My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, or simply known as Rainbow Rocks, is a 2014 CanadianAmerican Flash animated fantasy musical film based on Hasbro's Equestria Girls toy line and media franchise, which is a spin-off of the 2010 relaunch of My Little Pony. Written by Meghan McCarthy and directed by Jayson Thiessen and Ishi Rudell, the film was produced by DHX Media's 2D animation studio in Vancouver, Canada for Hasbro Studios in the United States, as a sequel to the original Equestria Girls (2013). The film premiered in select theaters across the United States and Canada on September 27, 2014, which was followed by broadcast on Discovery Family, a joint venture between Discovery, Inc. and Hasbro, on October 17, 2014, and then a home media release on October 28, 2014.

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks
Rainbow Rocks Poster 2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJayson Thiessen
Ishi Rudell
Produced by
  • Devon Cody
  • Sarah Wall
Written byMeghan McCarthy
Based onMy Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
by Lauren Faust
Starring
Music byWilliam Anderson (score)
Daniel Ingram (songs)
Edited byRachel Kenzie
Production
companies
Distributed byScreenvision
Release date
  • September 27, 2014 (2014-09-27)
Running time
71 minutes[1]
Country
  • Canada
  • United States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$347,511 (Finland, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Uruguay)[2]

Like the first film, Rainbow Rocks re-envisions the main characters of parent franchise, normally ponies, as teenage human characters in a high school setting. Set between the television series' fourth and fifth seasons, the film's plot involves Twilight Sparkle returning to Canterlot High School to compete in a Battle of the Bands alongside the human counterparts of her friends – including former school bully/former student of Princess Celestia, Sunset Shimmer – to save the school from a trio of sirens from Equestria.

The film was well received by critics, who described it as "far superior" to the first installment.[3][4] It was followed by two sequels, Friendship Games and Legend of Everfree.[5]

PlotEdit

Former Canterlot High School bully and student of Princess Celestia, Sunset Shimmer, who has reformed after being defeated by the magic of Princess Twilight Sparkle's crown, is ostracized by most of the school despite her efforts to atone. Her only friends are the counterparts of Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and Rarity, who have formed a rock band called "the Rainbooms" to participate in the school's upcoming musical showcase. The five girls discover that the magic left over from Twilight's crown has given them the ability to grow pony-like ears, tails, and wings when they play their instruments.

Hoping to make a fresh impression, Sunset gives a school tour to three new students – Adagio Dazzle, Sonata Dusk, and Aria Blaze – and informs them of the showcase, unaware that they possess magical powers. Calling themselves "the Dazzlings", the trio perform a song that turns the other students aggressive and competitive towards each other, convincing them to turn the showcase into a Battle of the Bands. Sunset and her friends are protected from the song by their own magic, but fail to convince Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna of the danger. Sunset remembers a magical book kept by Princess Celestia, her mentor from Equestria, which she uses to send a message requesting Twilight's help.

Receiving Sunset's message, Twilight deduces that the Dazzlings are sirens from Equestria that feed on negative emotions to fuel their singing powers for their goal of world conquest. Twilight uses the book's magic to reactivate the portal, allowing her and Spike to return to the parallel world. Twilight and the girls attempt to lift the Dazzlings' spell, but it takes no effect. Concluding that they must perform a musical counter-spell, the girls enter the Battle of the Bands to give Twilight time to complete the spell. The Rainbooms face hostility and sabotage from the other bands throughout the competition, which raises tensions among Twilight's friends.

Desperate for time in the semifinal round against Trixie's band, Rainbow Dash performs an egotistical song to substitute the counter-spell and nearly transforms, which forces Sunset to ruin her performance to keep her from exposing their plan to the Dazzlings. Despite this, the Dazzlings intervene to allow the Rainbooms' advancement to the final round; however, this prompts Trixie to trap the Rainbooms beneath the stage to take their place. Isolated for hours, the girls enter an argument that allows the Dazzlings to absorb their magic. Realizing that their constant fighting is interfering with Twilight's spell, Sunset convinces the girls to resolve their differences, while Twilight reasons that playing together as friends will make the counter-spell work.

