Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Twenty-Seven: "Micro Ducks from Outer Space"

Note that this episode abolishes the hyphen from "Micro-Ducks."

That story is a pretty good late-Barks effort, no doubt, but this has little in common with it. And it's pretty seriously flawed, structurally: the Micro-Ducks themselves play very little role, only appearing in the beginning and end and not making much of an impression. Instead, the bulk of the episode is taken up with shrunken Scrooge, HDL, and Webby trying to make their way to Gyro so they can get turned back to normal (pretty much the exact plot of a later Van Horn story, not that it's a super-original idea). One has to ask: why bother with the Micro-Ducks at all, if you just want to do Honey I Shrunk the Kids? The writers could easily have found some other contrivance to shrink the ducks. As it stands, the premise is just squandered. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Also, the episode sets up a thing where the kids have an ant farm, which Scrooge knocks over and breaks--we're apparently supposed to believe that our shrunken heroes are completely helpless until one of their pet ants ("Twitchy"--the meth-head ant!) shows up, but he doesn't appear to actually do anything meaningful. Most peculiar.

However, in spite of the structural fail that we see here, I have to say, the part where the ducks are trying to navigate the neighborhood whilst small is pretty fucking awesome--clever, exciting, and definitely the best Ducktales I've seen in quite some time. Man, if only they hadn't insisted on messing around with Micro-Ducks and instead focused more on their travels--think how much more awesome the episode could've been.

Stray Observations

-I fail to see why the Micro-Ducks would want to shrink down Scrooge's wheat instead of just taking a few kernels. I mean, I do see why; it's so that Scrooge can get rid of all his wheat, hurrah, but Scrooge's enthusiasm for even a super-tiny deal is quite charming in the original, and now that's lost.

-Funny how memory works: I had no recollection of this episode, but now I'm fairly certain I saw at least part of it back in the day--the bit in the sewer seems very familiar indeed.

-Launchpad calls Gyro "Gyroo." I couldn't say why.

-You know, spiders--even scary spiders with glowing red eyes--aren't trapped on their webs--there's no reason Shelob jr. here couldn't have given the ducks chase.

-Dammit, if you're going to have a Micro-Ducks episode, I want my Donald/Princess Teentsy Teen romance!

-In spite of the pointlessness of the ant-farm business, I do like the fact that HDL and Webby are equally enthusiastic about it--there's always this divide between them; you never (until now) see them all playing together like regular ol' kids.

-Would Scrooge really want to expand his Goose-Egg nugget? Given his nostalgic/sentimental side, I find this highly doubtful.


  1. My best guess is that the micro-ducks took all the wheat so they could restore it to its normal size (or bigger) later, thereby feeding their planet for the next century or two.

    I wonder if the stringent no-smoking rules for Disney animation meant that there was no chance that the original story's climactic scene with the skeptic puffing cigar smoke would have made it in the episode anyway. Could they even have skeptics about aliens at this point in the series, since all of Duckburg has already seen actual aliens on TV in "Where No Duck Has Gone Before?"

    When the micro-ducks enlarged the jewels, didn't they look at first like they were made to be the size of apples, but then when Scrooge examines them later, they're only the size of golf balls.

  2. Yeah, I did wonder why, if they wanted a generic "the characters get shrunk!" story, they couldn't have just used the atom subtracter from "Billions in the Hole." Or had Gyro whip up a shrink ray or something. The original "Micro-Ducks" is one of my favorites, so it was a shame to see that premise basically wasted in the cartoon.