Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Twenty-Four: "Earth Quack"

It starts with an earth quack, birds and snakes an…oh, forget it.

If there's one thing I have had quite enough of, it's these stupid, nonsensical titles with "duck" and duck-related words shoehorned in. Stop it! Though I know full well you won't.

Here's the best thing I can say about this episode: it made me go back and reread "Land Beneath the Ground" for the first time in a while. It's real height-of-powers stuff. As for (sigh) "Earth Quack"--well, it follows the general outline of the original story fairly closely, but pretty much all of its richness is lost; the episode feels incredibly rushed and perfunctory--seriously, the ending, in which Scrooge's money is briefly lost and then returned--it looks as though a scene was cut out between these two events, it's so choppy. A lot of time is spent on the ducks' minecart rides into the abyss, which are pretty well-done, I guess, but that's time that could have been spent on more adventuring amongst the Terry-Firmians (needless to say, the distinction between "Terries" and "Fermies" has been abandoned), and more detailing of their culture. These guys were exuberantly likable in the original, but here, there's just not much to say about them--they're very bland.

This is one episode I think where Donald's absence is really felt--admittedly, it wouldn't have made a whole lot of sense to include Launchpad here in his place, but Donald played a key role in the original story, what with being drafted to duel the Terry champion and then tricking the Fermy guarding the trophy. With him gone, possibilities become much more limited. Of course, it's not like there would have been room for this stuff anyway, given how long the build-up is.

The episode wasn't painful to watch exactly, but it was a big disappointment. The writers definitely could and should have done better.

Stray Observations

-I saw this one as a kid, I believe, without having read the Barks story. That's probably why it took me a while to warm to the story; it just felt overly cartoony with the Ducktales association. And indeed, it IS one of Barks' more cartoonish efforts, what with the Terries and Firmies. But in a good way!

-The bit with Scrooge swimming in money at the beginning is pretty neat--I don't think we've seen him doing that in quite this way before.

-No more observations. Seriously, this is not an episode that provokes observation.

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