Spike rescues the girls with assistance from DJ Pon-3, whose headphone music protects her from the Dazzlings' spell. DJ Pon-3 provides a sound system that the Rainbooms use to engage the Dazzlings in a musical battle. Overwhelmed by the Dazzlings, the Rainbooms are joined by Sunset; with her help, the Rainbooms are able to destroy the Dazzlings' pendants, the sources of their powers. Afterwards, Twilight and Spike return to Equestria, while Sunset uses Celestia's book to remain in contact with Twilight.

In a post-credits scene, the human world's version of Twilight Sparkle is shown investigating the strange magical activity around Canterlot High.

CastEdit

The counterpart of DJ Pon-3 appears prominently in the film in a non-speaking role. The film features minor appearances from Michelle Creber as Apple Bloom; Ingrid Nilson as a counterpart of Maud Pie, Pinkie Pie's sister; Peter New as a counterpart of Big McIntosh; Lee Tockar and Richard Ian Cox as the counterparts of Snips and Snails; Tabitha St. Germain as a counterpart of Photo Finish; and Brian Drummond as a delivery pony in Equestria. Kazumi Evans also provides an uncredited line of dialogue as Octavia Melody.[7]

ProductionEdit

On February 13, 2014, Meghan McCarthy wrote on Twitter that she had worked on the film during the summer of 2013.[8] The film's opening credits were storyboarded by Tony Cliff.[9] The storybook illustration depictions of the sirens in Equestria were done by Rebecca Dart.[10] The illustrations shown during the ending credits were drawn by Katrina Hadley.[11]

In the audio commentary included in home media releases, Meghan McCarthy commented that Equestria Girls was initially not intended to become an ongoing franchise, and the thought of a sequel did not cross her mind. Additionally, Sunset did not become a main character until the second draft of the script.[10] The DVD commentary also points out that the midnight snack scene between Twilight and Sunset was actually added late into the film's production, Rarity's line "past...ahem...booboos" was ad-libbed by Germain, and the freestyle rap by Snips and Snails' counterparts was genuine freestyling by Lee Tockar and Richard Cox.[10]

MusicEdit

On February 13, 2014, songwriter Daniel Ingram wrote on Twitter that there will be a total of 12 songs in the film, the greatest number of songs featured in a Friendship Is Magic episode or Equestria Girls film thus far;[12] however, only 11 songs made it in the film.

Like in Equestria Girls, the songs were composed by Ingram with lyric writing shared between Ingram and screenwriter Meghan McCarthy; with the exception of "Rainbow Rocks" and "Shine Like Rainbows" which had lyrics by Ingram; "Bad Counter Spell" and "Under Our Spell" by McCarthy; and "Shake Your Tail" having a first draft by writer Amy Keating Rogers, in which Ingram later revised.[13] Trevor Hoffman provided the arrangements for the songs, and musician Caleb Chan produced the songs as well as played guitar and bass.[14]

  • "Rainbow Rocks" – The Rainbooms (voiceover)
  • "Better Than Ever" – The Rainbooms sans Twilight Sparkle
  • "Battle" – The Dazzlings and students
  • "Bad Counter Spell" – The Rainbooms
  • "Shake Your Tail" – The Rainbooms
  • "Under Our Spell" – The Dazzlings
  • "Tricks Up My Sleeve" – Trixie and the Illusions
  • "Awesome as I Wanna Be" – Rainbow Dash and the Rainbooms
  • "Welcome to the Show" – The Rainbooms, Sunset Shimmer, The Dazzlings, and students
  • "Rainbooms Battle" – Instrumental
  • "End Credits Song: Shine Like Rainbows" – The Rainbooms

