Director: Vic Dal Chele
Cast: Tabitha St. Germain, Janyse Jaud, Venus Terzo, Lenore Zann
Watch My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas online in the UK: Amazon Instant Video
“Nothing says Christmas like a pair of socks,” declares Minty (Tabitha St. Germain) in My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas. It’s the kind of sentiment that we’ve all said at some point, right? If not, it’s surely one that everyone can get behind. After all, who doesn’t love socks? But not even a fanatical passion for hosiery can save this direct-to-video animation.
A Very Minty Christmas is named after its protagonist – an earth pony with a mint green body and pink mane – rather than some kind of dentistry subplot, but while the punny title can be admired, there’s a simple problem that becomes apparent immediately: Minty is one of the most annoying animated characters you’re likely to see on screen. On a scale of 1 to Jar-Jar Binks, she goes full Jar-Jar, with her constant devotion to socks, anything green and Christmas – all while banging into things and breaking objects in a manner that’s meant to be endearing.
So when the My Little Pony gang erect their Christmas tree for the holidays, it’s no surprise that Minty should bang into it and break the special adornment at the tippy top: not a star, but a magical candy cane. The Here Comes Christmas Candy Cane, to be exact, which we’re told guides Santa to Ponyville every year. (Quite how that works isn’t explained, but we’re not entirely sure that novelty-sized confectionary is a reliable tool for navigation.) With the cane broken into lots of tiny pieces, though, Minty decides to take it upon herself to save Christmas.
The result is a tepid 45-minute adventure, which whisks us away to the North Pole and back. Along the way, we learn some important truths and morals about acceptance and generosity. There’s even room for a musical number devoted entirely to furry footwear (when a song about socks can’t redeem your movie, you know you’re in trouble).
The visuals are disappointingly shoddy throughout, relying mostly on bright colours to keep very tiny viewers entertained. Even worse, though, is the script from Pat and Jennie Romano, which treats its viewers not as young people, but as stone-deaf idiots. Every comment is repeated, or every question answered, to painfully cheesy degrees – “Isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas?” asks one, rhetorically. “Why yes, it is the true meaning of Christmas,” chimes another. It’s like watching a film written by a greetings card.
As a result, the closest thing the movie has to a plot becomes horribly flat and dull. “Here’s hoping it’s not as broken as it looks,” says Minty to herself, as she inspects the candy cane. “Oh no, it’s more broken than it looks,” she adds, in case we weren’t paying attention. The immortal line “How can you smell the sweetness of Christmas without a nose?”, meanwhile, is unforgivably wasted. “I feel it!” says one pony later, as they talk about the festive spirit of Christmas. “I feel it too!” comes Minty’s earnest reply, before adding: “What am I feeling?” It’s meant to come across as charmingly ditzy, but it’s closer to a personality disorder.
With each line uttered in the shrillest high-pitch imaginable, A Very Minty Christmas is an exhausting and frustrating watch – parents are advised to run and hide as soon as their child goes through a My Little Pony phase. Indeed, by the time you’ve even spent 10 minutes in Minty’s squeaky company, surrounded by a repetitive script, poor images and a boring string of non-events, you’ll be all too ready to gallop out the living room.
Nothing says Christmas like a pair of socks, My Little Pony teaches us. It gets one thing right: this Christmas, even doing your laundry is more enjoyable than this mess.