Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (2012)

Profiling the cross-demographic fanaticism for the ostensibly girl-orientated television series, [link=tt1751105].
  • 5.7 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Nat Segaloff, Writer:
  • Laurent Malaquais, Director:
  • Angie Brown, Tristan Chow, Charles de Charleroy Jr., S.R. Foxley, Producer:


5 / 10

Well put together, but what was the point?

I am not a Brony. I have never seen an episode of My Little Pony. Before seeing this documentary I was aware of the Brony phenomenon, but was relatively removed from it. I watched 'Bronies' to try and learn a bit more about the people behind the fandom, and was hoping to find an unbiased account of Brony culture, warts and all. I think overall this documentary was successful in a few ways, but was mostly overshadowed by it's failures. It's a very self congratulatory piece of film; plenty of discussion of the community aspect, the creativity and fun of it all, the feeling of 'fitting in,' but it's all at a very cursory glance. People say they like the morals and apply them to their lives? How about a few examples? You think the writing and animation are well done? Why not go a bit more in depth? There was very little that needed to be said by this documentary, yet we're consistently fed what feels like a party line. If you're looking for an objective documentary, this is not it. There is superficial lip-service paid to the female fans of the series, but it comes in the form of a short musical number and one documentary subject who is never on screen without her male counterpart. For a fanbase which has taken up a decidedly masculine moniker, I'd expect some discussion of how it effects women who want to be involved. Additionally, there is no discussion of the darker sides of Brony culture, like the fan- produced My Little Pony pornography known as 'Clop.' The documentary goes so far out of its way to avoid this subject, that it actually even includes a reference to 'clop' in a musical number, but immediately changes the subject. It feels at times like the documentary was never intended to explain Bronies to outsiders at all, but rather to be a celebratory exploration of the growth of Brony culture, to be viewed and enjoyed by Bronies themselves. This would be easily explained by the creative crew, and the Kickstarter funding. There's nothing wrong with this, but why phrase it as though it were intended for outsiders? Why even add the animated sequences with the professor teaching us about MLP history? It's not all bad, honestly. The creator of this documentary clearly knows how to pace a film. Scenes go as long as they need to, dialogue is generally moving the film along, and overall it's quite well shot. Some of the characters are quite compelling, and the creative side of Brony culture is very well represented. I think if there was one major takeaway from this film, it's that people who like MLP are producing a lot of content for the fan community, and that creativity is a major tenet of Brony culture. The film is very successful in conveying that there is a strong community, and a lot of creative content being produced. It's major failure though, and what causes the whole thing to fall flat is that it doesn't successfully convey why the Bronies become attached to MLP to begin with.

7 / 10

Not bad, but not great either.

So I just downloaded the digital copy of this for $12.99 and I'm assuming the reason you're reading this right now is probably because you're wondering if this documentary is worth it. In my opinion, it is if you are a brony yourself. Outsiders will not find anything here that will interest them, or keep them hooked for 90 minutes. This was definitely a love letter to the bronies, from the bronies. This doesn't mean that it's a bad movie, but you should know that going into it. Now unto what did and didn't work for me. My biggest issue was with pacing. The movie seemed to jump from one thing to the other with almost no transition at points. I would sit there wondering to myself "did they really need to include that clip?", but this is only a big problem in the first half hour or so. It's when the movie actually makes it to the conventions that I began to really enjoy it. There were a couple other problems, but that was the one that really stuck out for me. Now unto the good. One great thing that the filmmakers did that I really enjoyed, were the portions at Bronycon. These sections of the movie did a good job at showing off exactly what it is that we do as a fandom. I found myself smiling at a couple things said in interviews that only a brony would understand. I was not in attendance at this particular convention, but this movie made me want to be there. It looked like a fun time. The other conventions weren't handled as well as Bronycon, but I still enjoyed them. Anyways, buy this if you're a brony. Be free to skip right over this is you aren't

