D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996) starring Emilio Estevez, Jeffrey Nordling, David Selby, Heidi Kling, Joshua Jackson, Joss Ackland, Elden Henson directed by Robert Lieberman Movie Review

D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jeffrey Nordling as Coach Ted Orion in D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996)

These Bombay Ducks are a Little Over Done

It was sort of inevitable that having given us one sequel another would follow and so in 1996 "D3: The Mighty Ducks" was thrust across the ice rink at us. Continuing the story of the young Ducks who first time around won the pee-wee hockey championship, second time around stuck it to the Icelanders at the Junior Goodwill games find themselves getting scholarships to a posh school where they don't fit in and with a new coach to deal with. All of which means that yes "D3: The Mighty Ducks" does have a different storyline but at heart is no different to the previous movies. What this means is that during the movie there will be problems before a triumphant finale where the bad guys get beaten and some more life lessons are handed out along the way. And like "D2: The Mighty Ducks" it is still entertaining but works best for younger audiences, lacking the intelligence to make it a pleasure for older audiences.

Following the success at the Junior Goodwill Games the Ducks are all given scholarships to the prestigious Eden Hall Academy. Unfortunately for them coach Bombay (Emilio Estevez - Loaded Weapon 1) is offered a job with the Goodwill Games permanently meaning they find themselves with a new coach in Ted Orion (Jeffrey Nordling - Trail of Tears). Between not really fitting into the snobby Eden Hall, the senior Varsity team taking a disliking to the Freshmen and a new coach with a different style life is not easy for any of the Ducks especially Charlie (Joshua Jackson - Magic in the Water) who is struggling more than anyone to deal with these changes. But can they keep it together and prove that the Ducks are still a formidable team or will they end up being thrown out of the snobby Eden Hall.

Joshua Jackson as Charlie Conway in D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996)

Whilst "D3: The Mighty Ducks" has an underlying theme which is no different to the previous movies I have to say I like the fact that a different story is manufactured as the vehicle this time around. It's a nice progression that this band of young hockey players find themselves struggling to fit in at a new, posh school, especially Charlie who takes it all very personally. There is a decent moral to all of this with Charlie having to learn to basically go with the flow rather than raging against the machine. It's not a very subtle moral and the whole life lessons aspect of the movie is handled a little heavily but then it will work for younger audiences who may be experiencing similar emotions.

What is for certain is that "D3: The Mighty Ducks" works to a well worn formula and it doesn't take a genius to predict every aspect of the movie. From the team struggling with a new coach, Charlie going off the rails through to the expected big triumphant climax there is not anything new or different chucked into the mix. Saying that it works, well at a young audience level, and from the comedy such as Goldberg out of control on rollerblades through to the winning goal scene it is entertaining. But sadly there is nothing this time which works for older audiences and in fact may find it all rather corny and too unbelievable even if its heart is in the right place.

As for the acting well this time around Emilio Estevez takes a back seat as his character Bombay is only in it for a few scenes, which in many ways is a good thing because not only does it mean we have a new coach but the children become more central. In fact at the heart of "D3: The Mighty Ducks" is Joshua Jackson as Charlie as he struggles to deal with coach Orion who seems to be trying to break him down and the Ducks up. Jackson does quite a decent job, playing what is in essence a stereotypical teenage with teenage turmoil's and he works well with Jeffrey Nordling who plays coach Orion. Aside from Jackson and Nordling it's very much as case of the kids doing very much what we saw them do in "D2: The Mighty Ducks" with the added bonus of Joss Ackland and Heidi Kling returning.

What this all boils down to is that "D3: The Mighty Ducks" is once more an entertaining movie but more than ever a movie which works for younger audiences with little for older folks who find themselves watching it. Behind the new storyline it is very much a formulaic movie with a life lesson which is handled so heavily it feels forced. But for those who watched the first two movies and for those parents who want their children to watch a movie which delivers a worthy message "D3: The Mighty Ducks" works.