Can a reboot of one of the most beloved children’s TV cartoons recapture the magic of the original? The simple answer is no. Instead, DuckTales has done something quite remarkable and created new magic all of its own!
Donald Duck needs a babysitter for his nephews – Huey, Dewey and Louie – while he goes to a job interview, and is forced to leave them in the care of their other uncle, Scrooge McDuck. Scrooge may be the richest duck in the world but, for the former adventurer and renowned curmudgeon, life has become rather dull. Business has taken over his life, and while his nephews bring trouble they also bring a much-needed sense of excitement to his world. Before long they race to the lost city of Atlantis, where they battle the villainous Glomgold and his newest henchman… Donald Duck?!
Watching this pilot episode, I felt like a kid again! Granted, I was never into DuckTales as much as some of my friends were, but I still watched it back in its day and enjoyed it. However, watching this new pilot episode was an absolute treat. Yes, there’s plenty of nostalgia on hand for older viewers (although the animation style is more modern) and the jokes are more savvy and sly. They’re also for kids first and foremost, while still being smart enough for adults to find funny. And once the story gets going, there’s a real sense of adventure!
The biggest change is in the characters though. Huey, Dewey and Louie are no longer interchangeable troublemakers but now have unique personalities. Webbigail is an active butt-kicker and dominant personality, unlike before. As for Scrooge, he’s the real star of the show and the changes in him are subtle but telling. He’s no longer obsessed with riches – although he still swims in gold coins and counts his marbles before letting others play with them – and is now obsessed with the spirit of youthful adventure.
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of the jokes, and the feel-good factor of this show was off the charts. It may be aimed at kids but it doesn’t play down to them in any way. It also doesn’t patronise adult viewers, which makes this ideal family viewing. The voice cast work superbly, although Donald Duck is still almost entirely indecipherable! As for the theme tune, you’ve got to wait for the first half of this double-episode to draw to a close before it kicks in, but when it does you’ll be dancing in your seat and humming along!
As a taste of things to come, DuckTales is a winner and looks set to become one of the best TV shows of the year. Woo-oo!