, but never got her. This is not a reflection on my mother – she bought me Dream Castle, so she was never stingy with gifts, I just don’t think I ever told her Gusty was on my list. About a week later, Gusty arrived in the post. Wing had found one on eBay and bought her for me. And this was before I was even collecting. It was just a random act of kindness.)
Buttons announces the baby ponies, and out they all come, except Baby Lickety-Split, who comes out late, dressed differently to the rest and does her spinning twirl that knocks everyone over.
The woodland creatures watching dissolve into hysterics, because there’s nothing funnier than an injury at a dance recital. Also, Sundance is both on the stage and in the audience – or that’s adult Sundance, and she’s busting a gut over the hilarity of her own child falling over at her very first ever dance recital. #StayClassy.
Buttons brings down the curtain, and then reams out Baby Lickety-Split in front of everyone. “Look what you’re wearing!” (BUY OUR FUCKING MERCH!), and then Baby Sundance and Baby Lofty chip in with “show off!” and “hot dog!” Baby Lickety-Split says she’s sorry, she didn’t mean to spoil everything, but Buttons keeps on yelling until Baby Lickety-Split runs away in floods of tears.
Way to adult there, Buttons. The kid is crying and apologising and you’re still yelling. Twilight Sparkle would not pull this shit.
Spike runs after her, but Baby Lickety-Split’s mind is made up, she’s running away! And here’s our next song: “I’ll Go It Alone!”
She runs off to the Lullaby Nursery (BUY OUR FUCKING MERCH!) [bat: There is a photograph of me sitting inside the actual box the Lullaby Nursery came in, the year I received it as a Christmas gift. I still can’t believe I was ever that small.] to pack everything she owns into a bag (what is she packing? For the most part, ponies don’t even wear clothes!), while Spike protests every step of the way. They hit a compromise, he’ll go with her. Although Baby Lickety-Split says no, Spike follows anyway, but not before writing a note to the adult ponies telling them everything.
(Buttons, this is all on you, you bully. Yes, Baby Lickety-Split is an entitled brat, but to keep yelling after you’d got an apology is just mean.)
Back at the festival, Reeka and Draggle try to make things dark, dank or dreary. After discovering that “dank” means wet, they try to flood the place using magic. They are thwarted by some baby sea ponies and a big shell, who instead send the water at the witches. The ponies see them and think they’re “cute”, which offends the witches. As they walk away, they agree to tell Hydia they made the festival messy, which is technically the truth.
Baby Lickety-Split and Spike come to a massive canyon with a waterfall. Despite not having wings, Baby Lickety-Split thinks she can fly over it. Baby Lickety-Split is a fucking moron. [bat: Yep.] When she leaps, Spike grabs on to her and they both end up falling down the canyon, and with the sheer sides, they can’t climb back up.
Back home, Baby Sundance breaks the news that Baby Lickety-Split has run away. Buttons wonders if she was too harsh with her at the recital. Uh, ya think? But Magic Star tells her not to blame herself. Gusty and Shady say they’ll join her. Gusty says that Baby Lickety-Split loves the Bushwoolies, so maybe she’s gone to visit them. Magic Star says “Good idea! Let’s ride!”
Let’s ride? Who’s riding you? That’s like a human yelling, “Let’s piggy back!” before running off unencumbered.
Back at the Volcano of Gloom, Hydia is wailing over the massive disappointment her daughters are. She decides they’re spoiled, she’s given them shabby clothes, horrible food (in this universe, that really is the mark of good mothering from a witch) and they give nothing back. One of her friend’s daughters made Easter Sunday happen on a Tuesday. Which is a pretty good gag, considering how poor the rest of the script is, but I really do prefer Gen 4, where they have their own unique traditions, and not the human/Christian ones. Sudden thought: so… Ponyland had their own Jesus, who was crucified and rose again? WTF, Hasbro?
Hydia decides it’s time for the Smooze – the same stuff that wiped out Grundleland – that will make up for the embarrassment of Reeka and Draggle’s failure. And the kids are expected to get the ingredients. Including the Flume, which they really don’t want to get. And here comes the next song, “I’ll Do the Dirty Work”, as they try to dodge being the one that has to get the Flume. Doesn’t this video have the most glitchy/awesome preview cap?
