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Author Topic: Darkly Dawns the Duck  (Read 2290 times)
Kooshmeister
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« on: March 14, 2007, 08:30:00 PM »

I already did a 'review' for this, of sorts, back when I first signed up for this board. And it ended up being one of only two posts I made at the time, and as a review it was pretty awful. So I figured I'd revisit it for the good people here on BadMovies.org to enjoy. It's technically a movie, I guess, in the sense that it's longer than your standard episode of your average television show.

And for those of you who dislike long recaps, steer clear of this one 'cause it's gonna be a doozy.

Name of the Movie: Darkly Dawns the Duck (1991)

The Characters:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Darkwing Duck - Our, uh, "hero." The self-proclaimed defender of the city of St. Canard, he's only in it for the attention from the press. He's a duck if his name wasn't any indication.
Gosalyn - Spunky (read: annoying) little pigtailed orphan. Has the bad luck of knowing the arming code to the Ram Rod, a big bad superweapon, without knowing it. Also a duck.
Launchpad McQuack - Clumsy pilot who is Darkwing's biggest (and only) fan. Ends up becoming Darkwing's faithful sidekick. Do I need to mention he's also a duck?
Taurus Bulba - Tim Curry! Finally a non-duck! Bulba's the villain, a big bull with a Russian accent who wants to rob the entire city, or something. Blown up.
Hammerhead - A goat, and Bulba's main henchman. He dresses and acts like a 1930s mobster, and uses his head for a blunt object.
Hoof and Mouth - Bulba's other two henchmen, a donkey and a ram, respectively. Mouth is voiced by Eddie Deezen.
Clovis - Marcia Wallace! Bulba's loyal secretary. A cow. And, oddly enough, a sexy one.
Tantalus - Bulba's pet condor.
Mrs. Cavanaugh - Marcia Wallace in a stunning dual role! Chicken-lady in charge of the orphanage. Seems to make an unhealthy habit out of allowing children to go off with strangers claiming to be grape jelly stains.
Warden Waddlesworth - Prison warden and total idiot. He's some kind of dog.

The Story:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm pretty sure that Darkwing Duck, both as a cartoon and a character, needs no introduction. Everyone who grew up in the early 90s ought to know him as a crime-fighting duck in a purple outfit who defended the city of St. Canard, and managed to be a colossal prick while doing it. But for those of you who didn't grow up with the Terror That Flaps in the Night, I'll do you the service of providing a little bit o' backstory. The series (and its main character) was created by a man named Tad Stones, and was originally going to be called Double-O Duck in referance to an episode of Duck Tales of the same name, and was originally set to star Launchpad McQuack, Scrooge's accident-prone pilot, as the title character. The episode itself involved Launchpad being mistaken for a secret agent and having to stop an evil organization called F.O.W.L. from destroying the world's economy. As a James Bond spoof it was adequete, and so someone at Disney decided they ought to do a spinoff series based on Double-O Duck's premise.

But Tad Stones disliked both the name 'Double-O Duck' and (apparently) the idea of Launchpad as the main character, so he created an entirely new character to fill the role and arranged for Disney to hold a contest to name him. I have no idea who won, but the winning name was 'Darkwing Duck', the show's current title. Launchpad meanwhile was to remain on board, but was demoted to a supporting role. On September 8th, 1991, a two-part pilot movie entitled Darkly Dawns the Duck was unleashed upon the world. It was an instant success and Darkwing Duck went on to become one of the Disney Afternoon's most popular shows. But my review today is going to focus exclusively on the pilot, specifically the uncut version. Y'see, in reruns, the two-parter was edited for time, but in 1993 (if the video box is any indication) they combined the two episodes into a 48-minute 'movie' and reinserted the cut footage, then released it on home video. It is this video which is to be the subject of my review today. The uncut version is so far only available on this VHS tape, since Disney in their infinite wisdom elected to include the edited version of the two-parter on the recent DVD. Bastards.

Although I loved Darkwing was much as the next kid growing up, looking at it through adult eyes I've noticed a lot of glaring problems with the plot. Now, admittedly, this is a children's show, and its sole purpose is to entertain them, but, nitpicker that I am, I just can't help myself. And if you have issues with someone ripping into a cartoon from his childhood then you're obviously in the wrong place. So, without further ado, on with the show!

The movie begins with a shot of the St. Canard skyline at night, and a voiceover from our title character introducing us to the world in which we're about to spend the next 48 minutes: "This is the city of St. Canard. Like any other major metropolis, it has its problems with the criminal element." Sums it up nicely. If nothing else, the movie starts off good, as we find Darkwing in the middle of pursuing a gang of generic criminals while the irritatingly catchy Darkwing Duck theme plays on the soundtrack. Precisely what this bunch did is never explained; we're just asked to accept that they're bad guys and therefore Darkwing is chasing 'em. At the beginning of the chase he's on his duck-shaped motorcycle with a sidecar, called 'the Ratcatcher.'

Darkwing ramps the Ratcatcher up into the air and comes down in the bed of a pickup truck carrying two of the crooks. The force of the impact is enough to launch the criminals right out of the cab, and they land in some nearby garbage cans, the driver still holding the steering wheel. truck continues to drive for some reason. Hmm, must've been on cruise control. Darkwing jumps atop the cab (which no longer has a hole in the roof) and produces his all-purpose gun which fires both clouds of concealing gas, and grappling hooks as we see here. He snags the back of another crook's motorcycle with a grappling hook and is yanked forwards and dragged along the pavement, as yet another criminal, a really overweight biker pig, tries to run him over. He removes a manhole cover as he's dragged past it, causing the biker pig's motorcycle to crash when the front tire hits the open sewer, sending him skidding on his butt.

