Since I’ve been watching a lot of hockey during the NHL playoffs, I’ve got pucks on the brain. Naturally, this gets me thinking about hockey-related pop culture. When that happens, it can only mean one thing, and that’s thinking about The Mighty Ducks. And now, I’m writing about The Mighty Ducks.
Although, in truth, when it comes to the Mighty Ducks franchise I usually focus on the second one. The third movie is bad in a boring way. The kids are at some fancy school and Gordon Bombay is barely in it. Nobody cares about that movie. The Mighty Ducks, the original, is a totally middling kids’ film. It’s an underdog sports story about a ragtag group of less-privileged kids rising up to…make the playoffs? Beat a good team once? For their coach, a hotshot lawyer who is doing community service? Hey, at least Danny Tamberelli is in it as Tommy Duncan, brother of Tammy Duncan who scores a goal thanks to her figure skating skills.
D2: The Mighty Ducks is really the sweetspot. It’s goofy and ridiculous but in a fun way. The premise is that Gordon Bombay will be coaching the U.S. hockey team in the Junior Goodwill Games. You know, that iconic event. A lot of his Ducks team joins him, mostly the important kids like Charlie and Fulton, and then they are joined by ringers from around the country. Literally around the entire country. They have a kid from Bangor, Maine and a kid from Miami. Why have a kid from Maine except to be like, “Look, we have kids from every corner of the United States!” They have their singular personality traits. Luis Mendoza is fast but can’t stop. Ken Wu used to be a figure skater. Dwayne Robertson is a cowboy. Julie Gaffney is a girl.
The United States’ biggest rival is the vicious team from…Iceland. You know, the legendary Icelandic hockey players. I don’t know a single person from Iceland to ever play in the NHL. Was Bjork in the NHL? Their coach is Wolf “The Dentist” Stansson, who collected more teeth than goals in the NHL. Naturally, the Ducks and the assorted other kids learn to work together. Also they add Russ Tyler after seeing him play street hockey in LA, mostly because he has a shot called the “Knuckle Puck” which is just a slap shot with the puck standing on its end.
D2: The Mighty Ducks is so supremely ridiculous. The characters are broadly drawn. The jokes are broader. The bad guys are from Iceland. The “Knuckle Puck” exists. Is it a good hockey movie? Well, it barely resembles hockey, so not really. Is it ideal for a cheesy kids’ sports movie? You got it!