|My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks|
|Title||Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks|
|Developer||Jayson Thiessen, Ishi Rudell|
|Release Date||September 27, 2014|
My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks is the sequel to the My Little Pony Friendship is Magic animated film My Little Pony Equestria Girls. It features a Battle of the Bands storyline and was released theatrically on September 27, 2014. The film takes place after the animated shorts Music to My Ears, Guitar Centered, Hamstocalypse Now, Pinkie on the One, Player Piano, A Case for the Bass, Shake Your Tail and Perfect Day for Fun, and before the animated shorts My Past is Not Today, Friendship Through the Ages, Life is a Runway, and the third Equestria Girls movie, My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Friendship Games. In this film, Princess Twilight Sparkle returns to Canterlot High to compete in a Battle of the Bands alongside the Rainbooms—including a reformed Sunset Shimmer—to save the school from a band of sirens from Equestria.
Development and production
As revealed in the audio commentary of the DVD, Equestria Girls was not initially planned to become a franchise and the thought of a sequel did not cross Meghan McCarthy's mind. Additionally, Sunset Shimmer did not become a main character until the second draft of the script.
This film was announced by Hasbro as part of a press kit at the 2014 International Toy Fair. When asked about the film on an AMA for Reddit, Tara Strong also confirmed it saying, "It'll be adorable."
On February 13, 2014, Meghan McCarthy tweeted that she worked on the film in Summer 2013.
On the same day as McCarthy's tweet, songwriter Daniel Ingram tweeted that there would be a total of twelve songs in the film, the greatest number of songs yet featured in a Equestria Girls film.
The film's opening credits were storyboarded by Tony Cliff. The illustrations shown during the ending credits were drawn by Katrina Hadley. The storybook depiction of the sirens was illustrated by Rebecca Dart.
The DVD commentary also points out that the midnight snack scene between Twilight Sparkle and Sunset was actually added late into the film's production.As revealed in the commentary, Rarity's line "past...ahem...booboos" was ad libbed by Tabitha St. Germain. Also, Snips and Snails' freestyle rap was genuine freestyling courtesy of Lee Tockar and Richard Ian Cox.
Prologue: Equestrian magic
The film opens at a café in the human world. The numerous café patrons argue among themselves as a strange green mist swirls around their feet. In the corner booth, three girls in hoods sing and absorb the green mist into the red gems on their necklaces. The purple-haired girl Aria Blaze grumbles that she's "tired of fast food" and needs a meal. The orange-haired girl Adagio Dazzle laments that the energy in "this world" isn't the same as that in Equestria.
As the blue-haired girl Sonata Dusk joins the conversation and gets into a light argument with Aria, Adagio notices an explosion of light in the distance. She races out of the café and watches the magical rainbow energy burst into the sky, grinning evilly when she realizes what it is. She explains to Aria and Sonata that Equestrian magic has found its way into the human world, and they're going to use it to make everyone adore them.
Sunset Shimmer's efforts
Six moons later, at Canterlot High School, the students are busy making banners in the auditorium for the school's upcoming musical showcase. Sunset Shimmer offers to help the Crusaders with their banner, but they decline, much to Sunset's disappointment. When Pinkie Pie calls Sunset over to join her and her friends, the other present students glare at and gossip about Sunset, making her uncomfortable. Rarity quickly changes the subject and shows Sunset the banner they made for the showcase (which Pinkie used cake frosting on instead of paste).
Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna then enter, and Celestia says how pleased she is by the amount of student participation in the showcase. However, when she mentions the Fall Formal, the students glare at Sunset again and Sunset hides her face in humiliation. Later, in the school band room, Sunset laments how she'll never live her past mistakes down. Her friends, now in a five-part band called the Rainbooms, say they've forgiven her and cheer her up with a rehearsal of Better Than Ever. As they sing, the five bandmates sprout pony ears and wings and longer hair, which disappear when they stop playing. Rarity and Applejack express disbelief at the strange phenomenon, but Rainbow Dash cares little, letting her band leader egotism show.
