Just watched it, and I enjoyed it. By the time I started, I had completely gotten over the concerns I expressed above and just allowed it to sink in.
As a reminder, we decided to drop spoiler tags starting today, so I won't use any.
It turns out all the reserved seats I mentioned before were actually for large groups of kids; birthday party, perhaps? Every seat besides the very front row was taken up. As far as I can tell, I was the only adult that wasn't a parent. That said, the audience was really well behaved. I was really happy when the kids movie trailers played and no one laughed at any of the dumb jokes. Really, the most annoying person was the mother sitting next to me, who audibly went, "Aww," and, "Oh no," at several moments.
The Hanazuki short was a lot of fun! It was really neat seeing how the animation and art style are improved from the web series. I kind of think including Little Dreamer was a mistake; that by far would have been the most baffling part for someone unfamiliar with the series.
The songs were pretty good, though the only songs that are sticking right now are the ones I heard clips of before: "We Got This Together", "Time to Be Awesome", and "Rainbow". Looking forward to the remixes!
I thought Twilight trying to steal the pearl and snapping at Pinkie were handled well, and it does evoke what we've seen in "A Canterlot Wedding".
The new characters were all alright, but they all turned good pretty easily. I'd be really excited to see them in the show, but if this is all we're getting, then I'm not sure they were worth including over more time for the main characters.
I can see why some people wouldn't like it, though. The movie makes barely any effort to show how great the main characters are, so if you don't already like them, you're just left with, "That annoying pink one," etc. We really just get little moments from everyone, not big standout moments, even with Twilight.
It's biggest failing is just how unambitious it is compared to the show's two-parters. While Tempest was alright, and Storm King was entertaining enough, the latter was lame as a villain. Really lame. And he went down so easily! Let's compare to two of the season finales.
And Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks still holds the title of hypest climax of the franchise
, even if I'm still not a huge fan of that movie. Compared to the Equestria Girls movies, EQG is better about character moments, but the Movie has less things I outright dislike.
I noticed some moments were in the trailers that weren't in the movie, like Tempest getting angry at a grunt that was wearing nail polish. Plus, they don't explain at all how everyone got off the island and back to Canterlot. That's pretty unusual for a 2D movie like this.
Oh, and here's my bingo card
. I never got around to finishing the rest of the images, and I don't feel like doing so.
I was really banking on a big scene where all the other ponies join in on the fight, like... well, let me just quote myself from earlier in the thread without spoiler tags.
Originally Posted by SigmasonicX
From DrForester's post, the biggest bummer I've heard about this movie is that the other ponies don't join in the fight against the underlings at the end. That's like half my bingo spaces!
I was imagining things like them seeing Starlight and some other ponies in cages and Applejack says, "If we need firepower, I know the first pony we're rescuing." Then Pinkie rushes over, and comes back with Granny Smith, and Applejack says, "What? No, not her! No offense, Granny."
Flim and Flam pulling out a new Super Speedy Cider Squeezy and sucking up bad guys. Trixie putting on a magic show with Starlight as her assistant, until Starlight gets bored and blasts them all. Filthy Rich shooting high pressure gold coins out a fire hose, which only draws more enemies to him. Vinyl and Octavia blasting shockwaves. That sort of thing.
It's pretty clear that they really simplified things in order to make is accessible for new audiences. Besides the story, this is demonstrated with things like how Twilight doesn't use any magic at all besides telekinesis and energy blasts. She didn't even teleport, and that's her thing! Plus, no Kung Fu Rarity or Fluttershy wrecking people with "massages". But I think by doing this, they missed the forest for the trees, and forgot to demonstrate how interesting the world of FiM is.
Probably a bit too much, and super fan-ficy, but it would have been cool as hell if, when the Storm King appeared in person, we saw a cotton candy cloud float by, then things get crazier in the throne room, and we see Discord lying down in the air, taunting the Storm King. They exchange quips and Discord fires a blast at Storm King. It does nothing, and Discord says, "*goofy* Ohoho, an anti-magic field! *sinister* How cute." Then he snaps his fingers and floods the room with pudding, drowning the guards (they're shown to be fine after). Storm King spins his staff and gets out, and uses some devices that give Discord a bit of trouble. But then Discord teleports himself out of a bind and is back to relaxing. He says, "Rest easy, Princess. He isn't worth my effort. I have absolute confidence you ponies can handle this on your own. You were able to beat me, after all. Ta-ta!" and leaves.
Overall, it's a good enough movie, but I can't say I'd recommend it over a good adventure story from the show, nor is it good as an introduction to the show, since it doesn't showcase the main characters well.