Friday, April 4, 2014

March of the Ponies: Fan Episodes (Dusk's Dawn)

[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 (Micro-series of TwilightRainbow DashRarityFluttershyPinkie PieApplejackCMCs/Celestia,Spike/LunaNightmare Rarity arc (main series)), Part 4 - Equestria Girls review, Part 5 - Fan-made episodes (Double Rainboom, Snowdrop), Part 6 - Fan works (Music,Doctor Whooves, Parody/Abridged Series, Fanfictions), Part 7 - Season Reviews: Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Magical Mystery Cure, Season 4 (to date)]

Sometimes it seems like fan works get higher levels of critique and attention than the works they're based on. My Little Pony's fan base has become really noteworthy when it comes to original works.

The Brony community is rabid about various fan works. Heck, it was fan works of DC Comics that worked in MLP that made me aware that this show even existed. But the crown jewel of all the fan works are the fan-made episodes.

I've long said that I won't review nonprofit works, and I'm standing by that. I don't believe that people have the right to judge projects that have no intention of making money and are ultimately done as a work of passion. However, I do feel providing constructive criticism is helpful so that people know what worked and what didn't for the future.

As such, I will be looking at these the three oldest and most famous fan-made episodes in the community, with the intent of giving people (hopefully) a fresh perspective on these works. And why not start with the original?

Dusk's Dawn is a Brony-made, 20-or-so-minute episode (creators were Project Interlude) that takes place somewhere after the events of Season 2 (my guess is fairly far into the future, but it's not clear). The six ponies introduced as the heroes are all original characters (OCs), so they're characterizations are all made during the events of this episode.

The six are two earth ponies named Doodlecute and Mr. Brave (yes, there are 3 males and 3 females here), two pegasi named Breeze Rider and Royal Guard member Donut, and two unicorns named Starwhistle and Nurse Iris. The villain in this story is Dusk, more specifically the evil version of Dusk who shows up when the good version walks through the looking glass.

That'll need an explanation. Dusk crosses into some other realm where he's reading books about his family history when an evil Dusk takes over his real-world body. It's unclear how or why this happened, but it does.

The new Mane 6 eventually get together and realize Dusk's family may have something to do with why Starwhistle lost control of her powers. They confront evil Dusk who tricks them into thinking he's reformed and the story ends with the six being called in by Celestia to the room with the Elements of Harmony.

Overall, I thought it was a solid effort. Despite not having a budget, the work (while clearly using stock generated animation) was coherent enough to work and there seemed to be real passion for the story.

My big constructive criticism is pacing. Scenes and events need to be given more time so the audience can understand what is happening, why it's happening and why they should care. The story just moves around so much that it is hard for people to keep up, which is why I think so many people tuned out on this story within the first few minutes.

All that said, once I figured out what the plot was, it was clear they had a good idea as a foundation. It just needed more time to develop. I'd argue that a sequel could be made to work if they gave proper time to explain what happened in Part 1. In fact, I think I'll prove that statement. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for my attempt at a Dusk's Dawn sequel fanfiction!

Well, maybe I will, but I'm shocked no one has done it yet. Maybe once I finish the next HP chapter I'll work on that.

Anyway, check this out as it is the original fan-made episode and it does deserve more respect than what it got.

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