Neither of them end up getting it, so Reeka suggests they pretend they got it. Draggle’s worried Hydia will find out, so Reeka gives all the ingredients a good mix and that should be fine.
Back with Spike and Baby Lickety-Split, they still can’t get out of the canyon and cry for help.
Above them, Magic Star, Gusty and Shady (three of my favourite toys) think they can hear something, but the waterfall is blocking it out. Then they shrug it off and move on. Throughout this exchange, Shady constantly worries (“Maybe it’s going to rain. Maybe we’ll get all wet and catch pneumonia!”) and Gusty (♥) grouses that Shady’s bad luck.
Next up we meet the Bushwoolies, brightly coloured blobs of fur who talk like Rain Man. If they have names, I have no idea what they are. I had to wiki it, and found the most adorable piece of trivia: The Bushwoolies made a brief cameo appearance as plushes in a claw machine in the My Little Pony Equestria Girls special “Mirror Magic”. I always thought I wouldn’t want to collect them, but I ended up buying my first at PonyCon 2017, so there’s another Thing I Do. And that’s it. They rejoice that it’s spring, and that’s all that happens. What a pointless scene.
[bat: The Bushwoolies were kept underground as slaves by Catrina. So they never saw the sun, never experienced the seasons. Thus, with context, now you know why they’re stupid excited about Spring.]
Reeka and Draggle take their ingredients back to Mama – I mean Hydia! – and when she asks about the Flume, Reeka knocks Draggle flying, so she stumbles into Hydia and the bucket and all the ingredients splat into the volcano. Hydia is upset she didn’t get to do the making of the Smooze, which I can sort of get. If you’re looking forward to the doing of a thing and someone cuts that part out for you, I think you should be allowed to kick them into a volcano. On the other hand, she just kept reaching into the bucket and pulling out brown blobs, so how she knew – especially after Reeka had mixed it – which brown blob what was, I don’t know.
The Smooze starts oozing all over Ponyland, and several birds and woodland creatures run away.
Then we cut back to the Bushwoolies, who are laden down with plates of food to go to the Spring Festival – why? The recital is over? Surely it’s finished now? It’s been hours since it started as Reeka and Draggle were reading a book when it started, got scolded for not being evil, went down to the fair and tried to flood it, went home, got scolded again, were sent out to get Smooze ingredients from a list taller than two Reekas, got all but one, and they made and set loose the Smooze.
By that reckoning, surely the fair has to be wrapping up by now, even if it was doing a standard 9am-3pm run. Unless fairs in the USA go longer than that?
Anyway, Magic Star, Gusty and Shady rock up and ask if they’ve seen Baby Lickety-Split because she ran away. The Bushwoolies have not.
Then the Smooze hits, as it comes over the hill, it causes the ground to split… for some reason.
Everyone runs for their life, the blue and the yellow Bushwoolies stop to pick up the cakes the others dropped in their panic (morons), and Gusty goes back for them, leading to all three to get smoozed. I would have a screencap here, but the film does an aggressive fade-to-black before it even hits them. I don’t know if this is bad filmmaking or if the MPAA insisted that somebody think of the children. I lean towards the former.
On the fade back in, the Smooze has abruptly stopped oozing and has solidified. Shady blames herself for the Smooze, and Gusty agrees with her, because the being smoozed makes you disagreeable, kind of like being Discorded in FiM, only not half as well-written. (“Look out! Here comes TOM!”)
Magic Star reassures Shady it’s not her fault, and Gusty and the two Bushwoolies are just in a snit because they’ve been smoozed. And here we have why this film sucks. Apparently Magic Star knows all about Smooze. How? Don’t know, she never says. One of the things that’s great about the issues in FiM is that Twilight always has to go away and do some research on how to resolve things – usually with her friends. She doesn’t just know, and if she does, she bounces around like an adorable nerd, delighted that she had read about $villain in $book just recently.
Magic Star then tells Shady to keep looking for Spike and Baby Lickety-Split, while she goes back to warn everyone in Ponyland about the impending Smooze. The purple Bushwoolie sticks with her while everyone else leaves with Magic Star. Seriously, why don’t these guys have names? Their toys do, but I can’t be bothered to look them up.
