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11/23/2018 16:48:10 •••

Duck Tales by people who hate Duck Tales

You know that one Cracked internet article taking the piss out of that old Disney movie you like? That one satirical article that seems funny and clever as long as you've not actually watched the movie in ten years and only vaguely remember the plot details? That article that, if you've actually watched the subject matter as an adult, you know is just a smug, shallow, poorly researched attempt at transgression? That article that embodies what Lindsay Ellis called the "I am smarter than a 90s Disney cartoon!" trend?

That's this series in a nutshell. It's a reboot that's far more interested in trying to prove itself "smarter" than the comics and cartoons that inspired it than it is in trying to tap into the things that made those comics and cartoons work in the first place. The writers of this show may not "hate" the source material as such, but there's an inescapable feeling that they view it as quaint and passé, and that they think the only way to make it relevant today is to approach everything about it with heavy-lidded irony and sarcasm in the name of "deconstruction".

Much like those Cracked articles, this show likes to talk down its predecessors in order to make itself look smarter. Like, you know how in two or three episodes of the original show Gyro made robots who went haywire? Well, now he's squarely defined as the Guy Whose Robots Inevitably Turn Evil. Genius deconstruction.

It never gets any smarter than that. The overhauls for the other characters are very hit-and-miss at best. Glomgold, who was an interesting villain in the comics but not so much the eighties show, has been turned into a loud, shallow and unfunny parody of Bond villains. Launchpad's intelligence has been scaled so far back that I'd genuinely feel guilty for laughing at him. The nephews have been turned into smarmy kid protagonists distractingly voiced by thirty-something comedians. I'm not shedding any tears for the loss of the stereotypical classic versions of Webby and Mrs. Beakly, but I'd be lying if I said I thought their reboots were interesting characters. Webby in particular is very much a run-of-the-mill 2010s cartoon girl protagonist.

The only main characters I consistently like are Scrooge and Donald, but they (particularly Donald) very much feel like second bananas in what's supposed to be their show. The nephews and Webby take center stage most of the time, meaning we're forced to spend time with essentially completely unfamiliar and often unlikable characters.

It's an adventure show whose cynical approach to adventure leaves it devoid of any sense of wonder or excitement. I'm not a fan of the artstyle either. Once the novelty has worn off, it's just an ugly, angular drawing style with incredibly garish and bland colours. Legend of the Three Caballeros (this show's much better sister show that it ate in the womb) showed that you can still do a classic-looking show on a TV budget, so what's this show's excuse?

08/25/2018 00:00:00

\"Not Muh Duck Tales/Not Muh Barks\": The Review.

\'The writers of this show may not \"hate\" the source material as such\' is stated after a review title that openly states they do hate it. Then... what is it, then? Click Bait?

08/26/2018 00:00:00

Aren't you kind of doing the same thing by dismissing their entire argument with unimaginative snark?

08/27/2018 00:00:00

It's possible to admit that the creators of the show both liked the material (Barks/Ducktales '87) and still disagree with their interpretation and approach. If you dislike the 2017 Show or parts of it, that is fine, but I don't think you can then claim that this proves they hate the show.

If you dislike some of the changes in the show, that's fine. I am not 100% on board with everything they did either.

I only have one specific reply to one of your claims. The idea that the show being sarcastic and irreverent is somehow disrespectful to Barks. The original Barks stories are famous for its undercurrent of meanness and sarcasm. Barks was quite subversive and sarcastic in his original stories, and so on, and they weren't cheery celebrations of family and friendship necessarily. Both the 87 and 2017 show are more softer in that regards, but of the two, in terms of tone the 2017 is closer and Truer To The Text

09/14/2018 00:00:00

I would very, very, very strongly disagree that this is Truer to the Text, tonal-wise. Barks could be quite sarcastic and cynical, sure. But it was pointed in a different direction. His stories were more in the business of social satire, or more generally just in the service of slapstick/screwball comedy. This show\'s brand of sarcastic humour is more in the vein of self-referential metajokes, constantly poking fun of and ostensibly \"deconstructing\" (I use this word very loosely) the show\'s own genre. And it\'s just... so trite. It\'s been trite for a loooong time now. I remember how when Kung Fu Panda came out it seemed like a real breath of fresh air just because it wasn\'t totally an irreverent parody of itself despite how silly it was. And that was ten years ago. You\'d think we\'d have moved on.

