The Mighty Ducks (film series)

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The Mighty Ducks DVD cover

The Mighty Ducks is a series of three live-action films and one animated film released in the 1990s by Walt Disney Pictures. The movies revolve around a Twin Cities ice hockey team, composed of young players that stick together throughout various challenges. Despite its negative reviews by movie critics, the trilogy's commercial success paved the way for the creation of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, (now the Anaheim Ducks) NHL team as well as a related animated series called Mighty Ducks.

The films still remain popular today, and were spoofed in a 2006 episode of South Park. A "Mighty Ducks" area, with related decor, is retained in Disney's All-Star Movies Resort hotel at Walt Disney World Resort. Basil McRae, Mike Modano, Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille, Chris Chelios, Cam Neely and Paul Kariya have made cameo appearances in the films.

Plot synopses[edit]

The Mighty Ducks (1992)
Director Stephen Herek
Screenplay Steven Brill (written by)
Producer Jon Avnet, Jordan Kerner
Release Date October 2, 1992
MPAA rating PG
Color/B&W Color
Aspect ratio 1.85 : 1
Runtime 100 minutes,
Alternate Titles Champions (UK & Australia), Mighty Ducks Are The Champions (UK video title), Mighty Ducks: Das Superteam (D)
D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994)
Director Sam Weisman
Screenplay Steven Brill (characters) (written by)
Producer Jon Avnet, Jordan Kerner
Release Date March 25, 1994
MPAA rating PG
Color/B&W Color
Aspect ratio 1.85 : 1
Runtime 106 minutes
Alternate Titles The Mighty Ducks 2
D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996)
Director Robert Lieberman
Screenplay Steven Brill (characters) (screenplay), Kenneth Johnson (story), Jim Burnstein (screenplay, and) (story, and)
Producer Jordan Kerner, Jon Avnet
Release Date October 4, 1996
MPAA rating PG
Color/B&W Color
Aspect ratio 1.85 : 1
Runtime 104 minutes
Alternate Titles Mighty Ducks III - Jetzt mischen sie die Highschool auf (D)
Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face-Off (1997)
Director Joe Barruso
Doug Murphy
Blair Peters
Sung Bak Yub
Steve Langley (uncredited)
Screenplay Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Judith Reeves-Stevens
David Wise (written by)
Producer Lisa Salamone Smith
Release Date April 8, 1997
MPAA rating PG
Color/B&W Color
Aspect ratio 1.85 : 1
Runtime 70 minutes
Alternative Titles D4: The Mighty Ducks (Europe)

The Mighty Ducks[edit]

Main article: The Mighty Ducks

After being pulled over for drunk driving, attorney Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is sentenced to community service, coaching hockey. There, he meets the "District 5" peewee hockey team, perennial losers who finish at the bottom of the league standings year after year. They are shut out every game and lose by at least five goals. The players learn Bombay was once a player for the Hawks, an elite team in the same league, but left hockey because of the embarrassment that followed after a failed attempt at a penalty shot at the end of regulation, causing them to lose in overtime, costing them a peewee championship. With the help of Coach Bombay, and a desperately needed infusion of cash and equipment, the players learn the fundamentals of the sport. Soon enough, the District 5 team (now christened the "Ducks", after Bombay's employer, Gerald Ducksworth) start winning games and manage to make the playoffs, reaching the finals and adding new player Adam Banks, an ex-Hawk who is a talented player and an asset for the Ducks. Bombay faces the Hawks, the team he grew up playing for, still led by Jack Reilly (Lane Smith), the same coach Bombay played for. Fittingly, the Ducks win the title game on a penalty shot by Bombay's protégé, Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson). The movie was released in the UK, South Africa and Australia as Champions. It was directed by Stephen Herek and this premiered on television on NBC in 1995.