ReleaseEdit

MarketingEdit

On July 24, 2014, a movie clip and a teaser trailer were released on Yahoo! TV.[15] On September 10, 2014, through the Equestria Daily fan news blog, Shout! Factory revealed a 30-second trailer.[16] Two days later on September 12, a 50-second trailer was released on YouTube.[17] Six days later on September 18, a full theatrical trailer was released also via Yahoo! TV;[18] the trailer was then uploaded to Hasbro's YouTube channel four days later on September 22.[19]

TheatricalEdit

The film received a limited theatrical release on September 27, 2014, in the United States through Screenvision theaters and in Canada through Cineplex theaters.[20][21] It also received a "Purple Carpet" premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, which was attended by the cast and crew as well as some celebrities such as Jamie Foxx, Modern Family actress Ariel Winter, and Academy Award nominee Quvenzhané Wallis.[22] Like the first film, the screenings of Rainbow Rocks in the United States bore no classification from the MPAA (which is not a mandatory, although many theaters carried a G-rating), while the Canadian screenings had classifications from provincial film boards (usually G).

In the United Kingdom, the film was theatrically released on October 25 and 26, 2014.[23] The film was theatrically released on November 15, 2014, in Australia.[24]

Home mediaEdit

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray by Shout! Factory on October 28, 2014, in Region 1.[25] Special features include a new featurette, the eight prelude animated shorts, a sing-along song, and an audio commentary on the film by writer Meghan McCarthy, director Jayson Thiessen, co-director Ishi Rudell, vice president of development at Hasbro Studios Michael Vogel, and Hasbro's executive director Brian Lenard.[26] There were also three store exclusives for the United States release of the DVD: The Target edition included a bracelet, a USD $4 coupon for one My Little Pony toy, and the DVD of the first Equestria Girls film; The Walmart edition included a music CD, a digital copy of the film, and the same $4 coupon; The Kmart edition included a "backstage pass" and the coupon.[27] The initial production run of the DVD contained an error that caused chapters 5 and 6 to play in reverse order when the film was viewed using the "Play" option on the main menu.[28]

A Region 2 Rainbow Rocks DVD from distributor Primal Screen Entertainment was released on March 23, 2015, for various countries, including France, Germany, Italy, the Middle East region, Netherlands, and United Kingdom.[29]

Alongside Equestria Girls and Friendship Games, this film was released in a box set on October 13, 2015 in Region 1.[30]

TelevisionEdit

Rainbow Rocks made its United States television premiere on Discovery Family (a joint venture between Discovery, Inc. and Hasbro) on October 17, 2014.[31] The film premiered on the Family Channel in Canada on November 8, 2014. In the United Kingdom, it premiered on Pop on December 24, 2014.

Merchandise and other mediaEdit

The film is a part of music-themed Rainbow Rocks lineup, a second installment in the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls toy line and media franchise, which was first displayed at the 2014 American International Toy Fair.[32][33] LB Kids published two novelizations of the film, all written by Perdita Finn. A Rainbow Rocks missile command-type mini-game was added to the Hasbro Arcade mobile app on April 8, 2014.[34][better source needed] An issue of IDW's Fiendship Is Magic features the sirens.

Animated shortsEdit

PreludeEdit

On February 13, 2014, Entertainment Weekly released the first trailer;[35] about four months later however, McCarthy confirmed on her Twitter post that the clips from that trailer "are separate shorts and not scenes in the movie."[36] A series of eight animated shorts was released on Hasbro Studio's YouTube channel in 2014 from March 27 to June 19 to promote the film.[37] The shorts were created by the Friendship Is Magic crew to tie into the film, and are considered "prequels" to the film's events, detailing how each of them discovered that they could awaken Equestrian magic within them by playing their respective instruments.[38]

