“Thelma the Unicorn” 2024 Movie Review: Netflix’s Animated Film Where A Farm Pony Accidentally Becomes A Pop Star

Thelma the Unicorn Movie Review 2024
Thelma the Unicorn Movie Review 2024

Netflix’s “Thelma the Unicorn” (2024) is a fun and heartwarming animated movie adapted from a series of children’s books written by Aaron Blabey. Directed by Jared Hess and Lynn Wang, the film features a great voice cast. Brittany Howard (singer-songwriter) makes her acting debut as Thelma, the main character. Will Forte (“The Last Man on Earth”) voices Otis, who is always there to support Thelma. The cast also includes Jemaine Clement, Edi Patterson, Jared Hess, Fred Armisen, and Zach Galifianakis. “Thelma the Unicorn” tells the whimsical story of a small-town pony with big dreams and the surprising adventure that begins when her wish comes true.

Plot Summary

The protagonist of the movie is a pony named Thelma who dreams of becoming a pop star. Thelma can sing well, and she is in a band with her friends Otis (a donkey) and Reggie (a llama) known as The Rusty Buckets. Thelma’s biggest dream is to be part of Sparklepalooza, but the judges did not think that she has that special “it” factor. After being rejected so harshly, Otis wants to cheer her up with a Dungeons and Wagons game. In this game, Thelma found a unicorn doll and was fascinated by its beauty. She playfully puts a carrot on her forehead, pretending to be a unicorn. Meanwhile, there is a truck decorated with pink paint and sparkles. An accident occurs when Thelma is covered with paint dye and glitter. Now, she suddenly looks like an enchanting unicorn, which symbolizes the beginning of her transformation from an ordinary horse into a peculiar magical creature.

Nikki Narwhal did not appreciate Thelma’s fame, and it frustrated her. Thus, she ordered her agent, Megan, to find whatever information could ruin her career. Megan hired some people who threw mud and eggs at Thelma at one event so that he could take pictures of her for shame. As she assessed those pictures, Megan saw that Thelma’s horn was a sham and continued to seek more evidence. When the spray-painted words started peeling off during an awards show held for music artists, Thelma decided to reapply them. At this point, Megan was hiding in the bathroom, waiting for her, and then poured water on her to expose her true nature. While recording this incident, they both agreed that Megan would not release it so long as Thelma disappeared completely from their sight. Therefore, with no sign of being a unicorn character anymore among all the other unicorns in Sparkletown, she broke fans’ hearts.

Thelma got a ride on the same truck that started her dream. She advised the driver to be honest with his wife about his secret passion, realizing she needed to do the same. Consequently, Peggy, Otis, and Reggie returned to her life again. Finally realizing this reality, she exposed herself and everything about her true self at the Sparklepalooza festival. On stage, Thelma confessed that she was just an ordinary steed and not a unicorn and asked her fans to appreciate her for her talent, not her looks. Her honesty won their hearts again.

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Directional and Technical Aspects

Directed by Jared Hess (also a co-writer) and Lynn Wang, with a screenplay by Jerusha Hess, the movie “Thelma the Unicorn” is adapted from Aaron Blabey’s creative children’s book. Here, the creators, ablaze with imaginative magic in their writing, form an excellent example of how a book’s story can be enhanced through its use of imagination and good writing combined with some colorful execution. 

Every character is so well defined and acted upon that one cannot help but relate to them. We have Vic Diamond, a scheming starmaker; Nikki, an arrogant superstar; her assistant Megan, played by Edi Patterson; the meek yet ambitious Thelma; and her loyal friends, such as Otis and Reggie, among others, all make great and entertaining characters. 

This film hardly experiences any dull moments, both literally and figuratively. With slapstick comedy in every single shot and cartoonish theatrics running from the sublime to the ridiculous, it is seamlessly interwoven into the narrative. However, for a film driven by music, the original score composed by John Powell is disappointing. None of these tunes will stick around long enough in your head because there is nothing particularly memorable about any of them. Even the climactic song is forgettable to a certain extent, though not entirely so, since it precedes that part where emotions run high when they triumph over life’s vicissitudes for once during the course of it all. 

The script is concise and does not have unnecessary emotions or wordy scenes. Rather, this movie often shows Thelma chasing her goals and taking advantage of opportunities. The present-day animals using smartphones and social media, posing for pictures and posting them on apps like Pigstagram, are both amusing and funny. Thelma’s character has the essential emotional depth thanks to singer Brittany Howard, but it is Jemaine Clement who stands out as Vic Diamonds, the straight-talking, opportunistic star manager. Other actors in supporting roles were also brilliant.

Actors Performance

The voice cast in “Thelma the Unicorn” delivers stellar performances. Brittany Howard shines in her voice-acting debut as Thelma. Her soulful singing also distinguishes Howard in such original songs as “Fire Inside” or “Just As You Are,” hence adding to the genuineness of the movie. She is also a great voice actor, giving this person an air of affection and charm. She captures the character’s innocence, determination, and moments of self-doubt with a relatable charm. 

Will Forte brings warmth and humor to the role of Otis, Thelma’s ever-supportive farmhand friend. The supporting cast, featuring established comedic actors like Jemaine Clement, Edi Patterson, and Fred Armisen, adds depth and hilarity to the narrative through their quirky voice portrayals. The quirky animation constantly pleases audiences, and so does Vic Diamond’s eccentric style with his 60s London look and strange facial hair. A funny moment occurs when Zach Galifianakis, portraying a truck driver called Crusty Trucker, unexpectedly performs clog dancing in front of everyone. 

Audience Appeal

“Thelma the Unicorn” is a delightful treat for audiences seeking a heartwarming and entertaining animated film. Families seeking a fun and positive animated film will find “Thelma the Unicorn” a perfect choice. The movie has been rated TV-Y7, so it is appropriate for everybody. The comedy in it is a gentle slapstick type that should amuse young viewers. The movie also sends a positive message about dreams and being true to oneself, which everyone can relate to.

Although mainly aimed at a younger audience, adults may enjoy some nostalgic references to pop culture and hidden jokes in dialogues as well. Older viewers could become attached to the catchy tunes as well as the theme of self-discovery portrayed in the movie.

Final Thoughts

The animation in “Thelma the Unicorn” is a visual delight. The filmmakers use a playful and colorful style that makes the film’s world come alive. The contrast between Thelma’s simple farm life and the glamorous world of stardom effectively highlights her journey. The lush countryside and vibrant concert arenas create a visually engaging experience for viewers of all ages.

The film’s musical numbers are also entertaining enough. The songs, written by various artists, including a delightful debut by singer-songwriter Brittany Howard, blend pop and country influences, perfectly capturing Thelma’s transformation and dreams. The choreography during the musical sequences is energetic and visually impressive, adding to the overall entertainment. While the plot might not be groundbreaking, “Thelma the Unicorn” delivers a heartwarming story wrapped in a visually stunning package, making it a perfect choice for a family movie night.