Apr 19 2011
At the request of my brother, I’m going to review one of our favorite movies: D2: The Mighty Ducks (or simply “D2” for the initiated).
It’s no secret that I’m not the family sports nut (that’d be my brother) but to this day, Tom and I bond over kids sports movies, and D2 in particular, so this movie remains one of my favorites.
D2 is the continuation of the story of a kids hockey team which (surprise!) is wildly talented and manages to triumph over all opponents. In D1, coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is sentenced to community service- coaching a kids hockey team. Of course they are terrible at hockey, but during the movie find that they have talent, and rise to local stardom.
In D2, the team gains some new members from all over the country in preparation for playing as Team USA in the Junior Goodwill Games (really the Junior Olympics, but that was copyrighted). During the games, they face off against ice hockey teams from all over the world. The main plot is their rivalry with evil, hulking, all-male Team Iceland, (for some reason, only Team USA has any female players, but this only contributes to how awesome they are) and their struggle to integrate the new members into the old core of the team. In the meantime, Coach Bombay copes with his own personal demons and learns the value of true sportsmanship.
In the end, of course, Team USA gets back to their roots and dons Ducks uniforms for a (very unsurprising) win against Team Iceland
What? You didn’t really think they could lose, did you? This hardly counts as a spoiler.
This movie is worth your purchase because it is an absolute classic. When I mentioned to my roommate that I was reviewing it, her boyfriend yelled down the hall, “D2? That’s the best!”
I could not agree more, Trey. In order to best pinpoint what makes D2 so great, I actually called my brother to discuss the issue, and we came up with a few key points.
For one thing, it’s a very clear-cut good-vs.-evil movie, and also pits the United States against the entire world, fitting neatly into a narrative of patriotism and cultural superiority. Lest it get too heavy-handed, though, most of the other teams are either nice or neutral, and after their final victory the Ducks also get a pleasant little moment with Team Iceland itself, in which their rivals tell off their mean coach and shake hands with the Ducks like good athletes.
We also enjoyed the cultural-clash (what Tom calls the “there goes the neighborhood mentality”) with which the Ducks must deal when they take on new players from, not only remote areas of the country, like Maine, and California, but also the inner city. New additions to the Ducks include Kenny Wu, a figure skater, Dean Robertson, a cowboy, Julie “The Cat” Gaffney, who gives Goldberg the Goalie a run for his money and inner-city kid Russ Tyler who wields a “knuckle-puck” which is, unfortunately, impossible according to science.
We can’t forget the theme of rebellion against authority, as practiced by Fulton Reed and Dean Portman, “The Bash Brothers.“ Possibly the nicest rebellious teenagers in any movie ever, they play rough hockey, like the guitar and stay up too late, but are always pretty friendly to their teammates and willing to stand up for the little guy (ie, dorky Les Averman.)
There is romance here, as well, and not just in the scenes in which Coach Bombay awkwardly flirts with Team Iceland’s trainer. Tom reminded me of the nearly-tender moment between Connie Moreau and Guy Germaine, who are on the verge of kissing (finally!) when Charlie Conway flies through on his skates, blowing a duck whistle to rally the team.
The best thing about this movie, though, is how delightfully cheesy it is. The end is predictable, the characters each fit neatly into a trope, and the funny lines generally fall under the category of so-bad-it’s-good. The movie has fun action scenes and you don’t have to be a hockey player yourself to understand the game as the Ducks play it- the movie is as much about the characters as it is about the sport. At this age, it’s just fun to watch something that’s pure, uncomplicated goofiness and enjoyment. No complications here: the good guys win, the bad guys become good, and everyone sits around a campfire and sings “We Are The Champions.” (And no, I didn’t have to look that up. I’ve just watched this movie that many times.)
If you’re hoping to regain this part of your childhood, or to fill in the gaps if you were somehow deprived, all you need to do is go to Amazon. The movie is about $12, and comes captioned in both English and Icelandic. It’s also a DVD now, which is great, because I think we’ve long since worn out our friend Charles’ VHS copy. http://www.amazon.com/D2-Mighty-Ducks-Emilio-Estevez/dp/B000068QPO
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