The new DuckTales show has finally arrived and now that we have watched it more than a few times, we have some thoughts on what we would consider the good, the bad and the ugly of the show. We have tried to substantiate our thoughts with some specific references to the first hour of the show that we have all seen. This article contains spoilers from the first hour of the new DuckTales show on Disney so you are warned.
Let it be said, that we are a huge fan of the original series from television which we have watched many times, and it was one of our favorite shows growing up. We are coming from the attitude of really wanting to like the new show, but some of the stills of the show and promo work had us a bit concerned with that was coming. Now that we have seen it the good does outweigh the bad, but there is still a lot that we are not a huge fan of. That being said, don’t misconstrue this piece to be a bash about the show, we still enjoyed the show and will happily be watching each and every episode, this is more of a comment on things that we would like to see improved.
The Good –
The artwork is actually pretty good-looking in motion, the stills that came out before the show and video promos did not do it justice. The animation style grew on me the more that I watched it.
The boys (Huey, Dewey, Louie) are funny and act more like how siblings would act than the original show, especially with the scheming that they do together.
More Donald Duck is a good thing, we also loved Webby bringing them to the Wing of Secrets (aka the garage). There were a bunch of very cool items in there, it reminded me a bit of the old The Dragon’s Graveyard episode of an older cartoon. McDuck Manor has this sort of Indiana Jones type feel to it more than the original cartoon McDuck Manor.
Scrooge has this celebrity status in this version, the boys knew exactly who he was and all of his adventures when Donald said they were going to McDuck Manor.
Webby is more adventurous, we are going to categorize this in a good aspect, but there was also something to be said about her being more demur in the original series as well.
The hidden Easter Eggs to Carl Barks, Don Rosa and the original show were hidden throughout the show for the viewers and it was great to try to find them all.
The marble gag that we see in the show is great, Scrooge thinks that he can put his nephews in a room with a bag of marbles and everything will be fine and he will not need to deal with them. That shows the cheapness of Scrooge and shows how he is a bit out of touch with the world around him. We loved this.
Pishu the gold hunting dragon is awesome idea, but it should have been its own adventure not part of this one. It does looks like in the title scene we will see him again but that would be odd since his head fell off.
Launchpad as the limo driver we can talk about below, but when he crashed the plane, total vintage Launchpad.
We enjoyed the idea of the team going to Atlantis as their first adventure, there were a bunch of interesting traps and ideas that made it fun.
Dewey trying to do everything on the first adventure and messing up all the time, that was a good way to introduce them to adventuring. Scrooge still wants to lead the way and it was a great handing of the torch sort of adventure. Donald still tells us that Scrooge can teach the boys how to get out of trouble, and that just shows they can learn a lot from Scrooge to help temper the kids adventurous nature.
The Bad –
Flintheart Glomgold to me felt like a manager at a big box store, not a billionaire just by the way he handled his henchmen as well as the way that the gags portrayed him. The idea of the company security cards and the jokes that were made didn’t make me feel that Flintheart was a real Scrooge rival.
We couldn’t understand Donald that much when he was talking, and he talks a lot more in this series than we have seen him in the original show or many other shows with Donald. It becomes hard to follow exactly what is going on some of the time because of that.
Donald taking the job with Glomgold was a tough sell for us, while Donald may need a job, it seems unlikely he would work for Glomgold especially after he find out what sort of job he will be doing. The other Donald scene that was a bit much for us was him fighting with the stapler, seems very out-of-place in a show like this, seems like it would fit more with a Donald cartoon short.
The kids voices seem a bit older than they look, breaking some of the illusion of the show for us at first watch, but as I watched more and more of the show this feeling went away. We know other people had a hard time separating the actor/actress and their other roles from this voice over, we did feel a bit of that as well, but not now as much as we thought.
The “I’m a pilot” line from Launchpad was way overdone, we heard it way to many times that it stopped being funny. Did not like Launchpad as the limo driver, it seems less reality based with his bad flying than it did with his bad driving.
Another gag that seemed a bit overdone was the fact that Mrs. Beasley kept calling Webby and her excuses that she gave to her about where she was.
When the kids show up in the garage at McDuck Manor there is a scene where they have to fight against Captain Peghook the ghost and a headless man horse. It seems very Scooby Doo, but in a bad way. Once they are defeated and the headless man horse gets Scrooge’s mannequin head it made me cringe.
On their trip to Atlantis, Scrooge and team come across some monsters and they put together a quick montage of them getting free. What happens next is pretty horrible, one of the boys has to use the bathroom, and he opens the door to the bathroom on the submarine that they are on, and there is a merman in the bathroom from one of the monster battles that we don’t see. This could possible be the worst scene of the show and the gag was left falling flat.
Hard to believe that Mrs. Beakley says that Webby can go with Scrooge whenever she likes because she will be safe. Scrooge seems to be doing some pretty unsafe things. Mrs. Beakley doesn’t seem to have any real personality at this point in the show.
When Scrooge is going over business with his staff Scrooge does not seem interested. While he likes adventure it seems at that moment he likes it more than money which seems uncharacteristic of him, we can understand we need this a bit to set the stage, but we have always felt that Scrooge’s motivation was money. It seems he is not happy with money but longs for adventure only.
Louie says “You used to be a big deal, whatever happened to you” is a bit much, we get what he is going for, but seems forced a bit.
With Webby seeming to be another adventurer now, who will fill that role that she filled in the original show?
The Ugly – The dithering comic book style with dots that we have in some of the backgrounds of the show. We don’t know if it is just us but we just don’t like it. This is what we would personally call the ugly of the show.
Overall Thoughts – What would we really have been happy with? Probably taking the old show and just continuing to make episodes of that show and characters probably would have been something that we would have loved, but the world has changed, kids have changed, and animation has changed. What we have been shown has potential and we hope that they will focus more on the adventure that everyone loved and less on the gags. They need to change the direction they have gone with Flintheart and his role.
Update: After watching the show a few times, we went out and purchased some of the Carl Barks compilations along with some Don Rosa compilations of what is considered the original DuckTales, the Uncle Scrooge comics. It has changed our opinion somewhat on what we think about Donald’s role on the show, he plays a very prominent role in the comics and we can see how they have worked this into the show. The only thing is, where we have noted a problem for myself with the voice of Donald since we see him a lot more on this show, we do not have the same issues with him being hard to understand in the comic version with the written word. If you are a fan of this show, the original show, or just good stories, go and pick up some of these comics.
Overall though, seeing the comic version of Uncle Scrooge and what DuckTales was based on gives me more appreciation for the show, but I do miss seeing some of the newer characters in the comic version as well.
What are you overall feeling about the new DuckTales? Give us more adventure!