In short order he disposes of the remaining two bikers (who are either identical twins or the animators were just lazy) by smacking them both upside the head using the manhole cover. One guy gets his entire face caved in; the other has his head flattened like a pancake. But the laws of Toon Physics ensure their survival (I'll have more to say about this in a minute). This entire chase scene, by the way, was among the scenes deleted from the episode(s) for reruns although for some reason the bit with him catapulting the two guys out of the truck is present in the opening montage of every episode. In the edited version, it cuts, awkwardly, from Darkwing's opening narration to him dropping the captured crooks off at the police station. And speak of the devil, that's exactly what he does next. All five of the criminals are tied up and riding in the sidecar portion of the Ratcatcher. After a harrowing ride he sends them all literally flying into the police station when he slams on the brakes. There's a single cop on duty at the front desk, and Darkwing, hopping on top of the pile of dazed felons, declares, "Another order of dastardly delinquents deposited on your doorstep, courtesy of Darkwing Duck!"

He stresses the fact that his name is two words, not three, and that both D's should be capitalized, while handing the bewildered-looking officer a glossy black and white photo of himself and his business card. Clearly, Darkwing is so amazingly full of himself he behaves more like a rock star than a superhero. "And now I must be off," he adds. "The scent of crime is in their air!" And yes, he does sniff the air here for dramatic effect. Emerging from the police station, he strikes a heroic pose, only to discover the streets are totally empty. "So where's the press?" he complains. "I thought this was the age of media glut!" Further lamenting that he spent all afternoon ironing his cape, Darkwing hops onto the Ratcatcher and speeds home.

Home in this case turns out to be the tower of the Audubon Bay Bridge, a suspension bridge bearing more than a slight resemblance to the Golden Gate Bridge. He gains access to the tower by driving the Ratcatcher up one of the bridge's thick steel cables. Once inside, he declares (complete with dramatic pause), "Another night cleansed of its criminal element, thanks to... Darkwiiiiiing Duck!" His hideout, by the way, can best be described as a budget-cut Batcave. The animators really didn't knock themselves out giving his hideout any interesting background stuff. He "can't wait to hit the hay," but decides to have some breakfast first (who eats breakfast before going to bed?). Darkwing doesn't just eat breakfast though; he gets a full workout along with it. "Stay sharp, stay fit, stay fed!" he reminds himself as he enters the kitchen. He activates an egg timer, triggering the various food-themed booby traps. These include, but are not limited to: A drawer that flies open and launches silverware and a plate, a machine gun that fires Froot Loops, a cannon that fires oranges (there's also one that fires grapefruits and eggs, but I digress), and, oddly enough, a fire pit in the floor.

Darkwing catches eggs in a frying pan, then when a section of the floor slides back, flames shoot out and he holds the pan over the flames to cook the eggs. He then proceeds to burn the absolute hell out of his hand because he's apparently never heard of a little invention called oven mitts. Finally, after catching and preparing all the food that's hurled at him, Darkwing seats himself at the table and checks the timer. "Yes, a new world's record!" he exclaims. Looking over the food, he adds, "Everything a champion needs for breakfast." And then, a horrible realization seems to come over him: "...except the milk!" The fridge is then catapulted up into the air and lands on Darkwing, squishing him.

And now it's time for my rant about the overtly toony nature of the physics in this world. This really annoys me, since it results in a very bizarre clashing of styles. In short, it's one part Batman: The Animated Series (before the fact) and one part Looney Tunes as far as the action is concerned. It's obvious that the writers wanted to have their cake and eat it too, by which I mean they wanted to have both as much physical comedy (the fridge getting dropped on Darkwing, Gosalyn's unrealistic stunts in the kitchen later on, etc.) as they could while at the same time place the characters in peril and have us fear for their safety, but mixing realistic violence in with flat-out cartoonishness just doesn't work. It all boils down to this: if Darkwing can survive having a fridge land on him, it makes their peril less believable. Especially jarring is the fact that Duck Tales, of which Darkwing Duck is a spinoff, was never this cartoony. At least, from what I recall. If my memory serves me, DuckTales actually did its best to stay within the realm of believability and had its characters and the situations they were in obey the laws of physics.

Moving on, of course Darkwing survives. When the fridge door falls open he's gone through the bottom and looks a little like an accordion, holding a pitcher of milk. "I always forget the milk," he groans. changes into his pajamas and heads up to bed. "So I make a mistake here and there," he says to the camera - Yes, he's one of those characters that likes to directly address the audience. Oddly, it's just not as funny as Ferris Bueller. Further expositing that every criminal in town is scared of him, Darkwing flops into bed. "I just wish I could get a shot at a really big-time criminal," he sighs.

