I have a confession to make: I wasn’t a big fan of the original DuckTales animated series that ran during the late ’80s. I liked the show fine but it wasn’t exactly a must-watch for me. I did enjoy the episodes that I did see but I never thought DuckTales was all that special. I was more of a Darkwing Duck fan myself. I did love the theme song a whole lot though. But, to be fair, who didn’t like that incredibly catchy tune?
However, when I did hear that Disney was bringing back the show with an all new look and the promise of huge adventures featuring Scrooge McDuck and great-nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, I got excited. Maybe it was that twinge of nostalgia that made me want to see it or maybe because the previews looked really good. Or maybe it was because this reboot of the DuckTales franchise kept that earworm of a theme song, remixed a little but still as catchy as the original.
Whatever the reason, I just had to see the first episode the instant it came out and, wow, I wasn’t disappointed. Looks like I’m going back to watching Disney animated shows again. Woo-oo indeed!
Now, if that isn’t a glowing recommendation to watch the show, I don’t know what is! But, if you wanna know more about what makes this new vision of DuckTales so great, read on as this is going to be a SPOILER-FREE review of the show’s 1-hour pilot episode, aptly entitled Woo-oo!
The 2017 reboot of the series doesn’t make any radical changes regarding the premise of the show. It’s still Scrooge McDuck going on globetrotting adventures with Huey, Dewey and Louie as well as Launchpad McQuack, Scrooge’s klutzy pilot. However, the 2017 version of the show does make a few revisions to the basic idea. Joining them is the original “uncle” of the nephews, Donald Duck, and, apparently, a less naive (and much better version) of Webby Vanderquack, the granddaughter of Scrooge McDuck’s housekeeper, Mrs. Beakley.
I actually like the major modifications that they did with the cast. I always found it weird that Donald Duck wasn’t part of the show and I’m glad he’s here. I never really understood the purpose of Mrs. Beakly as she never really did anything besides be the doting housekeeper. In the reboot, she actually seems much more serious and wiser. The best change the new DuckTales did was to Webby, though. I really, really disliked that whiny little Webby in the original show and making her more adventurous and active makes her more interesting. If I were to say something negative about Webby’s reboot is that she’s a little too similar to Mabel Pines from Gravity Falls, which just so happens to be another really good Disney show. I mean, they even gave her a grappling hook. But, if Disney was going to copy a female kid character, I’m glad they chose someone as awesome as Mabel Pines.
It’s not just Webby that got the personality makeover. Most of the original cast did seem to get some tweaks to their character. In the original show, Huey, Dewey and Louie pretty much acted like they were the same character. The new DuckTakes does take some time to actually show that they’re actually individuals with different traits. It’s not particularly obvious in the show but there are nice little tidbits that are sprinkled here and there, such as Huey’s penchant for preparation, Dewey’s reckless sense of diving into action and Louie’s… well, we don’t actually see much of what Louie is like besides that blurb about him being the “evil triplet” but I’m pretty confident Disney will flesh it out in future episodes.
Thankfully, they didn’t touch all of the characters motivations and personalities. Launchpad McQuack is still the hapless and clumsy pilot and he’s fine as well. He was one of the more entertaining characters in the original version due to his positive nature and happy-go-lucky attitude and he’s pretty much the same in the reboot. Scrooge McDuck is still the adventurous and serious adventurer he was in the original series. He does get a minor adjustment to his character which I kind of dislike, though. In the original series, the biggest reason why Scrooge would go on all of these treasure hunting expeditions was to make sure he stayed the richest duck in the world. It totally fit the mold of the misery old coot because of his namesake. In the 2017 reboot, it looks like he’s doing this more because he loves the thrill of adventure. The change is okay, I guess, but I loved the simplistic and rather selfish reason he used to have. A minor quibble but still a quibble to take note of.
It certainly helps that the voice acting so far has been superb. I was actually concerned that Disney was getting some celebrities to do the voices of the characters. I was generally fine with some of the choices, such as Danny Pudi and Kate Micucci, because I knew they could pull off the comedy and timing necessary. However, I was wary about David Tennant, who was signed to do the voice of Scrooge McDuck. It’s kind of hard to picture Dr. Who and Jessica Jones’ Purple Man doing the voice of a cartoon duck. But, God bless David Tennant, he owned the character and brought new life to Scrooge McDuck. Oddly enough, the only voice I had a problem with was Donald Duck! Although Tony Anselmo has been doing the voice for the character for a long time, there were times when I actually couldn’t understand what Donald was saying. And I don’t really recall having that problem before but the vocal performance was still good, albeit a little bit distracting. Overall, everyone pulled their weight in the voice acting department.
I also have to say that the new animation and art style does take a while to get used to. It’s definitely a modern look, with the lines and drawings made much more simpler than the original. But you know what? I actually like the new look. The cleaner look makes the drawings pop out a bit more. The colors of the 2017 version also looks more vibrant. Not to say the original show looked bad, but there were times where it looked rather drab. The new version of the show looks bright and shiny. The simpler looking art also makes the animation look more dynamic as well as there’s a certain fluidity to it and the show looks amazing in motion.
However, the thing I loved the most about this new version of DuckTales is that they seem to be concentrating more on telling an overarching story. The first episode makes you ask a lot of questions about Scrooge McDuck and Donald Duck’s relationship between each other and what caused it to sour so badly. There’s also the question why Donald Duck kept his adventuring days hidden from Huey, Dewey and Louie. It’s pretty neat that the new DuckTales is hinting at something bigger than just Scrooge going on different adventures.
Overall, I was very surprised and pleased with the first episode of the DuckTales reboot. The show looks incredibly good and Disney took some really creative risks with the characters’ personalities and backstories. I’m really looking forward to future episodes and the new tales the show will tell. If I would describe the first episode of the new DuckTales in one word, it would be: Woo-oo!
Have you seen the new DuckTales reboot? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!