Coach: Gordon Bombay
Team Captain: Charlie Conway
Rival Team: The Hawks
Moral Conscience: Hans

D2: The Mighty Ducks[edit]

Main article: D2: The Mighty Ducks

Inspired by his own players, Bombay decides to try out in the minor leagues and becomes the star player for the fictional Minnehaha Waves, with an easy pathway to the NHL. After a career-ending knee injury, he is offered a chance to coach a team representing the United States in the Junior Goodwill Games. For this, he reunites his Ducks and introduces them to five new players from across the country to form Team USA. However, the lure of celebrity becomes a distraction to both Bombay and the players, and reality kicks in when they lose against Team Iceland in an embarrassing defeat. Frustrated, Bombay drives his players even harder, yet Team USA continues to suffer, until they come across a street hockey team who teaches them how to play like "the real Team USA". New player Russ Tyler (Kenan Thompson), who earlier mocked Team USA during its matches, is recruited into the roster. Bombay realizes the most important thing is to have fun and after a change in attitude, the Ducks redeem themselves by working up the playoff ladder to meet Team Iceland in the finals. Team USA proves to be a match for Iceland, but the game ends in a tie, resulting in a shootout, which resulted in Team USA winning.

Coach: Gordon Bombay
Team Captain: Charlie Conway
Rival Team: Team Iceland
Moral Conscience: Jan

D3: The Mighty Ducks[edit]

Main article: D3: The Mighty Ducks

The movie shifts focus from Bombay to protégé Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson). Charlie and his teammates are awarded scholarships to Eden Hall Academy (a fictitious name from crossing Southwestern suburb Eden Prairie, Cretin-Derham Hall, and Saint Thomas Academy), a prestigious Minnesota high school Bombay attended. Their arrival is met with hostility from the varsity team (mainly consisting of players who are members of rich families, whose younger siblings were not accepted to the academy to make room for the Ducks), as well as Bombay's hand-picked successor, Ted Orion (Jeffrey Nordling), whose emphasis on defensive two-way hockey irks Charlie. Not wanting to be on a team led by Orion, who he believes to be a washed-up former professional player, Charlie leaves the team, but rejoins as he learns the truth about Orion from Bombay. Charlie and Orion quickly bond in time for the JV-Varsity Showdown, and thanks in large part to the work of Charlie, the Ducks win on a shorthanded goal in the dying seconds of the game from unlikely goal scorer Greg Goldberg (who is converted from goalie to defenseman).

Coach: Ted Orion
Team Captain: Charlie Conway
Rival Team: The Varsity Warriors
Moral Conscience: Hans & Bombay

Common threads[edit]

Opponents[edit]

All three films cast an opposing hockey team representing the various obstacles to the team:

  • The rival teams (always all-male) mainly consists of large players of a single ethnic or social background, which the Ducks, a team with smaller players of different races and genders, must overcome.
  • All three rival teams in the three films (the Hawks, Team Iceland and the Varsity Warriors) wear black uniforms.
  • The referees will never call blatant penalties by rival teams, including boarding, cross-checking, tripping, roughing, clipping and hooking.

Team Name[edit]

All three films also had the Ducks start off with a different name, but reverts to the Ducks:

  • In D1, they are "District 5", then changed to the Ducks because of Bombay's former boss, Ducksworth.
  • In D2, the Ducks are known as Team USA. In the third period of the final game, the team changes their jerseys and become the Team USA Ducks.
  • In D3, the team starts off as the JV Warriors. The team has an unsupervised scrimmage at dawn, where the team shows up as the Ducks. Orion comes in and breaks up a fight between the two teams, and makes the Ducks take off their jerseys claiming, "The Ducks are dead!" Prior to the JV-Varsity showdown, Orion returns their Ducks jerseys and with their victory over the varsity team, Bombay reveals a banner saying "Eden Hall Ducks."

Goals[edit]

Many of the goals the Ducks score are artistic or gimmicky in nature; this is also known as "Duck Danglefest". One of their gimmicks is the Flying V, where all five players skate down the ice in much the same manner as a flock of ducks, the puck being passed around between the squad (interestingly, the team manages to score 2 goals with this maneuver: one in D1 and another in D2; following this, opposing teams defend successfully against it).

In the end to each movie, the Ducks prevail over their opponents by a single goal.