And another animation blooper here is that before getting into bed, Darkwing is clearly still wearing his mask. But when we cut to a close-up of him settling in, the mask has vanished.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2007, 10:45:52 PM by Kooshmeister » Logged
Kooshmeister
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2007, 02:42:27 PM »

We cut to an office somewhere at an indisclosed location. Taurus Bulba, a huge bull in a business suit, is in the middle of a meeting with his gang, which consists of Hammerhead Hannigan, a gangsterish goat, 'Hoof', a donkey dressed like be belongs in a barbershop quartet, 'Mouth', a short ram with a goofy bowtie, and Clovis, his surprisingly attractive cow secretary. Like any self-respecting villain he's even got a pet, a big condor named Tantalus. It would appear that Hammerhead is questioning his plans to steal something called the "Ram Rod." Whatever it is, it's being brought into St. Canard that night by train, and Hammerhead wants to know why they "can't wait 'till the trains before we steal the Ram Rod!" Bulba snarls, with steam shooting out of his nostrils even, "Oh, you mean when the army takes control of the weapon, with its tanks and jeeps and hundreds of guards?!" Hammerhead admits he hadn't thought of that, prompting him to spin around to Hoof and Mouth and ask why they didn't think of it, either. They just stare stupidly and he knocks their heads together. Ha.

Bulba suddenly reaches over and grabs Hammerhead by the throat, yanking him to eye-level, and reminds him, "That's why I am the brain and you are the stooge!" "That's it, boss! I'm a stooge," gags Hammerhead, "just call me Curly!" Bulba continues that this is the first time the Ram Rod has been moved since the death of its inventor, one Professor Waddlemeyer, and that once the army's got it he'll never have another opportunity to steal it. Suddenly, an alarm of some kind goes off, and Clovis monotonously informs her boss, "Warden's coming." "That nuisance," groans Bulba. He concludes the meeting, warning Hammerhead, "Do not come back without the Ramrod!" before sending him and the other two goons away by dropping them through a trapdoor. The office begins to transform. A plush sofa is pulled into the wall through a suddenly appearing passageway. Tantalus picks up his perch and flies through the passage before a wooden bench slides into place where the couch was, the panel sliding back into position. A potted plant is sucked down a hole and immediately an empty pot rises up to take its place. We cut to Bulba, now wearing a prison uniform, calmly smoothing the sleeves out. Clovis, holding his business suit on a hanger, stands beside the desk as it descends down beneath the floor, and then a bunk bed is swung into place over the hole by a revolving wall.

As a grand finale, curtains part to reveal bars. Yes, Taurus Bulba is in jail. I'll buy that Bulba can smuggle his henchmen in for secret meetings, and heck, the idea of a super-villain staying in jail by choice to avoid being blamed for the crimes he has committed is actually a rather good one. But what I don't buy is that he's somehow rigged his prison cell to transform into a plush office at the push of a button. And it only gets worse, but that can wait. The warden's got to be the single stupidest person alive not to have noticed any of this. Speaking of whom, he appears outside of Bulba's cell at this point, a chubby canine of some sort in a suit. Although his name is never given here, he appears in a few later episodes of the series, where he's identified as 'Warden Waddlesworth.' Waddlesworth asks Bulba how he's enjoying his stay in prison. "It's peaceful," admits Bulba, now kicking back on the bunk bed. "No one bothers me. Actually, it suits my business needs perfectly." Waddlesworth gives him a weird look, but otherwise doesn't seem to suspect that anything is amiss.

That evening, Darkwing Darkwing Duck is, in his own words, "scanning the horizon for any evidence of wrongdoing," that being that he's in a precariously perched armchair atop the tower of the Audubon Bay Bridge with a pair of binoculars. He continues to talk to himself, something he seems to enjoy, as Tantalus flies overhead carrying what looks like a trunk. "I know birds travel south, but this is the first one I've seen with luggage," he observes, apparently ignoring the fact that he too is a bird. "This bit of feathery intrigue is best investigated by..." Wait for it. "...Darkwiiiiiiiiing Duck!" Leaping down from the chair, Darkwing jumps onto the Ratcatcher and zooms out of the tower down the bridge cable, following Tantalus through the city as the large bird flies overhead. He's so preoccupied thus that he almost doesn't notice a huge truck speeding towards him. The other vehicle has to swerve to avoid him. After getting yelled at by the truck driver (and rightly so in my opinion!) Darkwing sighs in relief and continues on his way as he follows Tantalus out of the city and into the countryside.

At the train tracks, Taurus Bulba's henchmen put into motion their plan to board the oncoming train. How they accomplish this is dubious in the extreme - first they dig a tunnel underneath the tracks, and then when the train passes over them Hammerhead attaches a grappling hook to the underside, pulling him out of the hole with Mouth holding his ankles, and Hoof holding Mouth's. This results in the three of them getting dragged along the tracks in a rather painful-looking fashion. The Ram Rod is in the next-to-last train car, and guarding it is a grand total of two soldiers. They hear sawing sounds and look down to see a big saw cutting a circular hole around their feet (!!!). They look at one another, and then drop out of side. A moment later, we see them sitting on the tracks in their underwear, bound and gagged. On the train, Hoof and Mouth are now wearing the soldier's uniforms and holding their machine guns, while Mouth gushes, "Hey Hammerhead, ain't we cute in our soldier suits?"

Ignoring him, Hammerhead uses his horns like a tack hammer to pry off the huge deadbolt on the door of the boxcar, and peeking inside gets a look at the Ram Rod. As it turns out, the Ram Rod seems to be some kind of enormous laser gun, resembling an outsized version of one of those cheap plastic space guns sold in drug stores across America, crossed with an exotic dildo. Its appearance and name combine to make for several unfortunate off-color jokes, which I will avoid doing. Hammerhead wonders aloud whether the "pea-shooter" is worth all the trouble, then climbs onto the roof and scans the skies for Tantalus. The condor arrives and drops the trunk he was carrying right on top of Hammerhead, and we see that Tantalus is wearing a little TV monitor on a collar around his neck, which displays Taurus Bulba's visage. Bulba demands to know if the Ram Rod is secure. "Like a baby, boss," Hammerhead assures him. Told to proceed, Hammerhead fiddles with the trunk for a minute until it transforms, little "legs" gripping the roof of the boxcar and sprouting a pair of wings and jet thrusters. "Excellent! Excellent!" cackles Bulba in his best super-villain laugh.