Back to Hydia in the castle, and she’s watching everything unfold. Except the Smooze is moving as she watches, so… it just came to a halt as far as the eye could see around Magic Star and co, and is actually still racing towards Dream Castle? Or she’s watching on a delay? Or it’s a continuity error?
Reeka is eating stuffed bat wings. I wouldn’t usually mention this, but Raven is currently recapping Dungeons & Dragons and just asked me a grammar question about boiled bat wings, so I thought it was fun that we were both watching someone eat bat wings. (Notice the lack of apostrophes in that – we couldn’t figure out whether it was boiled bats wings, boiled bat’s wings or boiled bats’ wings.) And that’s all that happens in the scene. Seriously, they were really padding this commercial for their merchandise, weren’t they?
Back at the waterfall, Spike and Baby Lickety-Split still can’t get out, but this time the Smooze gushes over the waterfall, forcing them to hide behind it, and find a secret cave. Of course, if actual physics applied, the Smooze would flood the cave and suffocate them, but it doesn’t.
Apparently the Spring Fair is still going, but it’s very lacklustre, the animators only put a few ponies in the shot. Magic Star rocks up and tells everyone to get into Dream Castle to hide from the Smooze. Fizzy then asks if they’ll like it, is it something nice? If someone runs up all sweaty and screams, “Get inside! $thing is coming!” the odds are pretty strong that $thing is not something you’ll like.
So while everyone runs for their life, North Star and Wind Whistler (two pegasus ponies) get a tub of water and dump it on Gusty and the two smoozed Bushwoolies. This just pisses them off, but doesn’t wash the Smooze off. They stand around talking about the Smooze for a bit longer, because when you’re running for your life, that’s what you need to do. Wind Whistler says that she knows what will save them, and Megan has it.
Who’s Megan? Fuck you for asking, ok? (BUY OUR MERCH!)
We cut to what I assume is the human world, but it’s never clear in this movie. Perhaps bat can clarify with her knowledge of the rest of the series? [bat: Short answer? Yes, “real” world.] Megan and her two younger siblings, Danny and Molly, are at home on their farm. Molly is jumping a Shetland pony over a jump taller than itself. As a small child, I owned a Shetland pony and I just want to point out: (1) Shetlands can jump, but not taller than themselves; (2) Molly is too big for that pony; and (3) forcing a pony to jump above its ability with someone too large for it on board is cruel. And most Shetlands are bolshy enough to drop you on your head for trying. Yes, I know Shetlands are very strong and I’m not commenting on Molly’s weight, I’m commenting on the fact her legs are too long to make a pony jump that high. This bugs me every damned time.
Wind Whistler and North Star rock up and Danny and Molly are not really blown away that there are small, multi-coloured, flying ponies, but they are mildly interested that Megan knows them. Again, we get no explanation for this within the movie. And that’s not ok. A movie, even one that acts as a spin-off, should contain enough information to stand on its own two (or four) feet (or hooves). This one half-arses everything.
[bat: Longer answer is, in the first TV special, Firefly ends up crashing into 12 year old Megan while seeking help and somehow Megan A) accepts there are talking pegasi and B) agrees to go on a life or death rescue mission without telling her parents. Yeah. Molly was released as a doll along with Baby Sundance who had a special cutie mark (“It’s Malibu Stacey, and she’s got a new hat!”) but I can’t remember if that was released before or after the film. Danny was introduced in the film. I don’t remember if he ever got a doll. Doubt it.]
Wind Whistler asks Megan for the Rainbow of Light. Why does she have it? What is it? Again, fuck you for asking. Because the plot says so. They do explain that the witches from the Volcano of Gloom are trying to destroy them, but not much else.
[bat: Short, spoiler-filed answer = the Rainbow of Light was given to the Ponies by the Moochick to battle Tirek in the “Midnight Castle” special.]
Also, Wind Whistler and North Star have really prissy voices that grate on me just as much as the baby voices. I’m very disagreeable about everyone’s voice except for Gusty’s, really. I don’t like Wind Whistler’s toy either, because she’s in one of my least favourite poses, the Whizzer pose.
Megan says she wants to go with them, but Wind Whistler says “No, it’s our fight.” Wow, fuck you, Wind Whistler, she was only being nice. Anyway, this resolve lasts for all of three seconds before Molly – the youngest – says she wants to go too, then they all climb aboard the ponies (again, they are all too tall for this) and fly off.
