If you read my most recent Mid-Week Music post, you know that I recently watched the Pilot episode of the rebooted DuckTales. Now, I know what you're thinking: "Since when is Launchpad a pilot?"
I'm kidding. I just quoted a line from the show. I do that sort of thing sometimes.
But you're probably thinking that I already reviewed it. And I did, in very brief terms. But "I liked it" wasn't exactly a review--it's the Why You Liked It that makes a review. Therefore, I will put out my first review on this blog.
I suppose I should let you know that it was really more like a two-parted episode put together to make one episode. Pilot episodes are usually in parts. So the usual intro was not included until about halfway through. Just a note.
The plot itself was wonderful: Part One, where we are introduced to all the characters, was well done, and showed off the personalities of the characters splendidly. The entire Wing of Secrets part alone was fun, mysterious, and incredibly awesome. Part Two, where they head off on their first official adventure, was just as good.
The twists were interesting, and I did not see them coming. The adventure, the excitement, and the cleverness caught my attention. Seeing as this is an adventure show, it looks as if this is being done right. And since I'm just finishing listening to the Adventures in Odyssey episode, The Cross of Cortes, I have something else adventurous to compare it to. It stacks up well.
(Note: The Cross of Cortes is an episode where Whit and Eugene travel to Mexico to visit Whit's missionary friend, Dan Isidro. The episode includes an adventurous treasure hunt in an exotic land, maps, mysterious messages, temples, a lovely lady from said exotic land, and volcanos. If you are unfamiliar with adventure stories in general, perhaps consider starting there.)
Now, on to the characters. Of course, Scrooge McDuck is Scrooge McDuck--Scottish adventure capitalist. He's very awesome. Replacing the late Alan Young is David Tennant (most people know him as the Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who). I was a little worried that the new actor wouldn't be able to capture the character as well as Alan Young. However, Tennant does a great job, and I am highly excited to see more of this character.
Huey, Dewey, and Louie: let me tell you, I could not tell them apart to save my life before. But now, it's quite clear who's who. Huey is more the booksmart type (and wears red). Dewey is the bold--not to mention reckless and a bit arrogant--ringleader of the kids, and loves adventuring (and wears blue). Louie is... well, known as the evil triplet. I don't know how else to describe him, but you'll be able to tell. He's the one that wears green. Some people say their voices sound off, because they're played by grown men, and sound nothing like the originals. And it did throw me off a little at first. However, I think it was a good idea: now, we don't have four characters doing the Donald Duck voice!
Webby, their first new friend at McDuck Manor, is a huge expert in the history of the McDuck family, and wants to go on adventures like her hero, Scrooge McDuck. We've got Launchpad McQuack, the crash-prone chauffer/pilot for Scrooge (aka, Mr. McDee). There's Mrs. Beakley, the housekeeper at McDuck Manor, Webby's grandmother, who is decidedly not the secretary. These characters are all fun characters, whether they're the same as their 1980s counterparts or not.
And then we've got Donald Duck. As I said in the last post, it took a couple of times to get what he was saying, and there are one or two parts I still don't understand. (This is rather unusual, since I can normally understand what he's saying in other cartoons). Still, I think Donald is great. The character's a little overprotective of the boys, but it seems this comes in handy later on. I won't say how, but I will say that the point of a laser death trap is not to touch every single laser while humming your own theme song. Donald is also still very... um, temperamental. Especially when it comes to staplers. (Just watch the episode).
In short, the characters were great. They were well acted, and I loved them. Even the villains were simultaneously evil and funny, without becoming idiots. "He thinks he's SO rich and SO Scottish, when I'm wearing a kilt, McDuck--A KIIIIILT!" And not only that, but both the younger and older characters together play a role in saving the day: something that few cartoon shows have today.
Moving on, the show is well written, with several hilarious parts. However, it doesn't overdo the comedy or include unnecessary jokes. Its main focus is the characters and the adventure, which is done very well. But, when it does try to be funny, it is very, very funny. And this next point makes it all the more special to me: it has no bathroom jokes. Those get on my nerves so much, and even the best of cartoons have had them. But none are to be seen thus far.
But you know what the best part was? This was one reboot among many, many reboots--not just by Disney, but in general. Most of the reboots I've seen have been awful, feeding solely off of people's nostalgia for the original story, while also having no regard for those people or the original story. Others require a full knowledge of the original story to be able to understand it at all. DuckTales is neither.
Several fans of the original have said that this is a great show. Some have not liked it, but several have. I personally can vouch for the fact that people can enjoy the new show without any knowledge of the old one. It's a show that can stand on its own feet, and doesn't have to rely on nostalgia, while also appealing to it at the same time.
Oddly enough, there are similarities between this remake and another. We have the Old School Hero From the 80s, who's been out of the action for a while and doesn't do anything interesting anymore. He is called back into action by the antics of the Clever Tween Sidekick(s), who are his nephews/niece. They go to stop the Sworn Enemy Rival from evildoing. With the aid of the Smart Tough Helpers/Supporting Characters, they stop the Sworn Enemy Rival and capture the henchmen.
However, in Inspector Gadget (rebooted), the title character is an idiot and no longer the main character. The Clever Tween Sidekick does everything, and the Smart Tough Helper does nothing but get chased around. Even the Sworn Enemy Rival is an idiot. Over the top ridiculous humour takes the place of all storytelling and characters. At least in the original the villain was intimidating, and there was actual danger.
But in DuckTales, everyone has a point, and no one is boring. It has a great story, great characters, and a good balance between bold adventures, dramatic mystery, and hilarious comedy. My only tiff I have is that the next episodes can only be watched on TV channels. However, I hear the show may come out on Netflix at some point, so I need to master the virtue of patience. In the meantime, I think I'll watch a few episodes of the original show.
My rating? Five stars out of five. Go watch it now.