Meanwhile, Darkwing is catching up to the train, driving the Ratcatcher on the tracks. It is a bumpy ride, and Darkwing's voice wavers and he shakes uncontrollably as he reaches out and grabs the back railing of the caboose. The poor hero is still shaking as he climbs aboard the train, noting, "I gotta see about getting new shocks!" Entering the caboose, he passes a conductor busy sorting mail, who warns him, "You can't go in there! That's Top Secret!" when Darkwing proceeds to the door leading into the adjoining car. "No worries," Darkwing assures him. "Just checking out an unauthorized bird-boarding." He opens the door, then quickly slams it as he sees the ram and donkey guys outside, recognizing them even in their stolen uniforms. "It's Hoof and Mouth! They work for Taurus Bulba. Bulba's as big as they come! This is it. My shot at big-time crime busting! What Darkwing Duck was born for!" Hoof and Mouth seem to be enjoying their "soldier suits" a bit too much, as they begin twirling their stolen rifles around and showing off. Their fun is interrupted as Darkwing's disembodied voice emanates from nowhere and utters, for the first time, the first of many variations of his classic entrance line: "I am the terror that flaps in the night! I am the switch that derails your train!"

Darkwing appears before the two in a puff of purple smoke, standing balanced on the railing, cape spread wide like he thinks he's Batman or something. But it would appear as though his flashy entrance was a little too successful, as before he can say anything they point their machine guns at him and open fire, filling the screen with smoke. When it clears, Darkwing is nowhere to be seen. Mouth, who appears to have some kind of weird speech impediment that makes him say certain things more than once, blabbers, "Do you think he's dead? I think he's dead. Do you think he's dead? He must be dead!" I guess they assume he fell off the train... but that's crediting them with too much intelligence. More likely, they were dumb enough to believe their gunfire totally obliterated him. Neither of them see Darkwing rising up behind them. Before they can react he bangs them both over their heads with his fists, making them drop their guns. "Sorry, I'm fine! But you two are taking a turn for the worse!" he declares. The train conductor we saw a minute ago, getting the wrong idea from seeing Darkwing attack two guys in soldiers' uniforms, gets a camera and begins snapping pictures of the hero so that the police can have "more than a description!" Darkwing in turn also gets the wrong impression, grabbing the confused conductor and putting him a good position before jumping atop the two defeated thugs and striking a variety of heroic poses while the conductor snaps pictures. "How's this? It's not to pretentious, I hope.

He then sends the conductor on his way; rather, the conductor retreats back into the caboose and closes the door. Darkwing calls after him with instructions to get the photos to "all the major dailies," adding, "Oh, and I'd like a set too!" Suddenly, Hammerhead appears (don't ask me where he was during all this). "Yeah? Well, paste this in your scrapbook!" he snarls, headbutting him into the door of the caboose. The duck is flattened, and waddles around blindly for a bit as nothing more than a squished hat with feet sticking out of it. He "snaps" back to his normal size and shape and collapses onto his butt, as Hammerhead pulls off the chain-doohickey connecting the train cars, calling over to Darkwing, "You're out of your league, duck! Better run along to your costume party!" The train speeds away, leaving the detached caboose behind. Citing that they can't get rid of him that easily, Darkwing pulls out his gas gun and fires a grappling cable, which hooks onto the back of the retreating boxcar. Suddenly the jet engines on the device attached to the roof of the Ram Rod's boxcar ignite. Tantalus, perched on one of the engines, squawks in surprise and takes to the air. Darkwing takes aim and fires a grappling line, which attaches to the railing of the car. He turns and grins at the camera, only to feel a strong tug and then be yanked completely off his feet as the boxcar becomes airborne. It soars into the air, pulling a screaming Darkwing along behind it.

Meanwhile Taurus Bulba is still observing events back at the prison. He stares at Darkwing, confused, wondering who this "clown" is, and finally orders Tantalus to "take care of him." Tantalus does by swooping down and biting the cable with his beak, causing Darkwing to, well, fall.
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Kooshmeister
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2007, 01:54:28 AM »

As fate would have it, Darkwing's fall is miraculously broken as he crashes through the roof of a ramshackle airplane hangar, leaving a Darkwing-shaped hole in the floor. Whoops, guess that didn't break his fall, after all. "Bruised, battered, but never defeated, Darkwing Duck springs back to action!" he wearily declares. Crawling out of the hole and snapping his twisted back into shape again, he notes, "Clever of me to use my spine to break my fall like that!" Suddenly he's attacked from offscreen by by a big, red-haired duck in a pilot's uniform and old-fashioned aviator's cap, who has apparently mistaken him for a burglar. "Nobody but nobody messes with the airplanes in my hangar," he says, stuffing Darkwing into a tire. Yes, it looks quite painful. "Or my name isn't Launchpad McQuack!" Right after he says this, he walks into the Darkwing-shaped hole in the floor. Thud. Darkwing tries to explain that he's not a thief, and when Launchpad finally helps him free himself from the tire and gets a better look at him, he instantly recognizes him. "Darkwing Duck!" he exclaims. "You know me?" Darkwing asks, puzzled. "Know you? I'm your biggest fan!" Launchpad replies.

