Featured DVD Review: A Brony Tale
August 18th, 2014
A Brony Tale is not the first documentary about the Brony phenomenon. What is a Brony? It's a older male fan of My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic, a cartoon I previously reviewed. Will this documentary appeal to Bronies? Will it help others understand the appeal of the show? Will it convert some viewers into Bronies?
Ashleigh Ball, who provides the voices for Applejack and Rainbow Dash, is the first of many people we are introduced to in this documentary. She explains how she got into voice acting and some of the jobs she had previously to getting hired on My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic. Early in the movie, she is invited to BronyCon, a New York convention, and has to contemplate whether or not she should go. As she says, when she first heard of Bronies, "the pervert alarm went off".
Throughout the movie, we return to Ashleigh Ball, but we also meet a number of other Bronies. This includes a biker or those in the military, men who you wouldn't associate with a cartoon aimed at girls. They help dispel the "pink blue syndrome" where girls have to like pink (and play with dolls and cry etc.) while boys like blue (and play with cars and are violent etc.). There are even neuropsychologists who studied a group of ponies and they found that Bronies have lower level of neurosis that the population at large. (We later learn why one of the neuropsychologists got interested in this group.)
We don't get a lot of deep insight into Bronies, which is the movies biggest weakness. However, we do get to meet a lot of interesting characters who explain in their own words why they are Bronies and how the Brony community has not only helped them on an individual basis, but how the Brony community at large is doing good in the world. If you are a fan of My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic, then A Brony Tale is a good way to look at some other people in your community. If you are not a Brony, then the movie will at least prove that these people are mostly normal. ("Mostly normal" isn't an insult, at least not in my opinion, because "fully normal" is really boring.) The movie likely won't convert you to Bronydom, but it might make you want to check out an episode or two.
Extras on the DVD include an extended scene with Ashleigh Ball talking about her voice acting career, while we also hear her singing a song. The director, Brent Hodge, gives a commentary over five minutes of the movie. Finally, there's close to a minute of Ashleigh Ball's and Brent Hodge's photoshoot for the movie.
A Brony Tale is an interesting look into the world of Bronies and does so in a way that is not judgmental, nor is it trying to sell the show. The DVD isn't loaded with extras, but there's enough that it is worth picking up for fans of the show or of documentaries in general.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Filed under: Video Review