Badass Cartoon Reviews: Ducktales
By Tim Mudie Apr. 01, 2005
I had been traveling for a good fifteen hours or so. First, the flight from Warsaw to Frankfurt, then a layover, then the flight from Frankfurt to New York. I was reading Crime and Punishment, which was good, but a little intense. It gets a little taxing around hour thirteen. I had declined the in-flight movie, though I'm sure Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason is on par with Crime and Punishment for sheer quality.
The point is I was looking for something light, something to calm the nerves of a tired, smelly, travel-weary boy. My salvation came in an unlikely form: Ducktales. Now, I hadn't seen Ducktales - the madcap adventures of zillionaire Scrooge McDuck and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie - since I was maybe ten years old, and even then I didn't watch it much, but I decided to put down Dostoyevsky for a little while and try something new. Boy, was I happy. The theme song alone makes the whole show worth it. I can't believe it was never a top ten hit.
Then the episode started. The one I saw was about Vikings... well, duck-Vikings, that ransack Ducksburg and take Mrs. Beakley captive, thinking she's Brunhilde. The McDucks and their trusty pilot Launchpad head to Greenland, which isn't actually green. (See, Ducktales is educational, too!) There, they find a hot-spring heated paradise, inhabited solely by Vikings. Launchpad challenges their toughest warrior to a chariot race and... well, I don't want to spoil the ending, but let me just say that I was on the edge of my seat.
But Ducktales wasn't just a rousing tale of gallantry and derring-do. No, it was full of humor, pathos and... yes, even love. I chuckled every time I heard the Vikings talk in their Scandinavian accents, I held my breath when the Vikings tried to ruin the bridge, dooming Launchpad to defeat, and I cheered when Mrs. Beakley took over and won. Well, I didn't actually cheer; I was on a plane. But, you know what I mean.
After Ducktales, a Discovery Channel show called Growing Up Polar Bear came on. Unfortunately, I had watched it on the way to Europe, and it wasn't quite good enough to watch twice. And so, it was back to Dostoyevsky. But, Ducktales stayed with me, and every time I saw the name Raskolnikov, I knew that he would never be as important a literary figure of a true hero: Launchpad McQuack.