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Western Animation / My Little Pony: The Movie (1986)

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My Little Pony: The Movie was released in theaters in 1986, based on the Hasbro toyline My Little Pony. The movie was made by Sunbow Productions and Marvel Productions with the participation of Korean animation studio AKOM and Japanese animation studio Toei Animation, with a star-heavy cast including Cloris Leachman (Hydia), Rhea Perlman (Reeka), Charlie Adler (Spike, in one of his earliest voice roles), Alice Playten (Baby Lickety Split), Jon "Bowzer" Bauman (The Smooze), and Danny Devito (The Grundle King), among many others.

At Dream Castle, the Little Ponies are preparing a festival to celebrate the first day of Spring. They even go as far as to hold a ballet, which Baby Lickety Split ruins by dancing her way instead of cooperating with the others. After being called a show off by the others, she runs away, followed by Spike, the Baby Dragon.

Meanwhile, in the Volcano of Gloom, the evil witch Hydia watches the event via her cauldron and, disgusted by the frivolity, tells her daughters that they must ruin it. Hydia's daughters, Draggle and Reeka, are incompetent at causing mischief and fail utterly at ruining the festival. They return to the Volcano of Gloom in disgrace, where Witch Hydia presents a better plan - they'll make Smooze. The sisters collect a series of disgusting ingredients, but neglect to obtain the Phlume, the prospect of which terrifies them. The spell seems to work regardless, creating a pool of sentient purple lava that gleefully buries Ponyland.

The ponies go to their friend, Megan, and her younger siblings, Danny and Molly, for help. Who in turn go to the Moochic, who tells them to go find the Flutter Ponies. Thus begins an epic quest for living slime, weird friendly trolls called grundles, giant sunflowers, living trees, and much more.

In terms of the G1 MLP animated continuity, this movie comes after the My Little Pony TV Specials and serves as a prelude to My Little Pony 'n Friends. The ten-part End of Flutter Valley serial is a direct sequel to this movie.

Not to be confused with the 2017 film of the same name based on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