[bat: Wind Whistler was also a bitch. And I think this film influenced how I played with her in imagination games, because she became permanently stuck-up thanks to this portrayal. Thanks, writers.]
At this point, I always imagine Molly’s poor Shetland wandering around its field for hours, still saddled and bridled, tripping over the reins or the jumps and injuring itself. And Molly coming back and not giving a single fuck, because I FUCKING HATE THESE KIDS.
At PonyCon 2017 I bumped into someone cosplaying as Megan, and once I’d complimented her on her excellent costume (she really looked the part), I said, “But tell Molly to stop riding ponies too small for her.” She gave me an odd look and agreed.
Oh, and now comes my favourite bit of this movie, the song “Nothing Can Stop the Smooze”, during which Reeka and Draggle sail a boat, fuck, let’s not be coy – a pair of boobs complete with saggy nipples, while singing along with the Smooze. Next year I’m cosplaying as the Smooze.
While this is going on, the ponies and woodland creatures shore up Dream Castle against the attack. And here’s another question: where the fuck is Majesty? When you bought the Dream Castle playset, you got Majesty and Spike – her being the queen and him being her pet. We’ve seen Spike, but no Majesty. Why? This is exactly the type of thing a monarch should be involved in, but as far as I know, we don’t see her at all during the series. [bat: Majesty is never in the cartoons or either animated special. It makes no damn sense.]
Sorry, just going to listen to “Nothing Can Stop the Smooze” again. I LOVE this song.
Once everything – including Dream Castle and Lullaby Nursery (BUY OUR FUCKING MERCH) – is covered is Smooze, Megan and co rock up. They release the Rainbow of Light, which quickly gets trounced by the Smooze.
Back at the Volcano of Gloom, Hydia interrogates her daughters with bowls of ice cream (a punishment to them) about why the Smooze put on such a poor show – dude, it fucking ate the Rainbow of Light, Ponyland is under a castle-sized layer of Smooze, what more do you want? But the girls accidentally let slip that the Smooze worked just fine “without it” – it being the Flume. So they’re sent off to get the Flume.
Back with the ponies, Megan tries to cheer them up by singing one of the most infuriating songs ever, “There’s Always Another Rainbow”. I like to believe that a Bart Simpson-possessed-Gusty hoofed her in the face for being so obnoxious.
The only thing I don’t hate about this song is that on the posting boards of MLP Arena, someone had massively broken their Dream Castle by baking it in the oven (don’t ask), and one commenter had replied, with sympathy, not sarcasm, that there was nothing the OP could do except for sing “There’s Always Another Rainbow” and give it a decent burial. I thought it was sweet.
The song culminates with birds landing on a branch and dislodging a blob of Smooze, which falls on Sweet Stuff. This makes me really sad, because she’s one of my favourite ponies and she’s prone to Pony Cancer – a kind of mould that affects the plastic and causes it to fade/turn yellow. I don’t have a copy that doesn’t have Pony Cancer. And before anyone gets upset with using the word “cancer” in relation to toys, I’m afraid the term lasted long before I was collecting, and I don’t think it’s going to change any time soon. And just to confuse things, Smooze is also a thing toys can suffer from (so that’s why it’s not called “Smooze”), it’s a kind of pin-dot mould, like loads of tiny blackheads on the skin.
Megan suggests they go visit the Moochick. Who’s he and how does she know him? Fuck you for asking.
North Star, Fizzy and Megan set off to see the Moochick, while Reeka and Draggle set off to get some Flume.
Draggle says maybe it’s time to move away from Hydia, while Reeka refuses to live with her. Some parts of fandom think that Draggle deserves a face turn, and could probably be quite happy living with the ponies. I don’t entirely disagree. But that does not happen.
The Flume is a big sentient plant that beats them up repeatedly until they manage to stab a hole in it and get some juice out. I’m sure this is utterly hysterical. Provided you’re an idiot.
