A Brony Tale
Directed by Brent Hodge
Vancouver-based voice artist Ashleigh Ball has been the voice of numerous characters in classic cartoons such as Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Cinderella and more. When Ashleigh was hired to voice Apple Jack and Rainbow Dash for Hasbro's fourth series to use the My Little Pony name - My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - she had no idea she would become an Internet phenomenon and major celebrity to a worldwide fan-base of grownups. Bronies are united by their belief in the show's philosophy. This documentary gives an inside view of the Pony fan-world, and an intimate look at the courage it takes to just be yourself...even when that means liking a little girls' cartoon.
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★★★½ review by Karl von Randow on Letterboxd
Films look so great these days. This little documentary about a fringe fandom should not look so polished. And not just the picture, but really nice title cards and graphics while reading emails too. Simple. Bold. On theme for the subject matter. Bravo!
The bronies are presented sympathetically, while the protagonist reassures the audience with her persistent doubts. The protagonist, Ashleigh Ball, is the voice artist for two of the ponies; the invited guest of Bronycon in New York.
It seems that bronies are always trying to sell the show on its virtues, like a nutritional guide on a box of breakfast cereal. Or if not sell: validate their choice. Maybe that's for the audience's benefit? It's not easy being different, but there's a stronger desire here that enables bronies to buck the norm. Something that's plain when middle-class, normal looking white boys with their whole lives in front of them latch onto something like this. Something? I can't work out what to call it. A hobby?
There's so many of them! And they're quite sweet really. Odd? Definitely. One or two I felt might have been taking me for a ride. Is this whole thing a big joke? It doesn't seem so.
Fortunately Ball, in spite of being inexperienced at conventions, delivers the perfect responses to questions that we suspect she has no knowledge of, and to thunderous applause. Does a voice artist actually watch the show?
This film is fun. Go in with an open mind, and maybe like me you'll pencil in a little date with the first episode for another night. I hear it's a good one and you'll need to watch the second straight away. Don't worry, it's the fourth or fifth before you're hooked.
★★★½ review by Crawlspace Dweller Matt on Letterboxd
"The pervert alarm for sure went off in my head at first when I heard about it."
I am not a brony. Not at all. When all of this stuff started I did actually give it the benefit of doubt and watched an episode but it didn't do anything for me. To me it's just some girls' show.
Generally I don't have anything against bronies. I don't care if any grown guy likes to watch that show. I actually even think the brony community inhabitats some good musicians.
But you just can't deny that there is a big portion of nasty creeps in this fandom, clopping to pony drawings, dreaming about Rainbow Dash's butt, making weird MLP themed masturbation toys and things like that.
And I also can't deny that I spend a lot of time laughing over brony/MLP parodies on the internet. Hell, Hotdiggedydemons PONY.MOV series is some of the funniest animated bullshit I have seen.
I didn't plan on watching yet another brony documentary. Most of them just glorify the fandom and talk about how great the show and the fans are over and over again.
A Brony Tale intrigued me because it was made from the voice actors point of view. This documentary follows Ashleigh Ball, voice actor for 2 of the main characters of this show, during her first clash with the bronies. I thought that was really interesting to see how she reacts to this unexpected phenomenon. And I liked that they didn't cut things out to make everything look squakey clean and happy go lucky. No, Ashleigh was actually a bit worried when she first heard of the community of grown men watching this pony show.
During the film we get to know a lot of bronies. Most of them actual respectable people with notable background stories and interesting views on the show. One of them the self acclaimed "Manliest Brony" who has a cool beard, works on motorcycles and drinks beer. Honestly I was really glad to see "normal" people in this. There was another brony documentary I saw once and several convention videos on YouTube that made it look like most bronies are basementdwelling neckbeards. A Brony Tale shows a different side of the community though. Psychologists, soldiers and married couples are shown.
The most surprising thing however was how well this was shot. This film looked really good from beginning to end. Nice shots, good titlecards, well done graphics.
There are a lot of independent brony documentaries out there. I wouldn't be surprised if this one would turn out to be the best of them.
Then again I'm sure I won't watch another one, ever. I probably already spent enough time with stuff like this although I'm not a brony myself.
★★★½ review by dansquared_ on Letterboxd
This is a show for kids, but it doesn't wallow in that point. I like what I like, I don't need society to tell me what I like. That's all there is to it.
I've made a conscious decision to watch more documentaries in 2015. A Brony Tale is the second documentary I have watched so far, the first being Dinosaur 13. Going into it, I had no idea what A Brony Tale was really about.
I thought it was a documentary about being a voice actor, nothing more. I didn't know what a Brony was, I didn't even know that My Little Pony had been revived.
In part, it is about being a voice actor, we meet Ashleigh Ball, a voice actor/singer who lends her voice to two of the show's characters. We see her in the days leading up to a huge My Little Pony convention.
The focal point of the documentary is the Bronies themselves.
Bronies are a group of mainly heterosexual men who just so happen to love My Little Pony.
There's a message in this documentary, which is to do what makes you happy — even if what you enjoy to do goes against society's view of what is normal or acceptable for your age or gender.
This is a message I'd like to see put out there more often.
While I won't be watching My Little Pony any time soon, I do admit to thinking that Bronies are just plain awesome.
More power to 'em.
★★★½ review by Adam Roubitchek on Letterboxd
A respectful, but honest look at the Brony movement. It makes me question me question my own fandoms. Am I nearly as passionate or sincere about Star Trek or whatever as these Bronies are about MLP? Hardly.
★★★½ review by Aaron White on Letterboxd
Enjoyable documentary that seems to capture various groups within the Brony culture. A little too long, but otherwise very informative.
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