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  • It's kinda strange how the darkest episode which features a lot of beasts, crumbling castles and dangers would be my favorite compared to the cuteness of the "MLP and Friends" episodes.

    First of all, it needs to be mentioned that Tirac had the coolest voice ever in the Swedish dub from the eighties. So much more powerful and sinister than the, in comparison, measly American voice. On the other hand, they had a grown woman doing the voice for Megan in the dub, which always made me believe that Megan was an adult and not a child.

    As for the episode, it starts out very nicely with the beautiful landscape of Dreamvalley. I always liked the animation style in this episode compared to "And friends", though the hair had less detail. The opening song is so pleasantly sung (especially in the original Swedish dub) and it's just such a nice feeling over all. Then quite fast, the episode takes a dark turn and they have to get to the Midnight Castle to rescue their friends.

    I always liked this episode because it's not so dandy and perfect. There's a good mix of personalities among the ponies, some are brave, some are clumsy, some are scared, some like adventure... you can clearly tell the difference from the other, instead of everybody being equally good and brave. Especially Twilight who is scared, but has to be brave to help her friends. The personalities aren't as shallow as they were in "Friendship is Magic", these characters give a real heartwarming feeling. (Thankfully there's no character like Pinkie Pie in this episode)

    I can't speak for the dialog in the original voice acting as I always watch this in Swedish, but I found it very good. It shows that there doesn't need to be excessive dialog to get a point across. Conversations are short and informative.

    I also enjoyed all the songs featured in the episode. They don't feel like a commercial jingle composed in two minutes (ala "FIM") and are of good length as well.

    Unfortunately this episode was re-dubbed for the DVD release and the new dubbing is unbearable because of a huge error. In the "Call upon the Seaponies" song, the translator has completely missed the point of the song and translated it to "Use your phone to call the sea-ponies." There are no phones underwater! How can someone do an error such as this? Did they use Google Translate?

    I love this episode and I will continue watching it until the old cassette withers away and can no longer be played. I love this episode so much I can remember almost every line spoken. Very few movies and episodes do this for me.
  • WeirdRaptor29 November 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    In 1984, Hasbro worked with Marvel Productions and Sunbow Productions to create a pair of half-hour TV specials based on their toy line. At this tentative stage, they were simply testing the waters to see if anyone would be willing to sit through a televised program starring the pastel-colored equines running through fields, playing, dancing, singing, and battling the force of Apocalyptic evil. Release April 14th, 1984, it aired in Prime Time.

    An evil tyrant requires four ponies to transform into dragons to pull his chariot so that he can fly through the skies and rein in The Night That Never Ends and take over the world. So the ponies team up with a 10-12 year old girl named Megan Williams to stop him. Better than it sounds.

    The story is solid, if a little clichéd. We've seen Evil Overords try to Take Over The Earth, and can only be stopped by a Ragtag Bunch Of Misfits with their Super-Special Items a million times before. Then again, it wasn't meant to be ground-breaking in any regard. It did what it was supposed it to well as a fun little fantasy-adventure.

    It does have its flaws. A half-hour it held back a lot. As is it, the villain only gets a chance to shine a few times. The journey to his castle is also less than spectacular. It's literally an afternoon stroll away with hardly any obstacles along the way (the worse being completely accidental). Obtaining the Super-Special Item needed to defeat The Big Bad is literally just handed to the heroes because they didn't have enough time to crawl their way through a dungeon or temple to get it.

    With that in mind, it certainly had its strengths which do outweigh its weaknesses. The special had atmosphere and the audience feels as though there is something at stake at all times. Its villain had a very commanding presence and the nastiness to back to it up. The henchman are also decently competent, which is a nice break from the norm.

    The characters weren't deep, but their personalities are concisely written distinguishable. Firefly is a head-strong daredevil tomboy. Medley is reserved and cautious. Twilight is motherly and supportive. Bow-Tie is level-headed and takes charge. Applejack is awkward and clumsy. Amber wants to grow up quickly. Megan is inexperienced and unsure of herself, but sincere and brave. Spike is naive and excitable.