We get to meet the Moochick, who is playing chess with a bunny. He’s a one-man commercial (BUY OUR FUCKING MERCH!). He doesn’t remember Megan or the ponies, but they say he gave them the Rainbow of Light. I don’t know if this is covered in the TV show [Edit from the future: yes, it is, it’s covered in Midnight/Nightmare Castle] but it’s never given any detail at all in the movie. They say their home has been destroyed by the Smooze, so he breaks out into song called “Home”, which is a barely-concealed advert for Paradise Estate.
They might as well have played this instead:
The Moochick sends them to find the Flutter Ponies, who are the only ones who can get rid of the Smooze.
[bat: Voiced by Tony Randall, the Moochick is basically a jerk who has no long or short term memory. I think he’s just as forgetful in the “Midnight Castle”.]
Back with Spike and Baby Lickety-Split, they’re not dead. The Smooze did not flood the cave and kill them, and they are exploring the cave system. They meet the Grundles, who make friends with them by the power of song, “Grundles Good”.
The Grundle King is voiced by Danny DeVito. One of the lyrics in the song is “Grundles don’t waste words!” but they are singing a song instead of just introducing themselves, so I feel this is a lie. Actually, I like the Grundles, they’re much better than the Bushwoolies.
The Grundle King says the five of them are all that is left of Grundleland – which is the place Hydia mentioned as being wiped out by Smooze when she came up with the idea. The rest of the Grundles burst into tears, bless ‘em – and also, too right, if something’s big enough to be a “kingdom” and there’s only five left, including the King, then that was a fucking tragedy.
The Grundles show them out of the cave and see the world is covered in solid Smooze, and the Grundles are appropriately upset about this.
Hydia and her daughters are out walking around the solidified Smooze. Hydia throws the Flume in and the Smooze gets angry and boisterous. I’ve always wondered why it didn’t Smooze the witches – or are they already so grumpy that it wouldn’t matter?
[bat: Here’s something that bothers me – the Smooze seems to be basic level sentient. It grows multiple eyeballs, forms hands/mouths, and seems to obey simple commands. So the Ponies are basically questing for a way to kill a living creature that has been enslaved by witches. HOW MESSED UP IS THAT? And literally both television specials and the feature film involve ENSLAVEMENT. I am not kidding. The Ponies are enslaved by Tirek, Catrina enslaves the Bushwoolies, and the Smooze is enslaved by Hydia! WTF??]
Back in Ponyland, the ponies are excitedly working out where everything will go in Paradise Estate, such as the ballroom and dance studio – right, so it was meant to replace all the playsets – Dream Castle, Lullaby Nursery, Baby Bonnet School of Dance, the Grooming Parlour, etc.? Well, screw that! My parents spent a small fortune on buying them for me. I remember Dream Castle was £50 back in the day, which is a vast amount of money and I was shocked I got it. I think Paradise Estate was around £75. And for context, my parents paid £150 for an actual real life pedigree Shetland pony (admittedly, not broken in) around the same time.
North Star notices that the Smooze is coming to life again – although it politely doesn’t attack their new home (BUY OUR FUCKING MERCH!), so Megan takes off with Wind Whistler, Magic Star and Fizzy, and this time Danny and Molly tag along. They just hop on the ponies’ backs, which I think is a bit rude, because they’re actual sentient beings capable of speech. You wouldn’t hop on your friend’s back and assume they want to give you a piggy-back, would you? Well, these horrible kids would.
Oh, hey! Shady and the purple Bushwooly still exist, and they’re still looking for Spike and Baby Lickety-Split.
Back with the witches, Reeka and Draggle have to feed Ahgg to bribe him to… kill the ponies or something. We don’t get to see him, but since I know Wing well, I’m going to put this here: He’s a spider. I’m going to link to the picture, rather than embed it, and he’s not very spider-like, but here’s the warning for all arachnophobes: IT’S A FUCKING SPIDER.
Back to Shady and the Bushwooly, they’re now crying over how hopeless everything is. The Bushwooly spots the Smooze before it even appears on the horizon, maybe because he’s the same shade of purple as the Smooze? And the pair run for their lives.
Megan and co are faced with a field of giant sunflowers. They start making their way through with Wind Whistler flying above to keep them on track, and they’re about halfway through when the Smooze hits. Wind Whistler tells them to run, so Danny and Molly once again hop on the ponies without being invited, but Megan falls flat on her face as they try to escape. And she dies. And everyone is delighted.