"A fan? Really?" gushes Darkwing, then he assumes a more heroic pose and says in a deeper voice, "I mean, uh, really?" (I think this bit is actually funny.) Launchpad answers in the affirmative, then asks Darkwing what he's doing in his hangar. Darkwing is about to answer when he spots an old biplane sitting behind Launchpad. "Hey, you're a pilot!" he exclaims, citing that they can use the plane to catch the up to the bad guys. Launchpad says he's got a better plane in the next hangar over (which is obviously going to become important later on), but Darkwing says, "No time! We have evildoers to thaaa-wart!" "But in the next hangar, I got this--" "No, fan!" Darkwing cuts him off, adding that if he just comes along he'll give him an autograph. Launchpad jumps into the pilot's seat in seconds. "I'm here for ya, DW!" he says. "That's Darkwing," the hero corrects him, and thus begins a legendary partnership, I guess. And so Launchpad takes off... backwards! I don't know if it's possible to fly a biplane backwards, but there you go.

During the ride, Launchpad expresses his desire to be Darkwing's sidekick, adding that he has "a whole scrapbook" of his newspaper clippings. "Of course, it's not a very big scrapbook," he admits. "Wouldn't it be easier to fly if we were facing the other way?" an understandably nervous Darkwing points out. "Oh, yeah," replies the pilot, "I, uh, sometimes have trouble with that." Turning the plane around and facing the right way, they fly on and soon catch up to the flying boxcar, with Tantalus flapping along behind it. On Darkwing's instruction, Launchpad dives down, almost hitting Tantalus and startling Taurus Bulba, who is still observing things via the two-way (I think) monitor on the condor's collar. Launchpad brings the biplane to a bone-shattering halt above the boxcar. "Gosh, thanks," groans Darkwing, dizzy from the sudden stop. "Hey, I aim to please!" the pilot says with pride. "It's that costumed meddler again!" Bulba says to Tantalus. "Get rid of him!" Tantalus then swoops down and plucks Darkwing out of the plane while the hero is distracted trying to figure out how to make the boxcar turn around. "All right, beak-face, this is getting monotonous!" he says. And then Tantalus drops him. "Hey, you don't understand!" yells Darkwing as he plummets towards earth. "I like monotony!"

Luckily for Darkwing though, Launchpad manages to swoop down so that his idol can grab the plane’s landing gear. Seeing this, Tantalus angrily gives chase, determined to make the hero go splat. The following chase demands that we suspend disbelief and believe a bird can keep pace with an airplane. “Uh-oh. Looks like birdy’s coming back for seconds,” notes Launchpad. “Don’t worry, I’ll shake him, DW!” “That’s Darkwiiiiiiing!” yells the masked mallard as the biplane zips back and forth through the skies, the unusually fast condor in hot pursuit. Doing his best to evade Tantalus, Launchpad flies low through trees and at one point even straight through somebody's house. Following them, Tantalus emerges from the structure covered with a sheet. Darkwing on the other hand ended up with a pink bra on, which he quickly removes and tosses away with a sheepish look on his face. What is up with crossdressing jokes in children's programming anyway?

Ultimately, the biplane spirals out of control and crashes noisily at the base of a telephone pole. Satisfied, Tantalus turns and leaves. Both Darkwing and Launchpad survived the crash though, naturally enough, somehow ending up actually clinging to the telephone pole. "They got away," Darkwing whines. "Can't argue that point, DW," says Launchpad, then asks what they do next. "We? We do nothing!" snarls the superhero as he climbs down from the pole. "I work alone!" "But I could be your sidekick!" suggests Launchpad. Darkwing tells him that only singing cowboys have sidekicks and repeats that he works alone. He must not be up on his comic book reading, 'cause there's been tons of superheroes throughout the ages who've had sidekicks. Now, useful sidekicks is another matter entirely. Following him, Launchpad ends up clinging to Darkwing's leg, begging, "Oh, please, please, please, please, pleaaaase!" Darkwing manages to shake him off and tells him, "Let me make this clear for you: I never want to see you again; ever!" He then turns and stomps off down the street, presumably back to wherever it was he left the Ratcatcher. "Okay, uh, so do you want my phone number?" Launchpad calls after him. Not surprisingly, Darkwing simply grumbles and walks off, leaving him there.

Speaking of the Ratcatcher, this is the second time he's just abandoned it in the middle of a chase and yet is able to remember exactly where he left it. A later episode in the series establishes that he can summon the motorcycle via remote control or something, but it'd have been less annoying if this adventure would explain this properly.

Back at the prison, Taurus Bulba is wheeling a cart of laundry to the prison laundromat, and we can see that Hammerhead, Hoof, and Mouth are hiding inside. In fact, the laundromat is where the Ram Rod is now stashed, hidden behind nothing but a rack of cleaned clothes. How in the heck did they get that huge thing into the prison? Security in this joint must be nonexistent. Warden Waddlesworth stops in long enough to harrass Bulba, saying, "Doing an honest day's work must be a new experience for you, Bulba. Maybe you'll get some time off for good behavior... in 99 years or so!" Giggling like an idiot, he leaves the room without noticing the gigantic weapon of mass destruction poorly hidden behind the clothes rack. The thugs emerge from the cart after he's gone, with Hammerhead saying how much he'd love to pound on the good Warden. "Ignore him," Bulba soothes, "Such petty annoyances will disappear once I use the Ram Rod!" On cue, Hoof and Mouth move aside the clothing rack to reveal the Ram Rod is all its glory. "Oh jeepers, it's beautiful," gasps Mouth.