The first eight shorts made their television debut on Discovery Family on May 30, 2015.[39]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original release date
1"Music to My Ears"[40]Ishi RudellCindy MorrowMarch 27, 2014 (2014-03-27)
DJ Pon-3 struts to her own beat on her way to Canterlot High, only to have her headphones confiscated by Principal Celestia when she gets there.
2"Guitar Centered"[41]Ishi RudellAmy Keating RogersApril 4, 2014 (2014-04-04)
Rainbow Dash and Trixie get into an argument over a double-neck electric guitar in a music store, and face each other in a "shred-off". Though Rainbow Dash wins, she decides to keep the guitar that won her the shred-off, and leaves Trixie with the double-neck guitar, at an unaffordable price, as her prize.
3"Hamstocalypse Now"[42]Ishi RudellJosh HaberApril 11, 2014 (2014-04-11)
Fluttershy and Rarity get into trouble when hamsters run loose while they try to clean their home at the animal shelter. Fluttershy manages to corral the hamsters by hypnotizing them with her tambourine music.
4"Pinkie on the One"[43]Ishi RudellJosh HaberApril 25, 2014 (2014-04-25)
Annoyed by Pinkie Pie's constant drumming antics, Rainbow Dash finds an outlet for Pinkie's energy by making her their band's drummer.
5"Player Piano"[44]Ishi RudellAmy Keating RogersMay 9, 2014 (2014-05-09)
Rarity turns to the Diamond Dog boys for help moving her grand piano across campus in time for band practice with her friends. After she arrives late, she agrees to take up playing the more portable keytar instead.
6"A Case for the Bass"[45]Ishi RudellNatasha LevingerMay 23, 2014 (2014-05-23)
Applejack tries to buy back her bass guitar after Granny Smith (Tabitha St. Germain) accidentally sells it to the Flim Flam brothers (Samuel Vincent and Scott McNeil). When the brothers doubt her ownership and refuse to return it, Applejack proves herself by expertly playing the bass.
7"Shake Your Tail!"[46]Ishi RudellAmy Keating RogersJune 6, 2014 (2014-06-06)
Twilight Sparkle and her friends try to come up with a theme for an upcoming party at Canterlot High.
8"Perfect Day for Fun!"[47]Ishi RudellDaniel Ingram and Amy Keating RogersJune 19, 2014 (2014-06-19)
The six friends hang out at Canterlot High's outdoor carnival together.

EncoreEdit

With lyric collaboration between Katrina Hadley, Daniel Ingram, Brian Lenard, Jayson Thiessen and Michael Vogel,[48]‹See TfM›[failed verification] and songs composed by Ingram,[49]‹See TfM›[failed verification] Hasbro released three Rainbow Rocks music videos on March 31, 2015: "Friendship Through the Ages",[50] "Life Is a Runway",[51] and "My Past is Not Today";[52] but were reuploaded two days later on April 2, 2015. These shorts are separate initiatives that lead up to the third Equestria Girls film installment, Friendship Games.[53] On April 6, 2015, Ingram replied in a comment on Facebook that these will likely be on the next Equestria Girls album in late 2015.[54] On September 17, 2015, the encore shorts were released as the first three audio tracks on the My Little Pony Equestria Girls: The Friendship Games soundtrack.[55]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original release date
1"My Past Is Not Today"Ishi RudellKatrina Hadley, Daniel Ingram, Brian Lenard,
Jayson Thiessen, and Michael Vogel
April 2, 2015 (2015-04-02)
Sunset Shimmer sings about leaving her past mistakes behind her.
2"Friendship Through the Ages"Ishi RudellKatrina Hadley, Daniel Ingram, Brian Lenard,
Jayson Thiessen, and Michael Vogel
April 2, 2015 (2015-04-02)
The Rainbooms sing about their everlasting friendship to Sunset Shimmer.
3"Life Is a Runway"Ishi RudellKatrina Hadley, Daniel Ingram, Brian Lenard,
Jayson Thiessen, and Michael Vogel
April 2, 2015 (2015-04-02)
Rarity sings about her fashion philosophy.

