Reviews: My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic S 2 E 26 A Canterlot Wedding Part 2
A Disappointed Ending.
This doesn't mean it was bad, but for all the hype both the media had given to the two hours wedding and the sheer quality momentum the entire season 2 had created, it was barely acceptable as a filler episode, less so for a supposed epic ending. Well, let's start with the good and then the bad. THE GOOD: 1.- The Music was quite good, with the vocals and the thematic at hand. Great work Daniel Ingram (I think). 2.- The Mane six fight scene was superb, both comedic and awesome and showing that they can be a force to be reckoned with without the elements of harmony. 3.- There were some...good-ish jokes. THE BAD. 1.- My main beef with the story are the two main characters of the drama: Shining Armor and Princess Cadence or the fact that they were never alluded prior the entire thing in the first place. While it can be explained for Cadence for be an alicorn (even when she was her favorite fillysitter), Shining Armor is put as a BBBFF for Twilight, becoming her emotional crutch while she was a foal and having a huge impact in her life... and never mentioned in any of the dozens of flashbacks, imagine spots, interviews, letters or any other form before the entire wedding propaganda. 2.- Chrysalis. Who is she? Is she a new foe or an ancient horror? Why does she needed to crash in the most fortified building in Equestria and no other city? How does she passed the defenses or how does she abducted Cadence? What was her masterful plan beyond "eating love"?... There is no foreshadowing, not build up or even an monologue. Both Nightmare Moon and Discord got, in the same rushed introduction, a very well explained back story, goals and why Celestia couldn't face her... Chrysalis is pretty much a Captain Planet Villain. 3.- Love or why is so powerful. It's my little pony Friendship is magic and yet the entire thing was constructed in a Disney-esque love, conquer all. Not only the entire relation is only alluded ( the flashbacks are about Twilight relationship with them) but somehow managed to defeat both Celestia and Chrysalis in that order. Why? The Elements were ancient elemental relics of untold power, but how was Princess Cadence/Shining... bubble thing capable of defeating an entire race and save the day. Seriously, WTFM?. It jut feels cheap.
Generally a good episode, falling over some pacing problems
For all practical purposes, stripping the story to its core elements, this could have been any "girl's show"/Disney Princess direct-to-video story. Heck, most of the arching plot is reminiscent of The Little Mermaid. But its what the MLPFIM team adds to it that makes the show whole distinct:
- The DNA of The Powerpuff Girls runs deep in this. Instead of having the male character be the one to save the day, and wacky hijinks to tone down the boss battle, we have a fight scene that could have been pulled from the earlier series.
- Daniel Ingram's music went above and beyond the call of duty here. Sure, the lead and finale songs are a tad bit derivative of the Disney musicals, but they worked. But most importantly was the "This Day Aria", not only a great Villain Song, a great piece of Ear Worm, but knowing the Genius Bonus behind the chord progressions against the visuals made me only want more of it.
- The Queen and the Changelings were incredibly creepy and excellent villains for this show - even if the motive was a bit hastily added in.
A great wedding, but not a love story
Spoilers ahoy, obviously. When these episodes were first announced, I was unsure about it. Sure, Lauren Faust and her compatriots had managed to turn MLP into something quite watchable, but still: a wedding? My interest was piqued when it was revealed that Shing Armor was in fact Twilight Sparkle's brother, and subsequent previews raised my expectations to an insane level. And then, the episodes went beyond my expactations. This is the pinnacle for now, and it sets the bar incredibly high for season 3. This story has everything: catchy songs, a great villain, epic fights (yes, epic fights in My Little Pony!) and sugary sweetness at the end. What strikes me most about this story, though, it that it's not really a love story at all. For obvious reasons, Shing Armor and Princess Cadence don't interact for much of the story. While they're pretty adorable together, their relationship on the whole is more tell than show. For instance, while it's implied (in fact, promotional material outright states it) that Shing Armor and Cadence met when the latter was foalsitting for Twilight, we're never shown how they first met or fell in love. No, the big relationship story here is that between Twilight and her brother. As Twilight's brother, Shining Armor is introduced very late in the series, but the song "BBBFF" immediately made me care about him. The relationship between Twilight and Shining Armor is handled quite well and dare I say it, maturely even? We all have to deal with changing relationships in life, and Twilight fearing that she and her brother will grow apart is genuinely saddening, as is their falling out halfway through the story. While romantic love saves the day, in the end it's the story of sibling love that stayed with me. Having seen the episodes a few times now, a few flaws have become apparent. Luna is handled very oddly (but then again, she has been the entire series) and I would have liked Twilight's parents to get some development. It's the second time we've seen them, but they still have no lines and no names. (Yes, I know about their semi-official toyline-derived names...) But these are minor complaints. Overall, this is great little movie. I can't wait for season 3!
A Great Sendoff to Season 2
If there has been any pair of episodes I've dreaded this series, it was this one. It's a wedding episode, it's a giant reference to one of the most overblown events of the last decade, and it introduces a pink Alicorn so Hasbro won't have to throw out all their Pinklestia dolls. Imagine my surprise when both episodes came, and turned out to probably be my favorite two-parter in the series so far. First, the three songs were great. "B.B.B.F.F" was my favorite; it's incredibly catchy, but also has a melancholic undertone that the Dark Reprise ups to soul-crushing levels. "This Day Aria" sounds like it came right out of the Disney Villain Music Academy, and the dueling tones between the two singers were handled marvelously. The last song wasn't as good as the other two, but still hit the right notes and helped accentuate the happy ending. Next, the writing runs the whole gambit. The episode starts out happy but tense, and then just gets darker and darker as it goes. By the time the villain (who stands as the best antagonist since Discord) finally launches her scheme, the entire thing has dipped right into Nightmare Fuel territory. And then, of course, comes the blissful ending where everything gets resolved and everyone goes home happy. The transitions are handled very well, and the story feels like a cohesive whole, which is something Return of Harmony and the pilot couldn't quite pull off. As always, the animation was great. I loved the design on the monsters, and the fight scene at the end was one of the season's highlights. It was funny, tense, and actually thrilling. That, and it has Pinkie using Twilight as a gatling gun. That is awesome. If there is any real huge fault with the episode, it's, again, the ending. Much like Return of Harmony, things are just wrapped up too quickly. Unlike that one, though, the way the villain is defeated feels like a Deus Ex Machina more than anything else. That, and Celestia getting hit with the Worf Effect. Poor princess can't catch a break... Overall, though, these episodes blew Season 1's Gala arc away, and stands as one of the season's best. It's a shame Meghan McCarthy won't be writing any more episodes. Here's hoping Season 3 turns out great.