Review: DuckTales

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Review: DuckTales

DuckTales is back and better than ever! It’s a rebooting of the original series that ran from September 1987 to November 1990, four seasons with a total of 100 episodes and a theatrical spin-off film, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. It was considered the best of the Disney Afternoon line-up that also included great shows like: Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck and The Gummy Bears.

The original series follows the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his three grandnephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, along with their family and friends: Donald Duck, pilot Launchpad McQuack, nanny Mrs. Beakley and her granddaughter Webby. Each week the duck crew would get mixed up in all sorts of high-flying adventure seeking lost treasure, mystical artifacts or dealing with the many adversaries Scrooge had made who were always trying to steal all of his money.

The show was great fun, full of adventure, comedy and an overall feeling of good vibes and messages. So it was no wonder that Disney decided to make a new version to reflect today’s culture but still keep it grounded in what made the show great in the first place. And they managed to do just that. This past Saturday, August 13th DuckTales made its premiere with an hour long special. And it was fantastic!

Fantastic from start to finish. The creators have taken what you know about the show and fleshed it out and made it that much better. It’s a pure comedic adventure. The show is clearly made by people who were fans of the original, which can be seen thoughout the episode. The amount of nods and homages they work in are pretty cool: old relics and gags from the original show, mentioning St. Canard (where Darkwing Duck lives) and making great use of your nostalgia. This new show just works on so many old and new levels.

This version stays true to the original with some much-needed story to flesh out characters and themes. Donald Duck is out of work and needs a babysitter for his nephews as he goes to a job interview. He reluctantly turns to his Uncle Scrooge, who is the richest duck in the world and a retired adventurer who longs for the good old days. Donald and Scrooge have had some sort of falling out, and asking Scrooge for a favor is the last thing Donald wants to do. But he does nevertheless, leaving Huey, Dewey and Louie with Scrooge, someone they have only read about, but never met.

Not wanting to have anything to do with children, Scrooge puts them in a room with a bag of marbles and goes about his business. Of course the boys escape and in doing so meet Webby, granddaughter of Mrs. Beakley the housekeeper. The four of them discover some old artifacts from Scrooge’s glory days, thus comedy and adventure begins. They then set off on an adventure to discover the long lost city of Atlantis.

We see how Scrooge goes from a mean old-fart to getting that spark of life back that lets him begin to enjoy his family and start a new chapter of adventuring, now having four protégés that he can teach how to become adventurers and in turn they teach him about family. Very Disney, but also so very good. Adding to the shows backstory it’s very heavily implied that Huey, Dewey and Louie’s mother was once an adventurer with Scrooge, something that was never really talked about in the original show. It works off the old history we know of these characters but adds so much more.

Sadly we lost the original voice actor Alan Young in May of last year. Young, a radio, TV and film actor for more than 80 years, was the voice of Uncle Scrooge from 1974 to 2016. And he is the voice you think of when you think Scrooge. For this reboot the creators got someone who is just as awesome: Doctor Who himself, number 10, David Tennant. Who is great! With his very own Scottish accent he brings all the warmth, love and strength to the character. An amazing addition to the Disney family.

Also joining him are comedic actors: Danny Pudi as Huey, Ben Schwartz as Dewey, Bobby Moynihan as Louie and Kate Micuccu as Webby. All are wonderful. What was really nice was the added story and update to Webby. Before Webby felt like the little sister that just tagged along, with no real purpose because DuckTales was most likely thought of back then as a “boys show”. But now, she is a total kick-ass. She’s super smart but a bit of a shy shut in and hasn’t really has the chance to do many things yet. Hilariously funny, knows how to take care of herself and is a great role model for young girls. She was one of the best parts of this new show.

It was great to see the nephews also got an upgrade. They now all each have different personality with their own wants and needs, no longer the standard copy of each other with just a different shirt color. Their attire reflects who they are and each as they own style for hair, clothes and body movement. A lot of time was put into making sure this show is something Disney can be proud of.

The designs for the show are gorgeous, combining old comic book sensibility with a modern twist: very simplistic, but super fun. It may not look and sound like the DuckTales we grew up with, but it’s definitely still DuckTales!

 Set your DVRs for new episodes to start airing on September 23.