    The animation for this special was actually pretty solid. It was nothing wowing, but it actually had some care put into. The ponies moved fairly realistically and they were designed to look a lot like actual ponies. A handful of inspired designs also help give the look of the special an edge as well.

    The music and songs are fairly stock for the medium, but were by no means terrible. The songs were more memorable than the score though, and quite enjoyable. My picks from the songs would have to be "Dancing On Air" and "A Little Piece of Rainbow", sang by Sandy Duncan and Tony Randall respectively, because…Sandy Duncan and Tony Randall. Come on. Sandy Duncan and Tony Randall.

    The voice acting was well done over as well, with standout performances from Sandy Duncan, Tony Randall, and Ron Taylor with the rest ranging from Really Good-to-Decent. I in particular took a liking to Bow-tie's voice.

    Final Conclusion: It was good. Pretty stock in many cases, but some inspired writing, designs, and performances raised it just a notch above the standard norm of early-mid 80s TV animation. To this day, My Little Pony: Rescue at Midnight Castle remains a cult classic among fans of the franchise and fans of 80s animation in general and rightfully so. Give it try, if you haven't yet. I think this TV special just might surprise you.
  • Although I did like Escape from Catrina, I found Rescue at Midnight Castle(aka My Little Pony or Firefly's Adventure) the better of the two. Most of the voice acting is great, especially that of Tirak, though I did prefer Applejack's voice later on. Charles Adler was good, but Spike was more adorable in later incarnations also. However, the animation is absolutely great, of the four My Little Pony movies/specials I've re-visited so far(the 1986 original movie, Escape from Catrina, End of Flutter Valley and this) this had the best animation, with beautiful colours to start with and the darker moments equally impressive. The songs are tuneful especially Megan and Firefly's, the writing is suspenseful and never going overboard with the schmaltz and cheesy slapstick and the story is always engaging with a dark tone. The characters are all likable, with Megan and Tirak(not the most interesting My Little Pony villain but the most threatening) the best and the ponies and sea-ponies both well-drawn and adorable. All in all, very good. 8/10 Bethany Cox
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Lets be honest: Probably almost everybody has heard of "My Little Pony" until now, mostly because of the recent television show "Friendship is Magic", but probably not too many know that the tiny horses had their first screen appearance in the 1980s already, which means they are over 30 years old. This one here is a 22-minute television special and it shows us how it all started, namely with some of the ponies being caught by an evil monster lord who wants them to turn into beasts that can pull his chariot. And he is partially successful, but at the end of course it all gets reversed as if there is any show that is about happy endings, then it is "My Little Pony", even in an exaggerated way as other transformed creatures are also turned back and the ponies get help from an unexpected source. And an expected too as they have a little girl helping them. Two years later, the ponies got their own show and these 22 minute were used for this show as well. I thought it was all pretty decent. The characters are likable, the story is very innocent, even if the enemies do look scary. Of course, you should not expect realism here to be honest because one of these huge dragons could catch four ponies alone I am sure, but that's fine. It is all a fantasy world and movie of course, so I cannot criticize this really. What surprises me though is how many directors worked on such a short film. But it's not a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. i recommend seeing it, also to grown-ups.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The characters can be forgettable (this applies to most of Generation 1, however). The story is a tad lacking, although more focused than some of the later attempts (I'm looking at you, The End Of Flutter Valley.) The songs are okay, though some are forgettable. The writing is.. okay. It certainly has it's moments, such as Megan's little turn of spirit from hopeless to hopeful in "Dancing on Air". All in all I'd say it's one of the better entries in the original 'N Friends era.

    Do I have criticisms, though? Oh yes. The transfer from happiness to dark and cloudy near the start was rather jarring, the stratodons are never really explained very well, Tirek's appearance is... pretty bad, he was much better when he was covered in shadow, much more menacing. Spike can be a tad annoying at times (though I still like him), Scorpan being a transformed prince sort of comes out of nowhere at the end... but, for what it is, it's more solid than a lot of the other entries in the series.
  • I respect those who enjoy this animated drawing (I know a lot of people who like it), but I do not like it. Of course, they even have decent quality for the female children's audience, but I do not recommend boys and the adult audience.