My Little Pony: The Movie provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: During the "Nothing can stop the Smooze" the ponies, bushwoolies and random woodland critters try to fortify the Dream Castle with barricades and sandbags. It takes the Smooze literally less than five seconds to engulf it completely.
  • Abusive Mom: Hydia treats her daughters like dirt, constantly insults and beats them, and forbids them from calling her "Mama".
  • Achilles' Heel: The Smooze's only weakness when it's complete is Flutterpony magic, otherwise it lives up to Hydia's claim of being unstoppable.
  • Art Shift: The animation style differs between sequences. For example, the parts with the Ponies and other protagonists (alongside Reeka and Draggle outside their mother's castle) were done by AKOM, while the parts with Hydia and her two daughters inside the castle were done by Toei.
  • Animation Bump: AKOM has hints of this, due to their work being more loose and cartoony than Toei's Animeesque work.
  • Answering Echo: There's a song done entirely like this between Baby Lickety Split, who's bemoaning her troubles at a well, and Flutter Pony Morning Glory, who's trapped inside.
    No one's in a fix like I am (I am)
    No one has the luck I do (I do)
    No one's had the setbacks I have (I have)
    Look where life has led me to (Me too!)
  • All Trolls Are Different: The Grundles are short, ugly but goodhearted humanoids who live underground.
  • Artistic License Biology: Insects don't have red blood in real life.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: Hydia and her daughters. Among other things, Reeka and Draggle object to being called "cute" by the ponies, and they react with horror to the prospect of being force-fed banana splits by their mother.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted.
    • They Grundles are initially mistaken for monsters by Baby Lickety-Split and Spike before they explain their good intentions. The Flutter Ponies later try to de-Smooze them, under the assumption that they were turned monstrous by the Smooze, but the Grundles assure them that this is how they've always looked.
    • It's also mentioned that Reeka and Draggle have an older cousin named Lucretia, whose portrait shows her to be a Hot Witch but is just as vile as the rest of the family.
  • Berserk Button: Hydia's is being called "Mama" by her daughters. She also hates being lied to: "I don't care if you lie, but NOT! TO! ME!" But none of that compares to her reaction to learning that Reeka and Draggle "FORGOT THE PHLUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUME!"
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Flutter Ponies, led as a battalion by Queen Rosedust, drive back the Smooze just before it engulfs Paradise Estate and everyone in it.
  • Big Eater: Reeka eats at every opportunity, although her preferred fare consists of worms, bat wings and similar things.
  • Blob Monster: The Smooze is a living mass of sludge large enough to cover large tracts of land, and constantly growing and reabsorbing body parts.
  • By the Hair:
    • Hydia manages to lift both Reeka and Draggle by their hair and throw them out of their house on two separate occasions.
    • Characters seem to enjoy doing this to the witches, as the Phlume even grabs Draggle by her ponytail in order to shake her off of it and whips her around by it.
  • Call-and-Response Song: "What Good Will Wishing Do?" consist of Baby Lickety-Split bemoaning her lot and Morning Glory echoing her words to reply.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: Hydia invokes this with her daughters, getting angry whenever they call her "Mama".
  • Canon Foreigner: Danny, who was created for the movie (later appearing the TV series) and never appeared in the toyline.
  • Choke Holds: Draggle holding onto the Phlume's midsection seems to have this effect on it, considering that the first thing it does is shake Draggle off of it before going after Reeka.
  • Comedic Spanking: How does the Phlume get back at Reeka for stabbing it with a Power Pick? Grabbing a spoon from... somewhere... and spanking her with it. With said spoon magically disappearing later in the scene.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: The Smooze has an entire Villain Song about how unstoppable it is, and lives up to it, with even the Rainbow of Light being unable to stop it. The Flutter Ponies ultimately prove too much for it, weakening it enough for the Rainbow to finish off.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After they and the Smooze are defeated, Reeka and Draggle mock Hydia for her failure.
  • Double Knockout: The Rainbow of Light manages to render the imperfect Smooze dormant, but is buried in it in the process.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Smooze is a child-friendly one. A fully conscious and self-aware talking ocean of thick purple ooze, with hundreds of constantly moving faces, that is capable of traveling on its own, creating extra limbs whenever it likes, swallowing things whole, and throwing globs of itself at things. The worst of it is, the thing is all but unstoppable and indestructible.
  • Fat and Skinny: Reeka and Draggle. Unusually, more so in the series, it's the skinny one who is slower.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: During "There's Always Another Rainbow", a glob of Smooze is visible hanging on a tree branch over Sweet Stuff like the Sword of Damocles. As soon as the song is over, the Smooze falls off the tree and onto Sweet Stuff, who immediately turns into a grouch like the Smooze's other victims.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In order to shake Draggle off of it, the Phlume grabs her exposed ponytail and repeatedly rams her head into its bulb before pulling her away from it and slamming her into its midsection and ramming her head into that. It also rams Reeka and Draggle into each other later in the same scene.
