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DVD Review: My Little Pony Live! The World’s Biggest Tea Party

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Although you won’t want to miss this party for all the tea in Ponyville — even if that isn’t your beverage of choice — chances are Sweetberry has you covered with the delectable muffins, cakes, and cookies she bakes fresh daily in her enticing Sweet Shoppe.

Slated for a September 16 release from Paramount Home Entertainment, Hasbro’s beloved “My Little Ponies” come to life in 2006’s live-touring musical production now captured on DVD to offer fans the best seat in their own house (view the original trailer). Although interested fans can also find a companion book by author Jennifer Frantz and illustrator Lyn Fletcher by the same name, there’s no duplicating the excitement of the DVD sure to be a hit with young girls. This is especially true for toddlers through kindergarteners — not to mention a nice trip down memory lane for Gen X’ers who recall the original toy from its 1981 introduction as “My Pretty Pony” to Hasbro’s official series launch of the “My Little Pony” line of toys in 1982.

While the original toys were so popular in the 1980s that “at one point,” they even outsold Mattel’s Barbie, the line has dwindled over the years, disappearing altogether in the mid-'90s before reemerging in various configurations including 2003’s popular “Generation 3: Ponyville” series that no doubt inspired this musical. Featuring several popular characters and numerous songs including catchy originals like “Disco Dash,” “Try a New Color on For Size” and “Shake Your Cutie,” My Little Pony Live! The World’s Biggest Tea Party also incorporates some of the better known tunes from various My Little Pony DVDs over the years.

Likewise, it’s of even greater interest for collectors of the series with its inclusion of characters such as Thistle Whistle, Rarity, Wysteria, The Breezies, Minty and others that “no longer exist” in the line today. With the newest Hasbro line dubbed “Core 7,” as Wikipedia explains, which for marketing reasons has been chopped down to “only seven characters” and zero plans for “no new characters [to] be issued,” instead blending together older versions of numerous characters in one, this DVD comes at an ideal time to serve as a celebration of the series as a whole and the way they touched the lives of the various generations around the world since their launch.

The DVD, which includes five animated sing-along songs complete with the words at the bottom of the screen, is also accessible for the hearing impaired throughout the feature for televisions equipped with closed captioning. Directed by the Emmy award-winning television veteran David Stern, whose resume of experience in filming elaborate stage productions is nearly a mile long, this bright, upbeat, and beautifully digitized transfer invites participation from not only the audience being filmed (with many cuts to happy dancing and smiling children and parents) but also from the kids at home.

From the very start as Ponyville’s friendly Spike takes the stage in search of a misplaced “how to” book given to him by a kindly old troll, viewers are addressed directly as he inquires if they’re not only willing “to have a jolly good time” but also he encourages kids to remember that “if you feel like singing, dancing, or clapping your hands — go right ahead.”

However, as any Pony fan will tell you, Spike’s just the warm-up act and the real show begins when Sweetberry, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and all their friends take the stage. When the ponies decide to hold a huge tea party for their audience full of new friends at Rarity the unicorn’s glittery, sparkling Crystal Rainbow Castle, the group swings into preparation. From learning the proper tea drinking etiquette to striving to create the world’s biggest invitation, and visiting the ever stylish fashionista pony Sew-and-So to make sure they’re all well dressed, it seems like nothing has been left to chance.

Although, amidst all of the singing, dancing, and merriment performed on a highly colorful stage with a curtain made of streamers ready to “razzle and dazzle,” the perpetual worrier Pinkie Pie, who was overly concerned that her friends including the sweet but admittedly accident prone and forgetful pal Minty would neglect their duties, mistakenly forgot one of her very own — namely, bringing the tea. As they decide to “squink” a.k.a. “squeeze and think,” and Pinkie Pie fears that she’ll be shunned, she realizes that in the end everyone makes mistakes and the most important thing in addition to “bounce back ability” is that you always have a great supportive base of empathetic and loving friends to help you solve any problems that may come your way, whether it’s in Ponyville or in the real world.

While admittedly, older fans of grade school age may want to stick with the animated DVDs as opposed to the live production (rated G for general audiences) which is aimed at the much younger set, this cheerful and positive production captures the essence of Hasbro’s My Little Pony with plenty of “sing-along ability” as well as their moral of “bounce back ability.”

By, as they say, looking at “what can happen when you’re positively pink,” kids can get lost in a carefree, magical world for sixty-five minutes. Moreover, thanks to the performers and Stern’s direction, you won’t have to worry they’ll be overly sedentary instead invited to join Rarity’s love to “skip and flip” and “dance and prance,” while helping Pinkie and her friends along the way. Additionally, thanks to the cute sing-along songs included in the special features that light up as each word is sung, it may also help encourage greater phonetic skills than your run of the mill toddler DVD. And as an even greater bonus—it’s not to mention one that contains catchier songs than the rest as this reviewer is still humming “Shake Your Cutie” a full day later.

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