Written by Caballero Oscuro
I recently paid a visit to the fictional town of Duckburg thanks to Disney's new DVD box set release of DuckTales, Volume 3. Being new in town, I was drawn to the adventures of its richest citizen, Scrooge McDuck, as well as his rambunctious nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. They had starred in many classic comic book stories in decades gone by courtesy of legendary creator Carl Barks, so the news that they would be reenacting some of those stories on DVD made me extremely interested in how they would transfer to the video medium. While it was fun to reminisce with the boys as they retold old stories and spun many completely original tales, ultimately I felt that there just wasn't quite enough quality entertainment presented to hold the attention of modern audiences.
While the series will certainly hold great sentimental value for fans who grew up with it, a fresh viewing in today's HD climate reveals a technically inferior presentation with loose key character models, variable animation quality, so-so vocal performances, and a theme song best left buried in the '80s. With that said, the quality is still far better than most of its contemporaries of that era, and a touch of Disney magic manages to shine through from time to time. A new arrival to Duckburg (like me) may wonder what all of the fuss was about, so a little history helps to put the series into its proper perspective.
DuckTales was Disney's first attempt at creating original animated material for syndication, paving the way for subsequent efforts such as TaleSpin and Darkwing Duck. As previously noted, its premise was to translate the original Scrooge McDuck comic book stories by Carl Barks into full-length episodes, sometimes just using those stories as a basic framework and other times creating entirely new stories from scratch using the characters he created. Stories usually center on Scrooge either trying to increase his fortune or protect it from unscrupulous characters, always with the assistance of his lovable nephews. A few episodes focus on peripheral characters such as Gyro Gearloose or Launchpad, but most Ducktales are Scrooge-related.
The box set is spread over three discs in individual slimline cases with eight episodes per disc, making a relatively compact package but completely omitting any bonus features. Most fans probably just want the unadulterated episodes to have and to hold, but some bonus bones thrown to the casual and uneducated viewers would have been a nice touch. This is a fairly straightforward episode dump to DVD with no apparent attempts to remaster the source material. While the set is perfect for original fans, it’s not such a remarkable tale for newbies.