NHL Cameos[edit]

Each movie showcases a cameo appearance by National Hockey League players:

Roster[edit]

The following is the roster of all players for the Ducks,[1] along with jersey numbers, playing positions and appearances in the three films. Seven of the players appear in all three films (Germaine, Averman, Moreau, Goldberg, Reed, Conway, and Banks). Their coaches are Gordon Bombay (Estevez, D1 and D2) and Ted Orion (Nordling, D3).

No. Player Hometown Position D1 D2 D3 Portrayed By
00 Guy Germaine serves as a model player for the Ducks on the ice and is arguably second only to Banks in terms of skill[citation needed]. In D1, he is part of the "Oreo Line" with the Hall Brothers. He and Connie Moreau are in a relationship as seen by a victory kiss at the end of D1 and a near kiss in the beginning of D2. St. Paul, MN F YesY YesY YesY Garette Ratliff Henson
1 Terry Hall only appears in the first movie and is Jesse's younger brother. Minneapolis, MN F YesY N N Jussie Smollett
2 Tommy Duncan only appears in the first movie and is Tammy's younger brother. Minneapolis, MN D YesY N N Danny Tamberelli
4 Dave/Lester Averman serves as a goofball and deadpan snarker of the team. He can contribute on the ice but has trouble dealing with opposing enforcers. Averman is the second most injured person in the series, tied with Guy. Brooklyn Park, MN F YesY YesY YesY Matt Doherty
5 Tammy Duncan only appears in the first movie and serves as the team's figure skater. Minneapolis, MN F YesY N N Jane Plank
6 Julie "The Cat" Gaffney has the quick glove and is the team's second goalkeeper. Although she is the better of the two team goalies, Julie does not become the starter until D3. Her reputation as "The Cat" is cemented when she stops Iceland's Gunner Stahl's shot to give the Ducks the championship in the Junior Goodwill Games. She is one of the reasons the Ducks won their final games with her miracle saves. Bangor, ME G N YesY YesY Colombe Jacobsen
7 Dwayne Robertson is a ranch hand and the best puckhandler. Dwayne provides much of the team's comic relief with his southern demeanor and tendency to show off. Austin, TX F N YesY YesY Ty O'Neal
9 Jesse Hall is a forward who does not attend Eden Hall with the rest of the Ducks in D3. His loudmouth, outspoken attitude sometimes gets him into trouble, but at the same time enables the Ducks to form their friendship with new recruits Adam Banks in D1 and Russ Tyler in D2. Minneapolis, MN F YesY YesY N Brandon Quintin Adams
11 Dave Karp only appears in the first movie. Comedic and light-hearted, Karp loves to play pranks. Minneapolis, MN D YesY N N Aaron Schwartz
16 Ken Wu is a former Olympic figure skater who bedazzles opponents with his acrobatic, stylistic techniques and sets up scoring opportunities. After taking what he has learned from Russ Tyler's LA Street Hockey Team and standing up against an Iceland team member twice his size, Ken became dubbed by Fulton and Portman as "Little Bash Brother". San Francisco, CA F N YesY YesY Justin Wong
18 Connie Moreau is the recurring, independent female team player of the Ducks and is extremely proud of it. She and teammates Guy Germaine have a relationship. In the first movie, Averman refers to her as "the velvet hammer." Minneapolis, MN F YesY YesY YesY Marguerite Moreau
21 Dean Portman is the team's heavy enforcer that gives the Ducks a physical presence on the ice. He is close friends with fellow enforcer Fulton Reed and one half of the "Bash Brothers." He does not attend Eden Hall, but does return for the JV-Varsity showdown in the last 15 minutes of the third movie. Chicago, IL D N YesY YesY Aaron Lohr
22 Luis Mendoza is the team's fastest skater, having been clocked 1.9 seconds from blue line to blue line. Unfortunately, Luis has trouble stopping, which causes humorous collisions in the games. He's only shown being able to stop once in D2. Miami, FL F N YesY YesY Mike Vitar
24 Peter Mark only appears in the first movie. A player with an attitude and induces conflict, he leads a walkout on Coach Bombay. Minneapolis, MN D YesY N N J.D. Daniels