  • Hate Plague: Anyone splashed with Smooze becomes mean and ill-tempered. Everyone, interestingly, except Spike — although he only gets a little bit on his tail.
  • The Hecate Sisters: The witches, here and in the series, invert this trope despite not all being sisters. Reeka has aspects of all three types, Hydia is the Crone and the more manipulating aspects of the Mother, and Draggle is the Maiden.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Flutter Valley, a hidden and secluded settlement where the Flutter Ponies live in deep seclusion.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Phlume is sap from a giant Man-Eating Plant that lives on a cliff in some mountain area. When Reeka stabs its bulb with a Powerful Pick the sap starts shooting out from the wound this fashion and sprays out shortly after, with enough force to push back Reeka as she tries to bottle it.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Ordered by Hydia to turn the Little Ponies' spring festival "dark, dank, and dreary," Reeka and Draggle decide to do "dank" by diverting a waterfall to flood the picnic grounds. Unfortunately for them, two baby sea ponies overhear Reeka and Draggle discussing their plans and manage to spray the diverted water back at the witches, causing them to be washed away and crash into a picnic table covered with pies.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Habbit, the Moochick's assistant.
  • I Believe I Can Fly: Baby Lickety Split tries to fly "like Wind Whistler and North Star," despite Spike's correctly pointing out that she can't since she's not a Pegasus Pony. She doesn't listen.
    Baby Lickety Split: We're flyyyyyyyyying!
    Spike: We're falllllllling! [the two crash land and tumble head over heels into a ravine]
  • I Lied: After the Smooze is defeated by the Flutter Ponies, Reeka shouts at Hydia that she said that nothing could stop the Smooze. Hydia responds by saying, "I lied!"
  • I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: When Hydia demands Reeka and Draggle tell her what went wrong with the Smooze, Draggle accidentally blabs that she and Reeka neglected to get a vital ingredient.
  • Imperfect Ritual: The witches create Smooze, a giant mass of sentient, evil slime. It is supposed to be unstoppable but the two younger witches didn't bring Phlume (blood/sap from a triffid expy — they were too afraid to go get it) and hide the fact from their mother. This weakens the Smooze enough for the rainbow to stop it the first round, buying our heroes enough time to go find help.
  • Impact Silhouette: After Hydia angrily threw Reeka and Draggle out to get the Phlume for the incomplete Smooze, They both leave two holes in the wall looking like them. Then on to the next scene where they fall down the stairs.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Reeka and Draggle.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: Spike, Baby Lickety Split, and the Grundles go over one at one point.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Just try to pick any individual scene from the movie and explain it to someone who's never seen it before. See how many "wtf" faces you get.
  • The Juggernaut: The Smooze's only real vulnerability is the Flutter Ponies' magic, and even then it takes the Rainbow of Light to finish it off. Otherwise, it just crashes over everything and everyone in its path without so much as slowing down.
  • Jumped at the Call: Megan and her siblings eagerly follow the ponies to take the fight to the witches. "If those witches want a fight, we'll give them one!"
  • Kill It with Fire: After the Ponies' combined magic defeats the Smooze, the Rainbow dumps it back into the volcano.
  • Lava Pot Volcano: The crater at the peak of the Volcano of Gloom is filled with a lake of bubbling lava, which the witches use to brew the Smooze.
  • Man-Eating Plant: "Phlume" turns out to be sap from a rather nasty carnivorous plant that is Multi Armedand Dangerous, complete with growls and roars.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: Once the Phlume gets ahold of Reeka it slams her on the floor in front of and behind it by her ankles.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Baby Lickety Split comes to very much regret all the trouble she caused by deciding to run away, especially after Spike's tail gets Smoozed.
  • Neutral No Longer: The Flutter Ponies initially prefer to remain hidden away from the world, but decide to help once they realize that Hydia would destroy Flutter Valley.
  • Neck Lift: After shaking off Draggle, the Phlume does this to Reeka and holds her over the cliff it lives on. It does it to her again at the climax of the scene, though in this case it's more or less a neck hold instead of a lift.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Hydia and the fully completed Smooze are about to bury Paradise Estate, the heroes' last hold out, having the group there essentially dead to rights. If Megan and the Flutter Ponies hadn't shown up then and there, Hydia would've won.
  • Never My Fault: Baby Lickety Split runs away after the ponies berate her for ruining their dance number, but she doesn't consider the fact that the disaster only happened because she refused to cooperate with the other baby ponies and tried to do her own dance, despite Spike warning against it.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: Outside of the Utter Flutter, absolutely nothing can stop or harm the Smooze — even the Rainbow of Light only slows it down for a little while.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Despite the entire area being literally drowned in Smooze, somehow there was no casualties, not even among woodland creatures. Grundleland, however, was permanently destroyed in the past.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Hydia has one upon seeing the Flutter Ponies arrive.