SoundtrackEdit

The film's soundtrack was released on September 10, 2014 via the iTunes Music Store.[56] Announced on Ingram's Twitter eight days later on September 18 (chart of September 27), the soundtrack placed #15 on the Kid Albums Billboard chart;[57][58] two weeks later on October 2 (chart of October 11, 2014), the soundtrack placed #12;[59][60] a week later on October 18, it placed #10.[61]

No.TitleWriter(s)Performer(s)Length
1."Rainbow Rocks"Daniel IngramRebecca Shoichet, Ashleigh Ball, Shannon Chan-Kent, Andrea Libman, Kazumi Evans1:40
2."Better Than Ever"Daniel Ingram & Meghan McCarthyBall, Chan-Kent, Libman, Evans1:35
3."Under Our Spell"Daniel Ingram & Meghan McCarthyEvans, Madeline Merlo, Shylo Sharity1:51
4."Tricks Up My Sleeve"Daniel Ingram & Meghan McCarthyKathleen Barr, Kaylee Johnston[62]2:06
5."Shake Your Tail"Amy Keating Rogers & Daniel IngramShoichet, Ball, Evans, Libman, Chan-Kent1:59
6."Welcome to the Show"Daniel Ingram & Meghan McCarthyEvans, Merlo, Sharity, Shoichet, Ball, Libman, Chan-Kent, chorus4:37
7."Awesome as I Wanna Be"Daniel Ingram & Meghan McCarthyBall, Shoichet, Libman, Chan-Kent, Evans1:16
8."Let's Have a Battle (of the Bands)"Daniel Ingram & Meghan McCarthyEvans, Merlo, Sharity2:52
9."Shine Like Rainbows"Daniel IngramBall, Chan-Kent, Libman, Evans, Shoichet, chorus2:35
10."Music to My Ears (Bonus Track)"Daniel Ingram 1:45
Total length:22:16

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

In Hasbro's Q3 2014 Earnings Report, it was revealed that the box office returns from this film exceeded that of the first film in the first weekend by 37%. On a per theater basis, sales for tickets grew by 19% in the first three weeks of its limited theatrical run.[63] The film grossed $360,736 in its limited time in theaters in the United Kingdom, Finland, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay.[64]

Television viewershipEdit

When the main feature premiered on Discovery Family on October 17, 2014, it was viewed by approximately 610,000 viewers.[65]

When the first eight Rainbow Rocks shorts made their television debut on Discovery Family on May 30, 2015, they were viewed by approximately 299,000 viewers.[66]

Critical responseEdit

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks was well received by critics and fans alike. Sherilyn Connelly for The Village Voice called Rainbow Rocks "far superior" to the first Equestria Girls film, and that while "the picture is continuity-heavy and not particularly accessible to newcomers", that the film was "up there with the show at its most thoughtful".[3] Sheri Linden of The Hollywood Reporter complimented the film, saying "Though it's strictly for the faithful, the tween-friendly mix of cute and earnest has a forthright sharpness and is never cloying."[4] Shane O'Hare of Geekscape gave the Blu-ray of the film a score of 4 out of 5, praising the soundtrack stating "The show's composer, Daniel Ingram,...killed it. 10 all new original recordings from Daniel really stole the show."[67] Ed Liu of Toon Zone, who gave the first film a mixed review, also found this film to be better. He wrote the film "is almost as sweet and charming as the best episodes of the series, finding new and interesting ways to expand on the show’s themes of friendship."[68]

"Gerry O", 12-year-old film critic for The Huffington Post's Kids First! column called the film "a combination of adventure with a crème of comedy and a sprinkle of excitement all rapped [sic] up in a friendship sandwich."[69]

In 2017, IGN named the film among the "Best Kids Movies Streaming on Netflix".[70]

ReferencesEdit

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