33 Greg Goldberg is originally from Philadelphia, but lives in Minnesota. Although the weaker and less skilled goalie than Julie Gaffney, Goldberg has the better stick as opposed to Gaffney's glove and is known for his flatulence. In D3, he switches positions from goalie to defenseman. Goldberg also scores winning goal in D3, with an assist from Conway. Philadelphia, PA G/D YesY YesY YesY Shaun Weiss
44 Fulton Reed is initially an outsider but is recruited by the Ducks when Bombay notices his powerful, but inaccurate (1 out of 5 are successful) slapshot (it is so devastating it can leave an imprint of the puck in a goalie's palm). Close friends with Dean Portman and fiercely loyal to Charlie Conway, Reed is shy and reserved, but shows his loyalty by standing up for the Ducks when the Hawks bully them. Like Charlie, he has trouble adapting to Coach Orion at the outset of D3. Reed is the other half of the "Bash Brothers" and the only player on the team to have his or her first name on the back of the jersey. Stillwater, MN D YesY YesY YesY Elden Henson
56 Russ Tyler is a local boy from Los Angeles who teaches the team how to play "for real" following a major upset against Team Iceland in D2. He is recruited into the roster following Adam Banks' wrist injury. Russ fashions his trademark "knucklepuck", a slapshot that curves in a sine curve rather than a direct, straight shot, and is very loquacious. Los Angeles, CA D N YesY YesY Kenan Thompson
96 - Captain Charlie Conway is the leader, heart and soul of the team. Although not the fastest, skilled nor strongest player, Charlie is extremely loyal to the Ducks and to his coach, possessing the greatest leadership qualities among his teammates. Charlie does have the highest vertical leap out of all the ducks which is demonstrated by his ability to jump over construction apparatus and small hatchbacks. After Adam Banks got injured during the Junior Goodwill Games, he recruited Russ Tyler for the Ducks. Once Adam was able to return right before the last game he chose to be the bench coach so no one had to give up their spot. He views Gordon Bombay as a surrogate father and grieves when his mentor leaves the team. He eventually learns how to lead the Ducks as Team Captain under new coach Ted Orion in D3 and records the game winning assist against the varsity team in D3. Minneapolis, MN F YesY YesY YesY Joshua Jackson
99 Adam Banks is the most talented and skilled player on the team. Originally a Hawk, Adam is forced to join the Ducks when it is discovered he lives in District 5. Upon his entry, the Ducks envy his wealth and question his heart, nicknaming him "Cake Eater"; only Charlie accepts him into the fold. Adam slowly gains the respect and loyalty of his new teammates. In D3, Adam's skill allows him to join the varsity team at Eden Hall Academy, much to his displeasure. Fortunately, Adam returns to his teammates' side at the JV-Varsity Showdown. Throughout the trilogy, Adam has been the one to sustain the most injuries out of the entire team, the result of being specifically targeted by their opponents. Edina, MN F YesY YesY YesY Vincent Larusso

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date US Box office revenue Budget Reference
The Mighty Ducks October 2, 1992 $50,752,337 $10,000,000 [2]
D2: The Mighty Ducks March 25, 1994 $45,604,206 -- [3]
D3: The Mighty Ducks October 4, 1996 $22,936,273 -- [4]
Total $119,292,816 $10,000,000
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (by Box Office Mojo).

Critical reaction[edit]

Title Rotten Tomatoes
The Mighty Ducks 12% (26 reviews)[5]
D2: The Mighty Ducks 15% (13 reviews)[6]
D3: The Mighty Ducks 20% (15 reviews)[7]
Trilogy average 23.5%

References[edit]

  1. ^ THE DUCKS
  2. ^ "The Mighty Ducks (1992)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ "D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 3, 2011. 
  4. ^ "D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 4, 2010. 
  5. ^ "The Mighty Ducks". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved January 3, 2011. 
  6. ^ "D2: The Mighty Ducks". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved January 3, 2011. 
  7. ^ "D3: The Mighty Ducks". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved January 3, 2011.