Flash Sentry enters, having heard the band's playing from outside the room, and compliments their sound. When Rainbow criticizes Rarity and Applejack's playing, they give an annoyed look. Flash asks if "any friends from out of town" will be coming to the showcase. The Rainbooms tell him they're not sure if Twilight will be present, and Flash awkwardly excuses himself. Rarity is amused by Flash's behavior, but she stops herself when she remembers that he and Sunset used to date. Sunset admits that she never liked Flash romantically and further regrets her past actions. As Applejack cheers her up, a speaker announcement by Vice Principal Luna summons Sunset Shimmer to the school foyer. Sunset leaves the room, having promised to give a tour to some new students and the Rainbooms go back to rehearsing. Fluttershy asks if they can sing a song she wrote, to which Rainbow Dash replies that they'll get to it later.
Enter the Dazzlings
At the school entrance, Sunset Shimmer meets with the new girls - Adagio, Aria, and Sonata - and shows them around the school. During the tour, they pass by a flyer for Canterlot High's musical showcase; Sunset talks about the event, and the girls are intrigued, with Sonata nearly revealing their true nature. When Sunset notices the three's gem necklaces and reaches for Adagio's, Adagio grabs Sunset's wrist in sudden offense. Adagio catches herself and apologizes, explaining that their pendants mean a lot to them and they don't want anything to happen to them. The three girls walk off, leaving Sunset to ponder their strange behavior. Later in the cafeteria, Sunset joins her friends and mentions that there is something "off" about the new girls, worrying that they know about the events of the Fall Formal. Outside the cafeteria doors, Adagio, Aria, and Sonata have a brief argument before they enter. With their beguiling voices and a rousing song, the girls convince the students of Canterlot High to turn the musical showcase into an all-out Battle of the Bands. As they sing, tensions rise among the students, causing them to argue. As each vows victory in the competition, green mist forms around them, which Adagio, Aria, and Sonata absorb into their pendants. Only Sunset Shimmer and her friends are unaffected by the song.
A mesmerized school
Sunset Shimmer and the Rainbooms suspect that Adagio, Aria, and Sonata are using dark magic on the students and go to alert the principals. However, Celestia and Luna believe the girls, now calling themselves the Dazzlings, are innocent and even praise them for their Battle of the Bands idea. For a brief moment, the principals' eyes glow green, indicating that they have also fallen under the Dazzlings' spell. The Rainbooms deduce that the magic that causes them to transform while playing music also makes them immune to the Dazzlings' spell. With the rest of the school under the Dazzlings' control, the friends consider getting Princess Twilight to return and help. The closed portal prevents her from returning, but Sunset Shimmer has an idea. In her locker, she finds an old book with her cutie mark on the cover and explains that she used it to write messages to Princess Celestia, which would appear in a book in Celestia's library. Hoping to get a message to Princess Twilight, Sunset opens the book and begins to write, starting with the three words she hadn't written in a long time...
- "Dear Princess Celestia..."
- — Sunset Shimmer
Back in Equestria
In Ponyville, at the Friendship Rainbow Kingdom castle, Princess Twilight Sparkle and the pony version of the Rainbooms lounge about in the throne room when a stallion arrives with a delivery of books from Princess Celestia. One of the books, with Celestia's cutie mark on the cover, appears to glow and vibrate. Twilight opens it and discovers Sunset's call for help.
Twilight determines from Sunset's warning that the Dazzlings are actually Equestrian sirens. Long ago, the sirens used their eerie songs to turn ponies against one another and fed on the negative energy from their hatred and distrust, which made them powerful enough to control minds. But before they could conquer Equestria with their magic, Star Swirl the Bearded banished them to another world—the world where Sunset Shimmer now lives with the human counterparts of Twilight's Ponyville friends.