09/14/2018 00:00:00

Meta-humor and so on wasn't common currency in Barks' days. He used the comic styles (slapstick, screwball and so on) of his time and place, the world of Chaplin/Keaton, and Looney Tunes for that matter. Someone starting today would naturally use that approach especially since this is Post-Simpsons, and Post-Gravity Falls and so on. So it's more a sense of preferring or disliking one form of humor over another. The real-life Barks was very impish, and later years, even did some risque drawings with duck figures, openly parodying them as stand-ins and so on. So saying that Barks would disapprove is neither here nor there. For something to be Truer To The Text, all it needs is to be more faithful than earlier takes. As such DT-2017 in its avoidance of sentiment, greater irreverence, and celebration of mischief is closer to Barks than the 1987 Show. My feelings about the show was mostly positive at least until the last three episodes where I didn't quite buy the resolution of Scrooge and his family at the end. I don't think the show does the serialized episodes well.

That said I do agree that one shouldn't see this as a definitive take on the Disney Ducks Comics. It's merely one approach and so on.

09/15/2018 00:00:00

I don\'t think it being a common form of humour nowadays makes its use beyond criticism. It being common is why I don\'t like it; it\'s trite, overused, and its use here just comes off as lazy. Besides, the overuse of deconstructive metahumour is undermines the very point of such humour: When the parody/deconstruction has become more cliché than the clichés it purports to deconstruct, it ceases to be funny or clever and just becomes dull. You just end up with something that\'s actively less clever, insightful and creative than the thing it\'s mocking.

Regarding the title, yeah, I was probably being too inflammatory with the use of the word \"hate\", but that does still sum a lot of the problems I have with this show. Ultimately, it doesn\'t feel like the writers of this show saw something worth replicating in the source material. It feels like their priority was to take the piss out of it or, at best, use its basic concepts to launch a quasi-original Gravity Falls-esque modern cartoon.

11/04/2018 00:00:00

Like, you know how in two or three episodes of the original show Gyro made robots who went haywire? Well, now he\'s squarely defined as the Guy Whose Robots Inevitably Turn Evil.

I\'d hardly say he\'s squarely defined as that when only his debut episode and \"Beware the B.U.D.D.Y. System\" acknowledge it.

11/06/2018 00:00:00

Those two episodes are his only major starring roles in the season, as far as I\'m aware, so saying it\'s \"only\" in those two episodes is a bit rich. In any case, even if it\'s toned down in the second half of the season, the writers used their \"robots turning evil\" observation as their justification for retooling Gyro\'s personality beyond recognition in the first place — which to me speaks very poorly of their priorities. Was making some half-assed, shallow metajoke about a couple of episodes of the 80s series really more important than doing justice to a popular character who\'s been around for seventy years? It\'s emblematic of how this show\'s writers seem to care more about being perceived as cleverer than the 80s show than trying to replicate the things that actually work about the material — and in the process, only revealing their own utter ignorance about the source material they\'re adapting.

11/15/2018 00:00:00

Those two episodes are his only major starring roles in the season, as far as I'm aware, so saying it's "only" in those two episodes is a bit rich.

A character can show personality traits in episodes where they're not the starring role, you know that right? I'm not here to argue against subjectivity, you have views on the show that I disagree with, and vice-versa. But Gyro, in both those two episodes and the several he was in where he took a backseat, shown to be an egotistical, sarcastic, and ditzy Jerk Ass. To say that making robots that turn evil is the only thing that defines him is objectively false.

11/23/2018 00:00:00

His characterisation as an egotistical, sarcastic, and ditzy Jerk Ass was brought about because the writers wanted to make a comment on his robots always turning evil. They\'ve been pretty open about how they retooled him because they wanted to make sense of that aspect of his character. So in that sense, it\'s an aspect that DOES define his entire character — the desire to make some stupid metajoke about that one thing is the justification given for overhauling his personality beyond recognition. One can get pedantic and argue that it\'s not explicitly brought up in every episode Gyro\'s in, but it is — by the writers\' own admission — the thing that prompted them to write him the way he is.


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