Wednesday, July 3, 2013

TV on DVD Review: DuckTales - Volume 1

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Many fun episodes that mix adventure and humor
Cons: Some episodes miss the mark
The Bottom Line
Scrooge McDuck and boys
In adventures of the rich
Make for a fun show




"Goodnight.  Sleep Tight.  And Don't Let Inflation Bite."

While I loved spin off series Darkwing Duck, I never had seen an episode of Disney's DuckTales.  I changed that when I borrowed the Volume 1 DVD release from a friend.

This was an animated show from the late 80's and very early 90's.  It focused on Scrooge McDuck (voiced by Alan Young.)  He's the richest duck in the world, a title he takes very seriously since, while he enjoys his wealth, he still tries to get more.  He is currently taking care of his great nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie (all voiced by Russi Taylor).  They live in the town of Duckburg, although their adventures take them all over the world.

And just what kind of adventures do they have?  Well, they fend off several attempts by the Beagle Boys (Frank Welker among others) or Magica de Spell (June Foray) to steal Scrooge's fortune using shadows, a cloner maker, and a transportation device to name a few ways.  Flintheart Glomgold (Hal Smith), another rich duck, tries to become richer than Scrooge.  He even frames Scrooge for a robbery and sends him to Aquatraz.  Scrooge and the boys also jet around the world in all kinds of adventures to recover a magic lamp or the crown of Genghis Khan.  There are also some time travel adventures involving ancient Greece or medieval Europe.

Really, you never know quite what you'll find in an episode of the show.  All you really know is you'll get an adventure and some laughs.  While some episodes are funnier than others, this show does try to combine the two, and usually succeeds.  While one episode dwells on really bad jokes, another has lots of Shakespeare related puns.  The target children probably won't get the jokes, but adults certainly will.

It took me a few episodes to get into the show, but once I did, I began to enjoy the characters and fun nature of the stories.  However, I do feel that I missed something coming to the show as an adult.  I found a few of the episodes weak and predictable.  Others were fun magic that I got caught up in.

Another problem I had with this set is the fact that the 5 part pilot isn't included.  While the rest of the episodes are in random order as well, it doesn't hurt anything since each contains a stand alone adventure.  I would have really liked to see how everything started.

The voice cast does a great job, sometimes taking on two or more characters in an episode.  Yet everyone sounds distinct.

Likewise, the animation is good.  Yes, it's a smaller budget than the normal Disney animated feature, but it still allows you to get caught up in the story with ease.

This season set consists of 27 episodes equally distributed on 3 discs.  The show was originally produced in full frame and stereo sound, and that's how they are preserved here.  And…that's it.  There's nothing in the way of extras.

While I'm not quite as hooked on DuckTales as I thought I might be, I did enjoy my trip through Volume 1.  If you like fun animated shows, I bet you will enjoy this one, too.

Included Episodes:
1. Send in the Clones
2. Sphinx for the Memories
3. Where No Duck as Gone Before
4. Armstrong
5. Robot Robbers
6. Magica's Shadow War
7. Master of the Djinni
8. Hotel Strangeduck
9. The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan
10. Duckman of Aquatraz
11. The Money Vanishes
12. Sir Gyro de Gearloose
13. Dinosaur Ducks
14. Hero for Hire
15. Superdoo!
16. Maid of the Myth
17. Down and out in Duckburg
18. Much Ado About Scrooge
19. Top Duck
20. The Pearl of Wisdom
21. The Curse of Castle McDuck
22. Launchpad's Civil War
23. Sweet Duck of Youth
24. Earthquack
25. Home Sweet Homer
26. Bermuda Triangle Tangle
27. Microducks from Outer Space

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