Twilight wishes to go and help her human friends, but the Crystal Mirror's closure prevents her from doing so. Pinkie Pie proposes that the same magic that allows Sunset Shimmer to send messages from the human world to Equestria should allow the portal to be opened. With a bunch of mechanical parts, and using the book as a battery, Twilight is able to energize and reopen the portal. Her friends want to accompany her, but Twilight tells them they can't because it would be confusing to have two copies of her friends in the same place. Her dragon assistant, Spike, can still go along, however, and he and Twilight soon charge into the portal.
Return to Canterlot High
Back at the school, Rainbow starts to lose hope that Twilight will come, when Twilight and Spike suddenly shoot out of the portal. Her human friends meet her in a group hug. Later at Mr. and Mrs. Cake's Sweet Shoppe, the friends all catch up, with Spike revealing Twilight's new status as the Princess of Friendship. Once Twilight learns of what they're up against, she comes up with a plan to ambush the Dazzlings at the pre-Battle of the Bands party being held in the school gym.
At the band meetup, Twilight bumps into Flash Sentry and stammers in his presence. Once the Dazzlings arrive, Twilight and her friends declare their evil plans finished and attempt to stop them with a magic of friendship attack. However, nothing happens, allowing the Dazzlings to feed on even more of the competitors' negativity. Having humiliated themselves, Twilight and her friends excuse themselves, but the Dazzlings decide to keep an eye on them, calling them "special".
Twilight and the others regroup outside the school and try to figure out what went wrong. They reason that, since they can only channel their magic when playing music, only a counter-spell in the form of a song will break the Dazzlings' spell, making the Battle of the Bands the perfect venue. They also decide Twilight should be the Rainbooms' new lead singer, much to Rainbow Dash's chagrin. Before Twilight retires to the school library like she did during her last visit to Canterlot High, Pinkie Pie proposes a slumber party at her house. That evening, as her friends enjoy themselves around her, Twilight has considerable difficulty writing a counter-spell. Later, after everyone falls asleep, she works on it in the kitchen and is soon joined by Sunset Shimmer. As the two bond over the similar problems they each face, Sunset is startled when Pinkie's older sister Maud comes in to get a snack for Boulder.
- "I still can't get over the fact that she's related to Pinkie Pie."
- — Sunset Shimmer
The next day, the Rainbooms practice their musical counter-spell in the barn next to Applejack's house. Unfortunately, Twilight's singing is so off-key that Rainbow Dash only manages a small bit of transformation. Before long, hostility continues to grow between the Rainbooms regarding Rarity's costumes and Rainbow's insisting that the band is hers. With the Battle of the Bands starting soon, the Rainbooms soon agree to perform other songs and stall for time until Twilight can complete her spell. In addition, they decide to keep their magic a secret from the Dazzlings for as long as possible.
The Mane Event
The Battle of the Bands gets underway, with Snips and Snails performing a hip-hop duet that earns only confused looks from the audience and reprimanding from Principal Celestia when they drop the microphones. When the time comes for the Rainbooms to perform, Rarity takes the stage in a hippie-inspired outfit with metal fringes. During their performance of Shake Your Tail, other competitors try to sabotage them: Photo Finish and the Snapshots manipulate Rarity's movement with a magnet, and Snips and Snails take advantage of Fluttershy's stage fright by holding a spotlight over her. The Rainbooms manage to advance to the next round, but they continue to squabble over petty issues. Later, even Flash Sentry starts to show hostility toward Twilight, considering her to be an enemy because she is on a rivaling band. As they part ways, a heartbroken Twilight walks away in tears. At the other end of the hallway, Sunset confronts the Dazzlings about their evil schemes, but the Dazzlings play to Sunset's fragile emotions and make her feel useless in her friends' eyes.
In the following montage set to the Dazzlings' Under Our Spell, competing bands are eliminated one by one, from the Crusaders to Bulk Biceps to Lyra Heartstrings and Sweetie Drops to even Flash Sentry. In the semifinals, the Rainbooms face Trixie and the Illusions to decide who faces the Dazzlings in the final round. As Trixie and her band perform Tricks Up My Sleeve, Twilight still has yet to finish her counter-spell song, so Rainbow Dash takes over as lead singer and the Rainbooms perform Awesome As I Wanna Be. However, Rainbow Dash gets carried away and starts to transform, prompting Sunset Shimmer to leap in and cut the song short. The crowd is convinced that Sunset hasn't changed, adding more fuel to the fire of hatred for the Dazzlings to feed on.
