The Mighty Ducks is a 1992 family/sports film about a ragtag PeeWee hockey team. It’s fairly formulaic. A reluctant coach takes over a team of losers, he teaches them how to play the game, they teach him about life, the team starts to bond and win games, leading up to the championship game against their rival team, where they inevitably win it in the most dramatic way possible. But The Mighty Ducks manages to rise about the formula with great characters and memorable quotes. It was popular enough to create the foundation for a trilogy of films, a real-life NHL team (owned by Disney, obviously) and a terrible cartoon that nobody remembers.
I caught The Mighty Ducks playing on TV the other night and it would have been a sin to change the channel, so I ended up watching the whole thing. It still holds up. It’s darker than I remembered. I’m not talking Batman Begins-dark; I just mean that it’s dark for a family film. Gordon Bombay is an asshole alcoholic in the beginning of the film. The kids have vicious insults that are still effective to use in an argument today. It’s not a great movie, but it’s not trying to be great and that’s how it succeeds. It’s simply enjoyable.
I like how Gordon slowly morphs into Coach Bombay. I like the core group of kids on the team: Charlie, Averman, and Goldberg. I like the scenes where they recruit Fulton, Adam Banks, and Timmy and Tammy (the two figure skating siblings that weren’t in the sequels). I like the hockey scenes. I like the juvenile humor and youthful shenanigans. I like the flashback scenes that show how much hockey meant to Gordon as a kid. I know that I like the movie because I still hate the Hawks.
The Mighty Ducks was successful at the box office and that lead to a slew of family-friendly sports comedies being produced. Little Giants, The Big Green, and several other films only exist because of The Mighty Ducks. Even The Sandlot came out after it. The Sandlot is a better movie, but the Ducks came first. You can’t deny its impact. Watch this movie. Quack, quack, quack.
Critically Rated at 12/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young