Friday, June 30, 2017

Mini-Reviews Part 191

First, my complete and comprehensive analysis of the new trailer for the MLP movie:

Carrot Top confirmed!  There was probably some other stuff, but why focus on the negative (no really, please don't ask me bitch about everything I don't like, or I'll never stop)?  Let's instead take a moment to acknowledge that, no matter what else goes wrong, there will be at least one reason to watch the film.

But for now, let's focus on the fanfiction side of the pony equation--and, in keeping with our best-part-of-the-trailer theme, let's make it another Carrot Top edition!  Well, an edition of stories wherein Carrot Top is one of the tagged characters, anyway.  Head down below the break for my thoughts.

The Bet, by King of Beggars

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Rainbow Dash is standing around out in the fog, staring straight ahead.  What could it mean?

A few thoughts:  There's nothing more here than meets the eye--a bet collides with some townspony over-reacting--but it's funny enough for what it is.  There's a nice flow to the panic-conversation, and the reveal at the end of what was at stake is amusing (if, perhaps, a bit too extended for what is really just a reveal).  With that said... there's not a lot to say.

Recommendation:  If seeing Carrot Top and company make hay about zombies, reverse-zombies, and the like sounds amusing to you, this provides above-average delivery of that kind of humor.  But if you're not in the market for "that kind of humor," there's really nothing else here.

The Rose Garden, by TheManof2481

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Roseluck's diary, in which she recounts bonding with her new special somepony... and preparing to show her the special connection Rose and her friends have with flowers, a connection beyond what ordinary ponies can comprehend.

A few thoughts:  The editing on this is a real letdown.  I suppose one could argue that it should be interpreted as in-universe capitalization, punctuation, and basic sentence structure issues, but the fact is that this story is poorly constructed to (and well past) the point of distraction.  Then there's the question of the format itself; while the diary does largely avoid the most obvious cheats (crossed out words and the like), it does indulge in a lot of detailed conversations which I didn't always feel Rose would be likely to transcribe in their entirety, as well as having her explain a few things transparently for the reader's benefit.  It's a pity, too; the vaguely Lovecraftian angle (in terms of tone and horror, not tentacle-monsters) is kept appropriately opaque right through the ending, and at its best the story does manage to be downright unsettling.

Recommendation:  This is a good choice for readers who place concept over execution; there's a disturbingly uncertain cosmic horror story at the heart of this, and even through its flaws I found bits of imagery memorable.  That said, there are plenty of flaws, and anyone who's going to get bogged down in the presentation should probably pass on it.

Forecast, by Jondor

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Rainbow Dash and Applejack are on the verge of becoming an item, and the rest of Ponyville's farm/garden community is terrified that AJ will get preferential weather treatment.  So the order of the day is: sabotage!

A few thoughts:  Although "shipping" isn't really a thing that appeals to me, I can appreciate that this has a nice balance of shipping (not really romance, but the "main six gonna kiss" sense of inevitability which is the hallmark of a shipfic) and humor.  Also on the subject of my biases: it may be my biases, but Carrot Top is particularly entertaining as an aggressively misinformed but undeniably earnest worrywart, and the other characters fill their roles well.  That said, the story does feel a bit bloated; at over 7000 words, this is pretty long for something as light and goofy as it is (not helping: the entire plot is "Dash and AJ might try dating, other ponies try to interfere, fail;" there aren't any meaningful subplots which could put some more flesh on that bone), and it ends up repeating some of its better jokes well before it wraps up.

Recommendation:  If you enjoy shipfic-with-antagonist humor (e.g. "the hilarious misunderstanding," "the winkingly pressaged karmic retribution"), then give this a try.  It's probably not for people bored of those particular cliches, though, nor those wary of seeing ideas beaten into the ground.


  1. Still uncertain about the movie. Waiting for the guinea pigs... I mean other reviewers... to take a look first. Incidentally, I was never much of a gambler.


    Something about that slightly modified character design and overly flowing animation gives me the unfamiliar, subtle, but sustained heebie-jeebies. It's as though a much-loved and familiar person were replaced by an uncannily close yet noticeably imperfect imposter, of unknown provenance and of mysterious but potentially sinister motivation...

    Or maybe I'm just weirded out 'cause it's different. Meh, I'll get used to it, or at least I hope so.

  2. Well, the movie is going to have pirates, sword fights, and airships blowing holes in each other, so its downsides will have to be pretty significant to get a negative reaction from me.

    On the new art style... it's a subtle change but an important one. The current ponies have a blend of smooth curves and a few hard breaks in their outlines that give them a nice visual rhythm. The movie ponies seem to have had all the corners and angles sanded off, which gives them a "mushier" feel to me.

    1. The softer corners probably go better with the bigger screen. Wonder if any of it is in Imax.

      Action scenes sell, even when your market is little girls aged 6-12 who want to buy plastic ponies with brushable manes. "Well, my doll is Twilight Sparkle, and she kicks *butt*!!"

  3. The pony in the trailer is Caramel Apple, not Carrot Top. I also thought it was Carrot, until I saw her candy apple cutie mark.

  4. That last one sounds good. :D Good thing it's already on my RIL!

  5. The new art style bothers me. A lot, actually. But I'm not entirely sure what to think of the rest of it. The whole thing had kinda of a generic kids movie vibe, but that may just be because of the way the trailer is cut. Reserving judgement until I actually see the thing.

  6. I gotta be honest Chris, I've been a bit concerned about you lately; considering this is something of a review site, it kinda feels weird when lately you've been saying you really don't like certain things without clarifying why (the movie trailer and A Royal Problem), and to be honest it comes off as unprofessional. I understand you haven't been feeling most of recent pony, but at least in the past your reasoning was clear. I dunno, I just feel it adds more to your posts when you elaborate on your impressions of various things and I worry otherwise it can come off as you dismissing any new pony material out of principle or something.