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An honest review from a parent
I'm willing to bet that the majority of negative reviews from flabbergasted fans are from those who haven't seen the movie. Let me begin by saying this isn't a spin-off. It starts with the ponies in their regular equestrian form. It's only after an item is stolen and lost in a parallel universe that we see the human versions.
The central theme is friendship, forgiveness, breaking down barriers that separate us and finding the common grounds between us. It's a good message in keeping with the original Friendship is Magic theme. The characters are not sexualized in any way. There is no hidden message about weight or sex or anything. Any negativity is created by adults and fanboys who revel in finding something from nothing. The lengths people go to to find these issues are so crazy that no kid in MLP's demographic is going to pick up on them.
All fanboy rage aside, it's a good movie for kids with a good message. Sure, it's pandering to consumerism with the launch of the dolls, but so what? That's business.