Hammerhead suggests they "fire it up and hit a few banks," but Bulba tells him it's useless without a special arming code. Wouldn't they (the henchmen, I mean) already have been aware of this? Guess not. I guess like any self-respecting cartoon villain, Bulba's using his gang members to lay down some heavy exposition. Apparently, an earlier attempt to steal the Ram Rod resulted in the accidental death of Professor Waddlemeyer before Bulba could learn the code. It's hinted at rather strongly that Hoof and Mouth did the deed, but the subject never comes up again. Bulba's got a backup plan, though. "Go to the St. Canard Orphanage and bring me his granddaughter," he tells them. Since she was "practically raised in his lab," there's a chance she knows the code. Bulba's taking an awfully big gamble here to say the least. He then gives Hammerhead a photo to help identify the girl - the photo is a picture of Professor Waddlemeyer standing in front of what appears to be the control panel for the Ram Rod, with a little redheaded girl with pigtails in his arms. Bulba also reveals his intentions that, after they get the code, the girl will "have an accident" like her grandfather, only, like, this time on purpose. Looks like we'll have some clichéd Child Endangerment soon.

At the orphanage, Hammerhead shows the woman in charge, Mrs. Cavanaugh, the photo, claiming that he's an old friend of the Professor's and furthermore, keeps saying, "That's me in the background there!" and pointing to a purple smudge in the photo. Studying the picture, Mrs. Cavanaugh says, "Actually, it looks kind of like of like a grape jelly stain." Hammerhead quickly snatches the picture back and asks where "the little cupcake" is. Mrs. Cavanaugh says she's is outside playing roller hockey, and no sooner are those words out of her mouth than a hockey puck flies through the (open) window. She ducks, and the pick smacks Hammerhead in the face. Ouch. He goes cross-eyed and little Tantaluses begin flying around his head, and then he falls down. Gosalyn Waddlemeyer skates in on a pair of rollerblades, wielding a hockey stick, a determined look on her face. She shoots across Mrs. Cavanaugh's desk and scatters paperwork everywhere. With her red pigtails she is clearly the girl from the photo. She "plays it where it lays," using her hockey stick to smack the puck off Hammerhead's nose and back out the window, where it hits the goalie of the opposing team in the stomach and knocks him down.

I can't even begin to express how annoying I find this character. While Gosalyn is far from the worst or most pointless character in the series, she is by far the most annoying. Regardless of the fact she's the clichéd Spunky Kid Who Darkwing Has to Save, she didn't have to be. Done the right way Gosalyn could've been a genuinely adorable little child for whose safety we would be afraid. Step 1 would be finding somebody other than Christine Cavanaugh to do her voice; I just find her really aggravating as a voice actress.

She's about to leave when Mrs. Cavanaugh grabs her and makes her sit down in a chair. Thinking she's in trouble, Gosalyn rapidly fires off, "I don't know anything about a pig and I was nowhere near the boys' bathroom at the time!" Mrs. Cavanaugh, genuinely puzzled, asks what she's talking about. Gosalyn recovers with, "Pig? I mean BIG! As in how BIG of you to take such an interest in me. How may I help you?" Mrs. Cavanaugh isn't buying it though. "We'll talk later," she tells Gosalyn before introducing her to Hammerhead, or, as she calls him, Mr. Hannigan. "You knew Grampa?" Gosalyn asks, simultaneously surprised and happy. "Uh, sure!" Hammerhead says, and hands her the photo, again stating "That's me in the background!" "Actually, it looks like a grape jelly stain," Gosalyn observes (Thankfully this is the final time this joke is used). Grabbing the photo back from her, Hammerhead suggests they go for a walk and "swap stories about your Granddad." Gosalyn asks if she can go with "Mr. Hannigan." Mrs. Cavanaugh says it would be all right, as long as they don't go too far from the orphanage. "Oh, yeah! Great!" Gosalyn tackles Hammerhead to the floor in a big hug. After they're gone, Mrs. Cavanaugh asks her assistant, "Eugene, have you heard anything about a pig in the bathroom?" I don't know about the bathroom, but Darkwing sure busted one earlier who was riding a motorcycle.

Gosalyn and Hammerhead exit the orphanage through the front doors and begin a leisurely stroll down the sidewalk. As they walk, Gosalyn fills Hammerhead in on her life story: "After mom and dad died, Grampa was the only family I had in the whole world. But since he's been gone, I've made lots of friends here, so it's not so bad. Until adoption day . . . " It would seem as though most prospective parents don't want to adopt a child who is such a bundle of energy - I.e., a really annoying, angsty little brat. "I'm not a problem child," Gosalyn assures Hammerhead. "Grampa said I just have a lot of spirit. He said when you're full of spirit, everyone else looks empty. Someday I'll meet somebody who understands that. Then I'll be adopted." Hammerhead gets all teary-eyed and blows his nose into a handkerchief. I know it's supposed to just be funny, but Hammerhead, already shown as a bad liar and an even worse actor, would be the last person capable of making himself cry on cue. So was he actually moved by her speech? Does he really feel guilty about working for the guy who killed her grandfather? Who knows.

