Directed by: Brent Hodge.
Written by: Brent Hodge.
In case you don’t know, a Brony is an male, adult fan of the animated TV Show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – a show that was made for little girls. When the media covers Bronys at all, it’s usually to mock them – or at least poke gentle fun at grown men who like a shown made for little girls. Be honest, your first reaction was probably to laugh a little bit at the idea. The documentary A Brony Tale was directed by Brent Hodge, a friend of the movie’s main subject – Ashleigh Ball – who does the voices of two of the main characters – Applejack and Rainbow Dash – on the show, who isn’t sure how to respond to these fans – or their invitation to attend Bronycon – which is what you would expect it to be, a convention for Bronys. He wanted to examine this seemingly bizarre segment of fandom –and what he finds is actually fairly normal. As one of the first interview subjects says “I’m an adult, I don’t need society to tell me what to like.” This is a man, by the way, who looks like a big, burly biker – because, well, he’s a big burly biker.
A Brony Tale moves from one Brony to another – all of whom explain why they like the show. It is innocent, well animated, has a positive message, is clever, is funny and they just downright enjoy it. It is about friendship more than anything else – and through their lives as Bronys, they have discovered more friends who share their love of the TV show they adore.
This is not a particularly deep examination of the culture – and to be honest, I don’t think one is really warranted. It’s a film that breezes by in just under 80 minutes in an enjoyable way, and doesn’t delve into anything dark – because there doesn’t seem to be anything all that dark there to begin with. These men just like a TV show aimed at little girls – and what the hell is wrong with that.
I’ve seen a few episodes of the TV show – I am, after all, the father of a three year old girl, and although she loves Sofia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Doc McStuffins more, I have seen a few episode of My Little Pony. It is kind of fun and clever. Would I ever watch it without my three year old? No – but I can see why some people want to escape into a positive piece of entertainment, in a world that is dark – and whose entertainment is almost as dark. What A Brony Tale makes clear – which probably should have been self-evident without having seen the movie – is that people should be free to like anything they want. The Bronys know this – and everyone else should as well.