So Time Magazine just released “Quack, Quack, Quack: An Oral History of the Mighty Ducks Trilogy;” in which Time‘s writer Eric Dodds interviews key cast members, writers and producers. And while talking to producer Jordan Kerner and star Joshua Jackson, Dodds asked about the future of Disney’s series.
“There have been a number of times that we have discussed with the studio the idea of either bringing it back and bringing it back possibly with one or two of the guys who are now in their thirties as the coaches, and having a few more of them be their friends in their lives and having the kids come back. And I’ve been pitched a story two or three times. It hasn’t been the right story yet, but the idea of doing that is something Steve and I have talked about and actually Disney and I have talked about. So I’m not going to fuel the rumor mill that it’s going to happen, but I’m saying to you that the studio said to us, “We’d be interested if you come to us with the right story.” And that’s something that we’ve been all thinking about independently and I think that we may be coming closer to having the right idea for that.”
Now, I must remind the readers that this is all speculative and Kerner does not want his answer to be taken as evidence that the fourth entry exists. But this poses a question, could Mighty Ducks 4 work? If so, should it be a remake, reboot or a sequel? Or is this franchise a relic of the past: a kids movie from a different time of Hollywood. Like every child of the 90s, I grew up watching the three Mighty Ducks films; I remember watching D2, my personal favorite, so much that I broke the VHS tape. I remember not being able to understand why Coach Bombay was unable to appear in the third entry; not comprehending that Emilio Estevez’s absence was simply the result of contractual obligations. Creator Steven Brill tells Times Magazine that “Emilio was directing [The War at Home] and made a deal where he would do whatever he did in our movie, three days’ work or four.”
But I also remember that The Mighty Ducks was a product of a gone era; a time where every other movie was directed at the pre-pubescent market. Yet, from re-watching some of the classics, I realized that 90s kids flicks are of a different breed: a success story of that decade, which has been ineffectively copied in the 2000s. Obviously, there have been a few attempts; for instance, Sky High, but none came close to that majestic period, where Disney and other studios could do no wrong. Again, I must remind the reader that I grew up in this time period, so this bold statement is more than a little bias. But look at what the period had to offer: Ace Ventura, The Mighty Ducks, Little Big League, Little Giants, Camp Nowhere, Blank Check, First Kid, Heavyweights, The Sandlot, Home Alone and the list goes on.
While not all of these hold up today, one cannot deny that the quantity of these live action films has gone down considerably. Let us ignore the quality of the 2000s pictures altogether because that could be entirely a different article: I am looking at you Robert Rodriguez. But what happened to the 2000s? Did the studios move onto more mature content? Did the ascending filmmakers refuse to touch that genre? Due to the talent involved, was the investment in these movies only worth a direct to DVD release? Or in the dawn of the big budget summer blockbusters, did the studios decide that low budget kids flicks were not worth it? Arguably, all of these viewpoints could answer this so-called drought.
Yet, if one was to look at the ridiculously bias IMDB ratings, then he or she has to wonder were these so-called childhood classics any good? Yes, Home Alone and The Sandlot were widely praised; but The Mighty Ducks franchise and The Little Giants were treated to less than stellar reviews. Does this reflect my taste in movies or the undesirable inability to let go of my past? I do not know, but recent revisits to some of the nostalgic classics lead me to the conclusion that these pictures had flaws: but they were still enjoyable and maintain a maturity that has been severely lacking in recent attempts. While one cannot deny that the 90s had its fair share of juvenile jokes, the films’ adult humor recognized that children are not bumbling idiots who need a consistent array of fart jokes. And Perhaps, that is why they worked; in a way, these movies treated us as adults, even while we were watching some ludicrous plot.
So before this divulges any further and becomes anymore of an unfocused rant about the sanctity of past kids flicks, lets bring this argument full circle. Children of the 90s had it good; we had the best movies, which seemed to come out every other week. But in the highly monetized world of modern Hollywood, could the Mighty Ducks trilogy work? I do not know. Studios have been putting more faith in big budget blockbusters and losing patience with the smaller, more personable films: in easier terms, it is about the big payday. In the end, one has to effectively look at the potential business of The Mighty Ducks franchise. While I do not doubt that there is an adult fanbase, modern kids are growing up with little to no recollection of the trilogy. So even though the budget of the fourth entry would be minuscule, I cannot see the studio wasting their time. And even if they go forward, it would probably be a direct to DVD feature like The Sandlot sequels.
Hypothetically, if they were to make a film, I would love for it to be a combination of a reboot and a sequel. A reboot, in the sense that the focus is a whole new group of kids, but some of the classic characters need to make an appearance. So in a way, the filmmakers will bridge the gap between the old and future fans. I would absolutely pay to see a fourth entry with a new cast of hooligans: and the name Coach Conway sounds pretty iconic. But again, this is just the lowly opinion of a kid who grew up in the greatest damn decade in the history of kids flicks. Unfortunately, my opinion means ‘jack shit;’ and even though countless twenty years olds are clamoring to go back to Minnesota, I find it highly unlikely that Mighty Ducks 4 will see the light of day. Well at least, in the way that fans like me want to see it, which is unfortunate.
Yet, being disappointed is inevitable in this imperfect industry. I just hope that kids movies start to pick up the slack; beside animated features, nothing has been worthwhile. But then again, if I grew up in the ‘A.D.D. generation’ of Superhero flicks, I do not think a low budget comedy would keep my attention.