Gosalyn becomes uneasy at the fact that they're a little further away from the orphanage grounds for comfort. "I thought we'd go for a little ride," Hammerhead tells her with an evil grin, suddenly his old self again as Hoof and Mouth jump out of a parked van by the curb that wasn't there three seconds ago. Gosalyn runs, but Hoof blocks her path, and the gang surrounds her!
« Last Edit: March 18, 2007, 01:58:30 AM by Kooshmeister » Logged
Kooshmeister
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Must have caffeine...


« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2007, 03:51:42 PM »

As Bulba's gang surrounds Gosalyn, Hammerhead tells her, "Take it easy, kid. Taurus Bulba just wants to have a little talk with ya." Like she'd know who that is. Gosalyn's response is to tell Hammerhead to give him a message from her, then she swings her rollerblades (which she'd been carrying by the laces slung over her shoulder) and clocks Hammerhead in the chin. He grins stupidly, then all his teeth fall out and he collapses. Hoof makes a grab for her, and she smacks him with the rollerblades too, knocking him flat on his back. She runs for the street, while Mouth.... just sort of falls on his face. I think he was supposed to be diving for her and missing, but they didn't make this clear. At this point, Darkwing suddenly (and I mean suddenly) shows up on the Ratcatcher and snatches Gosalyn right off the pavement. How he was able to arrive just at the right moment is rather lamely explained in a bit. "Never fear, little miss! Darkwing Duck has you now!" he assures her. (And animation bloopers ahoy! The shot of Darkwing grabbing Gosalyn shows him not only wearing a helmet instead of his fedora, but also depicts the Ratcatcher without its sidecar.)

Gosalyn promptly socks him in the gut and pulls his fedora down over his eyes, making it difficult to see where he's going, and the Ratcatcher veers into oncoming traffic. The ensuing chase sequence is not the least bit exciting, and very poorly plotted out and animated. It's definitely the low point of the cartoon. After narrowly avoiding colliding with oncoming cars, Darkwing and Gosalyn have a new problem: Bulba's gang are behind them now in their van. They're also shooting at them, which makes no sense because Bulba needs Gosalyn alive. This is enough to convince Gosalyn that Darkwing isn't one of the bad guys after all. "I take it you're convinced now? Stay down! I have a little surprise for them!" The Ratcatcher suddenly emits an oil slick just as they turn a corner; trying to follow them, the gang's van hits the oil and goes spinning out of control.

The oil slick feature of the Ratcatcher impresses Gosalyn. "Keen gear!" she says. "What does this button do?" she asks, pointing to a red button on the handlebar. "Don't touch that!" howls Darkwing. "Why not?" asks Gosalyn... and she presses it anyway, causing the ejector seat of the motorcycle to catapult Darkwing into the sky. Aw, isn't that horrible little child just adorable for endangering the life of our hero (who is admittedly an egotistical a***ole)? Right about this time we see that Launchpad is peddling through the city on a bicycle. "I'll show him! Every hero needs a sidekick," he says. "But how am I gonna find DW?" At that very moment, the airborne superhero goes sailing over Launchpad's head, screaming. Somehow or another the Ratcatcher actually ends up ahead of the flying Darkwing, so that he lands safely in the seat again (see what I mean about being poorly plotted out?).

And somehow, Launchpad's bike is able to keep up with the Ratcatcher. He must have some damn powerful legs. "Hang on, DW!" he calls after him. "What's the rush?" He gets his answer as the bad guys' van suddenly appears and rejoins the pursuit, the gang firing their guns in every direction wildly for no reason. Darkwing is intent on getting Gosalyn to the police station. "The orphanage isn't safe," he tells her. "But you'll be okay at the police station!" Alas, as the Ratcatcher nears the police station, it would seem as though the police have set up a barricade using their patrol cars. "He's attacking!" declares one officer. The dozen or so assembled cops open fire on the oncoming Ratcatcher, and Darkwing is forced to make a major U-turn to avoid the hail of bullets. "Oh, yeah, I feel real safe now," mutters Gosalyn. Further demonstrating that the Ratcatcher is either really slow or that, as I said, he's got some damn strong legs, Launchpad peddles up alongside Darkwing and Gosalyn (backwards, no less!). "Wh--what did you do to make those guys so mad?" he inquires. "I didn't do anything!" protests Darkwing.

But as they pass a newsstand, Gosalyn reaches out and grabs an issue of the day's newspaper. "How about robbing a train?" she suggests. "I didn't rob a--," begins Darkwing as he snatches the paper from her, but stops when he sees the dramatic photo of him fighting Hoof and Mouth in their stolen soldier's uniforms. Ugh. There's so many problems with the whole 'Darkwing is Framed' subplot.

For starters, let's examine the newspaper itself - The photo showing him fighting with Hoof and Mouth couldn't have been taken, as the train conductor didn't start snapping pictures until both of the goons were down.

Next, there's the whole problem with Hoof and Mouth dressed up as soldiers, namely that, if Darkwing recognizes them as Taurus Bulba's henchmen even in their stolen uniforms, shouldn't the police also recognize two such notorious criminals?

And what about the original owners of said uniforms? They make it a point to show that Bulba's gang don't kill the soldiers, but merely steal their clothes and kick them off the train. Therefore, they're alive and should've given their testimony, which is that they were attacked by farm animal goons, not some duck with a flair for the dramatic.

Hell, if the Ram Rod was originally military property why isn't the army involved in any of this?! Like I said, this whole portion of the story is its weakest, because the writers obviously thought none of this through.