2 / 10

If this was meant to be a defense of bronies, it didn't work

Right off the bat, I'll let you know that I am NOT a brony. I don't think there's anything wrong with a man watching "My Little Pony." I've seen one episode of "Friendship Is Magic" and the old 80's series. I get the nostalgia. I'm fine with people following it. This documentary, however, was created with the intention of explaining bronies to non-bronies like myself, as though to somehow acquit the fandom of the negative image it has been saddled with, fairly or unfairly. This film utterly fails to meet that objective. One would think, in order to show that bronies are just normal people like you and I, that normal people would be put front and center in this documentary. They are not. The filmmakers seemingly selected some of the most extreme bronies they could find. Basically every person focused on in this documentary is a walking, living, breathing personification of every negative brony stereotype. Without meaning to be cruel or unkind to those who featured in the movie, effeminate, basement-dwelling, autistic, pasty-skinned, doughy manchildren is all this reviewer could see. And that's a shame, because in the group shots at Bronycon there did appear to be some relatively normal-looking people in the crowd. Perhaps in the five minutes wherein the documentary glossed over the military brony luncheon they could've actually found someone to shatter the stereotype, but even in that brief moment, they highlighted the most effete members of the group. For heavens' sake, Tara Strong was standing right there with her boobs practically hanging out and not one eye was on her chest. If the hope was to bring bronies into the norm, perhaps the documentary shouldn't have focused on such outcasts. You have the pilot guy, who spends his days getting his life threatened because he unwisely paints a target on himself by putting pony art on his car. You have the kid who we all gave wedgies to in high school who took his PARENTS to bronycon (oh, the humiliation) and whose father, throughout the movie, looks one step away from sending the kid off to military school for de- programming. You have the agoraphobic, socially-crippled Asperger's guy from England, who, let's just face it, is a blazingly hot mess. You've got people who insist on being called by their internet screen names in real life. The list goes on, and none of them appear to be anything other than social outcasts and maladjusted losers. This is NOT how you show how normal you are. As a non-brony, I approached this documentary hoping it would do something to dispel the overwhelmingly negative stereotype that follows the Brony sub-culture around. I hoped to gain some understanding of it. I watched it along with my wife, who had never even heard of bronies prior to viewing it, and not only did it not represent the fandom well, but it actually caused my wife to think poorly of it. If you're a brony, you probably won't see anything wrong with the film. But be aware, if you recommend it to a non-brony as a way to make your fandom look better, you will be shooting yourself in the hoof, because this will only hurt their opinion. Vote me down if you wish. I have no hate for MLP:FIM fandom, and I think it's great you have your hobbies, but this is the way it looks to people outside the bronyhood.

9 / 10

Great for bronies, informative for everyone else

This documentary does an excellent job describing what the brony community is like. A lot of it is from the view of other bronies, but you get to see or hear a lot of what other people think. There's no shortage of heartwarming moments, and plenty of funny situations as well. The animations made for this documentary are very professional and look like something out of the show itself, not to mention the music that fits so fluidly with the animation. They did a great job capturing the real antics of the bronies who were interviewed during the documentary. It didn't feel like they had a camera crew following around. In all, it's a pretty entertaining documentary and also pretty informative even to bronies, but you certainly don't have to be a brony to enjoy and learn a lot from this film.

3 / 10

Surprisingly Homophobic for a Movie About Guys Who Like Sparkly Ponies

My biggest disappointment is that this film isn't at all funny. It's primary reason for existing seems to be to proselytize the virtues of the cartoon and justify the reasons grown men are fascinated by it. If you aren't a brony, you aren't going to find much in this film, because it doesn't have a sense of humor about itself. There is room in the market for a film like this, and because it was for a group of fans that seem a bit obsessive, it will probably make a profit. I can't really say it shouldn't have been made, simply that it does not speak to a broader audience. The one thing that I did take away from the documentary was that even simple stories, if made with quality, can find an audience. People that have trouble relating to one another and develop real world friendships find a lot to love about a show that explains why friendship is magical. At least that's what I saw as the plot of this film. Okay, now why the summary headline. . . I found this movie a bit disturbing for one main reason. Every My Little Pony obsessed man in this film felt they needed to tell us "I'm not gay." Like that makes their passion socially acceptable. They might as well be saying, "Sure, I like pink unicorns, but it's not like I like men! THAT would make me weird a pariah!" It's a rather homophobic view, in my opinion, and totally undermines the movie's supposed message of acceptance. So it's not entertaining, particularly educational, or social conscious, but if you obsessively collect everything with a pony on it, you'll probably like it.