    • Draggle has one somewhat after the Phlume grabs Reeka.
  • Pauper Patches: Reeka and Draggle wear patchy clothing. Hydia's clothing is mostly patch-free, with the exception of a large patch on her back.
  • Pie in the Face: Reeka and Draggle's attempt to turn the Ponies' spring picnic "dark, dank and dreary" fails and the two witches end up crashing into a picnic table and pelted with pies. In addition, Reeka picks up one of the ruined pies and sticks it in Draggle's face afterward.
  • Poke the Poodle: Early on in the movie Reeka and Draggle attempt to convince Hydia that they aren't do-nothings, but all of their "evil" deeds fall under this, such as frying a worm or pulling wings off a fly.
  • Random Events Plot: The plot of the movie is very disjointed at times, particularly with Baby Lickety-Split and the others' search for her.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Reeka and Draggle get one from their mother after their first failed attempt to ruin the ponies' celebration, ranting about how incompetent, inept and useless they are, especially compared to their much more achieved relatives.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The movie introduces the cast of ponies for the remainder of the series, which have replaced the previous group of ponies from the second special who themselves replaced their predecessors from the first. Also, we never saw Megan's siblings until now.
  • The Remnant: The six Grundles are all that's left of their people after the witches succeeded in destroying the kingdom they once lived in.
  • Run or Die: The only option while the Smooze is active, as it's effectively unstoppable and the heroes really have no way of fighting it off until the Flutter Ponies get involved.
  • The Show Must Go Wrong: Baby Lickety Split ruins the ponies' dance recital when she decides to insert her own self-choreographed moves, resulting in total chaos onstage.
  • Slapstick: Pretty much any general scene with Reeka and Draggle will be full of this, with the majority of the slapstick happening to them.
    • Being incompetent villainesses, Draggle and Reeka are subjected to most of the physical abuse and slapstick comedy in the movie.
  • Smart People Play Chess: The fact that Habbit is generally smarter than his boss is first shown when he handily beats the Moochick in a game of chess played on four boards at once.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Out of the five Grundles seen in the movie, only one is female.
  • Spell My Name with an S: There's been a few variations on "the Phlume" here and there on the internet. Some spell it "Flume", "Floom", and others "Phlume", and no official spelling has ever been released.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Reeka and Draggle are often more entertaining than the actual heroes. They remain sympathetic despite being antagonists since they're so terrible at being bad.
  • Staircase Tumble: This happens to Reeka and Draggle three times; the first two times they're thrown out of the house by Hydia, and third time after they get free of the Phlume.
  • Technical Pacifist: Rosedust and the other Flutter Ponies don't want to intervene with the Smooze because it's "not our fight," even though they are the only ones who can stop it.
  • Terrible Trio: The witches from the Volcano of Gloom. Inverted in that Hydia herself actually is a threat to Ponyland.
  • Theme Naming: The Flutter Ponies, who are introduced in this movie, are all named after flowers.
  • This Is No Time to Panic: When the killer trees in the Shadow Forest start attacking, Wind Whistler initially advises against panicking. She's then nearly speared by thrown logs and amends herself to say the now they can panic.
    Wind Whistler: [narrowly dodging three wooden stakes] NOW panic!
  • Towering Flower: On the way to Flutter Valley, the kids and ponies cross a field of sunflowers as tall as trees.
  • Tree Buchet: Megan uses a giant sunflower to sling herself across a gorge and away from the Smooze at one point.
  • Unholy Nuke: The Smooze, Hydia's ultimate spell, is a sapient flood capable of wiping out entire kingdoms in a matter of moments and unstoppable by most anything.
  • Villain Song: "We're Witches", in which Hydia boasts about the long line of evil spell-casters from which Reek and Draggle are descended, and "Nothing Can Stop the Smooze".
  • The Walls Have Eyes: The Smooze consists of tons of eyes.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Ahgg the giant spider turns out to be extremely ticklish.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Buttons and the baby ponies chew out Baby Lickety Split for ruining their dance recital by doing her own dance. The former later feels she Was Too Hard on Her after learning that she ran away.
  • When Trees Attack: The Shadow Forest is home to animated trees that attack anyone who enters it by pelting them with wooden stakes.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Hydia often berates her daughters by wishing that they were evil and competent like she wants them to be.
  • Woodland Creatures: The ponies live alongside a number of these, primarily squirrels, chipmunks, a variety of colorful songbirds and the odd raccoon, which participate in their festivals, help them with tasks, and can communicate with them despite being otherwise speechless. Notably, none of these critters appear in the sequel cartoon series.
  • The Worf Effect: The Rainbow of Light, which killed Tirek instantly and which Katrina couldn't face head on, only succeeds in scoring a Double Knockout against an incomplete Smooze.
  • Worf Had the Flu: The Smooze is deactivated by the Rainbow of Light (though it buries it and a large part of Dream Valley) because it lacked Flume and was thus incomplete. Once it has it, nothing can stop it except the Flutter Ponies.