By the time she gets to her feet, a massive crevasse has opened and the Smooze is filling it up, but find the bright side, Megan, all the flowers on your side seem to have vanished. That must be helpful, right?
Magic Star and Fizzy reach their own MASSIVE canyon as well. Fizzy uses her Unicorn magic to teleport across, and Magic Star, unbelievably, manages to jump something about four time the length of herself laden down with two children that are too fucking large to ride her.
Upon reaching the edge of the sunflowers, the Smooze respectfully ceases chasing them, because it realises that the sunflowers denote the danger… because yeah, why not. Megan is still trapped, but per-twangs herself across the gigantic canyon, using a sunflower as a trebuchet, she only just makes it and feebly clings to the edge, shouting for help. Then Wind Whistler remembers she can fly and goes back for her.
When you have teleportation and flying, the Smooze is literally not a scary thing. Except it should be, because the Smooze isn’t a pure liquid, governed by gravity and physics, it’s a sentient being, that can make itself taller, form hands, throw smoozeballs. Every single one of these idiots should be smoozed.
And we get this sickeningly cloy dialogue:
Wind Whistler: It’s easy to be courageous when helping others!
Fizzy: Gee, Wind Whistler, that’s beautiful! I love the way you talk!
Then Shady and the purple Bushwooly show up, and they’re sad they haven’t found Spike and Baby Lickety-Split.
Back with Spike, Baby Lickety-Split and the Grundles, the Smooze is all around, and they run to escape it. The Smooze openly defies gravity – which is not a continuity error, it’s done that before, I’m just saying that since we’re seeing it do so, why hasn’t it ripped a pegasus out of the air, or hurled smoozeballs at ponies it can’t reach?
The Grundles do an irritating comedy tumbling routine through this perilous chase, which just goes to show how crap the Smooze must be – if five very small people, one of which is carrying the other four, can outrun it, and do cartwheels and have comedy-stuck-in-tree-lol moments, this villain is rubbish. You want to see a villain? Watch Tirek destroy the Golden Oak library. Same fandom, better writers.
[bat: You mean FiM Tirek. Because G1 Tirek is… well, you’ll find out. Think Lord of Darkness in Legend, only much less effective and not Tim Curry.] [Dove: Valid point. I’m going to have to remember to make note of which villains carry over! Future note: Also, thanks to bat explaining to me the recap order, we did this before the episodes that precede it.]
They leap into a river, go over a waterfall, and get flung ashore in what later turns out to be Flutter Valley. Or Flutter Valley adjacent, at the very least.
Baby Lickety-Split thinks that if she hadn’t run away, all this would never have happened. So she cry-sings into a wishing well, “What Good Would Wishing Do?”
It turns out that her voice isn’t echoing, but there’s actually a pony down there, it’s Morning Glory, a Flutter Pony. She talks in an annoyingly wispy voice, but she’s also by far the best Flutter Pony there is. Also, my friend Nickerty-Split sent me a copy of her to my work address, not knowing that I worked from home. Facilities spent all day emailing me about a mysterious package. I was quite freaked out until I received it.
They tell Morning Glory that they’re running away from the Smooze. She says that Flutter Ponies know all about Smooze, and she’s sure her friends will help get rid of it.
We cut back to Paradise Estate for about four seconds to see that the Smooze is getting closer.
Then it’s back to Megan and co, who are walking through Shadow Valley, where they’re attacked by trees throwing branches shaped like spears at them. I’m sad to report that nobody died. Or even got injured. They get through it by Fizzy teleporting and confusing the trees.
Next up they have to face Ahgg, a massive spider. [Picture link here – not embedded because of Wing’s phobia.] He and his web blocks the way, and the ponies are all like, “Gosh, I wonder if this web is sticky?” *stuck* “Gosh, Shady got stuck. I wonder if it’s sticky.” *stuck* “Gosh, two of my friends are stuck, I wonder if it’s sticky.” *stuck* etc. The humans pull them free, and Molly remembers that spiders are ticklish (wut?), and she tickles him with a plant and they all get past.
And randomly while they’re running away, Lickety Split, North Star and Gingerbread turn up to momentarily replace Fizzy, Magic Star and Wind Whistler. Because why not? They vanish in the next shot, but Sweet Stuff and Gingerbread appear in the following one. Then they vanish again. WTF?