Trixie's dirty tricks
Through the Dazzlings' manipulation of the principals, the Rainbooms advance to the final round instead of the Illusions. An embittered Trixie is later approached by Adagio and given the idea of removing the Rainbooms from the competition so the Illusions can take their place in the finals.
During the Rainbooms' mic check on the stage where the finals are to take place, Trixie and the Illusions arrive to carry out their plan: a lever opens a trap door on the stage, and the Rainbooms fall inside. Spike, the only one not to become trapped, rushes off to find help. That night, the Illusions perform in the finals following the Rainbooms' supposed forfeit. Afterward, the Dazzlings take the stage for their final performance and continue feeding off the crowd. Below the stage, tempers and tensions finally boil over between the Rainbooms and a five-way argument breaks out, allowing the Dazzlings on stage to feed on their hatred.
Sunset notices what's happening and finally intervenes, chastising the Rainbooms and pointing out that their arguing has warped the magic of friendship into something that the Dazzlings can feed on. Twilight is ashamed that she hadn't realized it sooner, and Sunset tells her no one is supposed to have all the answers, but friends can help you find them. The Rainbooms thus make amends and finally come to a compromise, and Spike arrives to rescue them with the help of DJ Pon-3, whose headphones shielded her from the Dazzlings' spell.
The Dazzlings continue feeding on the crowd on stage and transform, giving them pony ears, tails, and translucent wings. As the Rainbooms watch from atop a hill, wondering how their song can reach the crowd, DJ Pon-3 arrives with further assistance: a car that converts into a DJ station. The Rainbooms start to play their counter-spell song over the Dazzlings' song and take on half-pony forms with colors. Refusing to be stopped, the Dazzlings summon astral versions of their true siren forms and manage to overpower the Rainbooms.
As the Rainbooms fall, Twilight's microphone rolls next to Sunset Shimmer's feet, and Twilight says they need her help. Sunset finds new resolve and, upon removing her jacket, starts to sing. Before long, the rest of the Rainbooms join her, and their combined magic creates a rainbow shockwave that weakens the Dazzlings and severs their spell over everyone, much to Adagio's disbelief. The magic of friendship builds inside Sunset, granting her a half-pony form of her own. All the students then join in, and as the Dazzlings look on in shock, horror, and terror, the magic coalescing in the sky takes the form of a giant Alicorn that destroys their astral projections as well as their gem pendants. With their power sources destroyed, the Dazzlings find they've been rendered tone deaf without their magic to sing and re-cast their spell. The unamused and enraged students boo, jeer, and pelt them with fruits and vegetables, forcing them to flee in shame and disgrace. Flash, now free of the Dazzlings' influence, meets Twilight in a happy and warm embrace. However, Trixie, still upset about her competition loss, breaks up the embrace and gloats at the Rainbooms before taking her leave. As for Sunset, with Twilight now having to return home to Equestria, Rainbow allows Sunset to join the band in Twilight's stead -- especially after Sunset reveals she can play the guitar.
Dear Princess Twilight
Before Twilight leaves, she promises to visit whenever she can now that the portal can be opened at any time. Later, as the girls tune up their instruments, Sunset uses her old journal to write the friendship lesson she learned to Princess Twilight, ending it with the closing statement:
- "Your friend, Sunset Shimmer."
- — Sunset Shimmer
As the film closes, Sunset picks up her guitar and joins her bandmates in a performance of Shine Like Rainbows. During the credits, Sunset is seen having now been accepted by the rest of the school, as the Cutie Mark Crusaders help her with her books and walk together with her and Bulk Biceps helps her get Angel down from a hard-to-reach perch.
Epilogue: The other Twilight
In a post-credits scene, the real human world's version of Twilight Sparkle is seen documenting strange events that are all connected to Canterlot High. She confides in her dog Spike that "something strange [is] going on at that school..."
