D3: The Mighty Ducks
Screw me for complaining, but who's the Hollywood genius who unsheathed his light saber and decided to make Emilio Estevez the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Little League hockey? Whiny skating punk Charlie (Joshua Jackson) can't get along with his new coach (Jeffrey Nordling) and can't adapt to life at his new school, Eden Academy, so there's Emilio, appearing out of nowhere like some poor man's Jesus to tell Charlie how to act and how to skate. At least if he were a martyr Emilio would be dead, but the filmmakers keep him alive and kicking so that fifty years from now they can make "D25: Geriatrics on Ice" for those three-year-olds who are still comatose after seeing "D3."
As if one Obi-Wan weren't enough, "D3" also brings us Hans (Joss Ackland), an old hockey sage who lives in a Unabomber shack out in the woods and probably wipes his ass with squirrels. In the original "Mighty Ducks," Gordon (Estevez) would visit to seek wisdom -- now Charlie goes to see him every time he forgets how to unzip his pants to take a leak.
In one of the film's many incongruous scenes, Hans up and dies because Charlie asks him if he "feels okay." In a kids' film, asking an old person if he "feels okay" is tantamount to personally ripping his heart out of his chest and devouring it. Sure enough, Hans promptly drops dead and Gordon returns to tell the depressed team that "this one is for Hans," which is only a couple of words away from what Hitler told the boys before they invaded Poland.
I must admit, however, that I was stunned beyond words at the originality of the screenplay. A group of outcasts overcomes adversity to achieve victory and learn something about life. Was the director just trying to throw me off by setting up a conflict between the Ducks and the Eden Varsity team,then resolving it with the unexpected vehicle of a hockey game? When the Ducks won the game in a miracle finish, several people in the theater, overcome with shock and surprise, stood up, slapped their hands to their foreheads and yelled, "No WAY!" (My apologies for giving away the surprise ending.)
To spread the word about this D3: The Mighty Ducks review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.