Sunday, April 6, 2014

March of the Ponies: Fan episodes (Double Rainboom)

[NOTE: Links to other March of the Ponies stories will go here as they are published.Part 1 - Abridged MLP historyPart 2 - Review of Lauren Faust's prior works, Part 3 - MLP Comics (TwilightRainbowDashRarityFluttershyPinkiePieApplejackCMCs/Celestia,Spike/LunaNightmare Rarity arc (main series)), Part 4 - Equestria Girls review, Part 5 - Fan-made episodes (Dusk's Dawn, Snowdrop), Part 6 - Fan works (MusicDoctor Whooves, Parody/Abridged Series, Fanfictions), Part 7 - Season Reviews: Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Magical Mystery Cure, Season 4 (to date)]

Technically, Snowdrop beat this episode out by a week, but from what I could tell, Double Rainboom finished first Snowdrop beat it out during the wait for its public release. If I'm wrong, I'm sure you all will tell me, but I'm going to go with that and review Double Rainboom first.

*Using actual characters from the show
Double Rainboom is a collaborative project produced by combined user FlamingoRich and the Savannah College of Art and Design. The episode runs a little longer than a proper episode and claimed to be the first fan-made project to have the canon characters and have show-level animation.

Does it succeed in that boast? Kinda.

With the exception of one really weird sequence, the Ponyville-based scenes are show quality. Where the show quality claim doesn't match up is in the backgrounds. It feels like the characters are speaking against a green screen instead of physically being in the setting like DHX's animations.

Because of this, the fact that these characters are animated becomes more apparent because you can't suspend your disbelief at the setting and the illusion an animated world tries to create becomes more apparent.

See what I mean about the backgrounds?
That's not to say the backgrounds weren't accurate. It's just that they didn't feel as real. Think back to 1990s cartoons where one book is going to be grabbed off a shelf. You know what book will be taken because it's noticeably different from the others because it's been given animation potential instead of being a two-dimensional background prop.

I don't take anything away from this project, though, because that's a production situation that could be fixed if this thing had had a proper budget. Again, I don't knock fan-made work for things that can be fixed with having money for better equipment.

Where critiques can really come are in the writing because you do have the ability to change a script without affecting costs. The writing is pretty solid. The long-form jokes remind me of the circular Abbott and Costello style and the premise is something the show would probably have done in Season 1.

I'll save most of my detailed opinions for the audio, but as someone who likes delayed gratification jokes and universal crossovers that are given a reason to happen, I didn't have much issue with this MLP episode that turned into a cross with the Powerpuff Girls.

My only remarks would be that the PPG team trying to forcibly adopt Rainbow Dash was out of place, they rushed the finish which hurt the moral, and it makes no real sense why Twilight would give her potion to Pinkie Pie when she didn't know for sure what it would do for her and she could have used enhanced magical abilities to bring Rainbow Dash back.

That all said, though, it's a longer-than-normal episode, so I treat many of the callbacks to memes as extra scenes that would be cut in a TV version and I really don't see anything that invalidates the episode.

Where would it rank among the show's proper episodes? Below the average, but I definitely think it's better than at least one or two, which technically makes it show-quality.

Check it out and judge for yourself.

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