- Tara Strong: Twilight Sparkle (Princess)/Twilight Sparkle
- Ashleigh Ball: Rainbow Dash and Applejack
- Andrea Libman: Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy
- Tabitha St. Germain: Rarity, Vice Principal Luna, and Photo Finish
- Cathy Weseluck: Spike (Dragon)
- Rebecca Shoichet: Sunset Shimmer, Twilight Sparkle's singing voice, and "Ringo" (uncredited)
- Kazumi Evans: Adagio Dazzle, Octavia Melody (uncredited), and Rarity's singing voice
- Marÿke Hendrikse: Sonata Dusk
- Diana Kaarina: Aria Blaze
- Vincent Tong: Flash Sentry, "Brawly Beats" (uncredited), "The real Sunset Shimmer is back!" (uncredited)
- Kathleen Barr: Trixie Lulamoon
- Nicole Oliver: Principal Celestia
- Lee Tockar: Snips
- Richard Ian Cox: Snails
- Michelle Creber: Apple Bloom
- Claire Corlett: Sweetie Belle (credit only)
- Brian Drummond: Delivery Pony
- Ingrid Nilson: Maud Pie
- Peter New: Big Mcintosh
- Shannon Chan-Kent: Pinkie Pie's singing voice
- Madeline Merlo: Sonata Dusk's singing voice
- Shylo Sharity: Aria Blaze's singing voice
- Eva Tavares: "Blueberry Cake" (uncredited)
- Paula Berry: "Cherry Crash" (uncredited)
- David Mongar: "Captain Planet" (uncredited)
Publicity and branding
On February 13, 2014, Entertainment Weekly published an article about the film. Details about its plot were limited; however, the article included a trailer showcasing several clips and a new song by Daniel Ingram, all from the animated shorts.
As part of the San Diego Comic-Con International"Hasbro Studios: My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic and My Little Pony Equestria Girls" panel on July 25, 2014, "Guests from Hasbro Studios My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic airing on the Hub Network in the U.S. and My Little Pony Equestria Girls share details of the making of the popular animated series and a sneak peek into the new My Little Pony Equestria Girls Rainbow Rock movie coming this fall."
On July 24, 2014, Yahoo! TV posted not only a new trailer for the film, but also a song performed by the Dazzlings. In the teaser, Rainbow Dash was removed from the shot where Sunset says, "I turned into a raging she-demon."
On September 10, 2014, Shout! Factory, through Equestria Daily, revealed a new 30-second trailer including more footage of both pony and human Twilight. Two days later on September 12, a 50-second trailer was released on YouTube. Six days later on September 18, a full theatrical trailer was released on Yahoo! TV; the trailer was uploaded to Hasbro's YouTube channel four days later.
Live-action Music Videos
On February 20, 2014, Hasbro released a live-action music video on their official website depicting six young females as the Rainbooms in a rock band. Like the similar Magic of Friendship music video released to tie-in with the first movie, the Rainbow Rocks music video uses a rock version of Equestria Girls (Cafeteria Song) and shows the the Rainbooms in animated form doing the "EG Stomp".
On August 4, 2014, Hasbro released a second live-action music video depicting the Rainbooms as well as the Dazzlings and DJ Pon-3 in a rock competition. The rock version of Equestria Girls from the previous video plays with lyrics from Under Our Spell, Shine Like Rainbows, and the Rainbow Rocks title song included.
There were eight animated shorts that came out on YouTube to tie into the movie. They include Music to My Ears, Guitar Centered, Hamstocalypse Now, Pinkie on The One, Player Piano, A Case for the Bass, Shake Your Tail!, and Perfect Day for Fun. Each one of them shows the main characters and includes something about music. The shorts are not part of the film.
A book variant of the film was posted on Hachette Book Group's website and enlists the book for an April 8, 2014 release. The American World Fair 2014 announced the dolls for Octavia Melody, DJ Pon-3, Adagio Dazzle, Sonata Dusk, and Aria Blaze.