They have to climb a sheer cliff face to escape (in your face, Baby Lickety-Split, the adults and the humans can do it!), and Megan yet again falls and needs saving by Wind Whistler. To quote the Dazzlings: Megan, you are the worst!
Finally, they get to Flutter Valley, which is all flowery and generic. There are Flutter Ponies, but they all disappear once they see the newcomers. Megan calls out to them. Rosedust, Queen of the Flutter Ponies, introduces herself and tells them to strongly do one, because the Smooze falls firmly under the heading of Not Our Problem. Literally, that’s it. Rosedust confirms that yes, they do have the power, and they certainly could help, but FUCK YOU, THE PLOT SAYS NO.
And this is why I hate the Flutter Ponies in general and Rosedust in particular. Because they don’t give any reason at all, other than a desire to be left alone, they come across as selfish dicks. That’s it.
Rosedust: Oh, your home is utterly destroyed and every single thing outside of our home is threatened with extermination? Sorry, I was planning on getting a hooficure. Bye!
(paraphrased by me)
At this point, Morning Glory rocks up and lobbies for them, because Baby Lickety-Split, Spike and the Grundles helped her. And Rosedust is firmly of the belief that one good turn deserves… and nothing. Not even a fucking thank you.
Baby Lickety-Split says that it is their fight – if the Grundles hadn’t helped her, she wouldn’t be here right now.
When the entitled brat is schooling you on common decency, you really are the scum of the earth.
Back at Paradise Estate, the Smooze is approaching at a glacial pace, but all three witches are out in their boob-boat again.
The ponies and woodland creatures retreat to the roof and Buttons tells them to close their eyes and concentrate on their friends and imagine the sky is filled with Flutter Ponies. And it works.
The Flutter Ponies “shift to utter flutter!” and start trouncing the Smooze, by fluttering at it. The Smooze tries to fight back, throwing smoozeballs that explode on contact with… the sky?
They uncover Dream Castle (BUY OUR FUCKING MERCH!) and the Rainbow of Light. They also de-Smooze Gusty, Sweet Stuff and the Bushwoolies.
Ultimately, the Smooze gets swept back into the Volcano of Gloom, and then the Rainbow of Light smugly scoops up the witches and drops them in the Smooze. The girls start whining and calling Hydia “mama”.
Spike asks the Flutter Ponies to de-Smooze the Grundles, who have no evidence of being smoozed, or being grumpy. Spike is a fucking idiot.
Magic Star gives them Dream Castle to live in. I bet Majesty will be furious when she finds that out. Also, a castle for five half-sized creatures seems like overkill in the generosity department. On the other hand, Paradise Estate was a truly gigantic playset.
The Flutter Ponies fuck off back to Flutter Valley, and Megan gives the Rainbow of Light to Baby Lickety-Split.
Everything is perfect.
NOW BUY OUR FUCKING MERCH!
Also, have another earworm song:
Witches: We’re evil, doing evil things for evil reasons.
Me: Goddamn, that song is catchy.
Mr Moochick: BUY OUR FUCKING MERCH! BUY PARADISE ESTATE! BANKRUPT YOUR PARENTS FOR THIS! DON’T WORRY, THIS PLAYSET IS SO LARGE YOU CAN LIVE IN IT WHEN YOUR PARENTS LOSE THEIR HOUSE. BUY OUR FUCKING MERCH!
Megan: lol, ok.
Ponies: What about the Smooze?
Mr Moochick: GO BUY SOME FLUTTER PONIES TO TAKE CARE OF IT. BUY OUR MERCH!
Flutter Ponies: Nah, we got book club. Laterz.
Flutter Ponies: TRIUMPHANT FUCKING RETURN BITCHES! BUY OUR MERCH!
Everything: *is good again*
I suspect I missed my calling as a script editor for children’s TV.
[bat: I’m about 99% certain I wasn’t allowed to see this film in a theater, because of the witches. (Religious parents who also had a huge problem with “Midnight Castle”, yeah.) But I know I watched it on video tape constantly for a good few years after it was released. I’m honestly happy with how FiM has done callbacks to the original cartoon and film; stuff like that, when handled properly by people who do research, is awesome.]