Back to the chase, before my head explodes. Darkwing admits that the picture isn't bad, asking Gosalyn, "Uh, you don't think it looks pretentious, do you?" Naw, I'd say it looks faked. Suddenly they find themselves headed right towards the bad guys' oncoming van, with Hammerhead firing on them with a missile launcher (!!!). Um, okay. Right. Darkwing avoids the missiles, zooming past the van, which quickly spins around to resume pursuit as a bunch of police cars speed onto the scene. Wisely, the thugs drop out of the chase here and simply follow the police. The chase soon leads to the seaside district of the city.

"Drastic times call for drastic action!" declares Darkwing as the Ratcatcher drives out onto a pier. "How are you at holding your breath?" he asks Gosalyn. Without waiting for her to answer, he drives the motorcycle right off the dock despite Launchpad's cry of, "Don't do it, DW! It's a dead end!" Unable to stop himself, Launchpad flies off the dock and splashes into the water after the Ratcatcher. The pursuing police cars screech to a halt to avoid plunging into the water, while Bulba's gang also halts their own vehicle, a good distance back from the cops.

Popping up from the water, Launchpad says, "Nice trick, DW! That's one way to lose those bad guys!" When he doesn't receive an answer, he suddenly realizes he's alone. "DW? Uh, little girl? Anybody...?" Back in the van, Hammerhead moans that Bulba isn't going to be happy that they lost Gosalyn. Mouth suddenly begins having some sort of a panic attack, shrieking "We're all gonna die! We're all gonna die!" hysterically until Hammerhead pounds him on the head.

As it turns out though, Darkwing and Gosalyn are alive and have, uh, somehow made it to the Audubon Bay Bridge. What the hell? Did he drive the Ratcatcher on the ocean floor?! Does it turn into a submarine? Ugh. Anyway, he, Gosalyn and the motorcycle are next seen on an elevator of some sort taking them up to Darkwing's hideout in the tower. "Wow," exclaims Gosalyn, "a real police chase with bullets, crooks, and everything!" When Gosalyn inquires whether all of Darkwing's days are as exciting as this one, he replies, "No, because I'm usually sleeping. But when I learned that Professor Waddlemeyer had raised a granddaughter, I knew I had to get to you before Taurus Bulba!" When and how did he get this information? How did he even know what Bulba's gang stole? He didn't see the newspaper article about the train robbery until a few minutes ago, so how he could possibly know of the existence of the Ram Rod or its inventor?

Having heard that name twice in one day, Gosalyn feels inclined to ask just who this Taurus Bulba guy is. Darkwing sums him up: "A deviously clever criminal mastermind, who, I'm convinced, is still operating his gangs from inside prison." "Wow, just like in the comics!" gushes Gosalyn. "I bet you guys are eternal enemies, right?" Chuckling modestly while pulling fish out of his clothes and wringing his fedora dry, Darkwing says he isn't even sure if Bulba knows that he exists. "But he soon will. Mark my words!"

They soon arrive inside Darkwing's abode. "Keen gear!" says Gosalyn, and even though it's only her second time saying this expression, I'm already sick of it. "What a hideout!" "Oh yes, it's just a little shack I like to call home," Darkwing says, attempting to look cool or whatever by tossing his fedora onto a nearby hatrack. He fails miserably, as the still soaking-wet hat plops into the wall instead. "Speaking of which, we have to find you a safe place to stay." He suddenly notices that she isn't there, then spots her on an upper level. "Why can't I just stay here?" she asks. "We make a great team!" Darkwing starts the whole "I work alone!" business again, telling Gosalyn she'd just be in the way. He doesn't notice her messing with a control console of some sort until it's too late. She pulls a random lever, causing a radar dish-shaped laser to turn towards Darkwing and fire red bolts of energy into him, cartoonishly electrocuting him. "See?" he croaks afterwards. "Little things like that... tend to... cramp... my style... ack." I don't care if she is an orphan, this little child is a brat.

Darkwing goes to over to a desk and starts digging through piles of paperwork and such, looking for his phonebook so he can find a hotel for Gosalyn. "Maybe the animal shelter has an opening," he mumbles. "Well, I suppose I could leave," says Gosalyn, "but I might let it slip where a certain masked avenger hangs out." See? The little twerp is taking to blackmail already! "You wouldn't!" gasps Darkwing. "Hey, I'm a kid. I'm supposed to be irresponsible!" she tells him. Darkwing growls and looks like he's so mad he's gonna have a brain aneurysm, but then he calms down. "Like I said, it's much too dangerous out there!" he finally says, falling for her reverse psychology trap. "I'd better keep you close." She tackles him and gives him a big hug. "Thanks, Darkwing!" "Yeah, right," he grumbles.

Back at Taurus Bulba's office/prison cell, we find Hammerhead down on his knees, whining "It wasn't our fault! Oh, it wasn't our fault!" Bulba reaches down and seizes him by the snout, picking him up, and Hammerhead immediately switches tactics. "It was their fault! It was their fault!" he squeals, pointing to a cowering Hoof and Mouth in the corner, and Bulba finally drops him. "That costumed clown is too concerned about his image to kill a little girl," he says. "He has her hidden somewhere. We draw him out, and we'll have her!" He turns to Clovis (his secretary if you'll remember), who is now wearing an aviator's cap and flight goggles. "Clovis, if the Ram Rod is secured, I think it's time we said good-bye to the Warden." "Right away, Taurus Bulba," Clovis monotonously replies, as a control panel pops up from the floor and she pulls a lever on it.

Outside in the prison courtyard, Warden Waddlesworth is talking to a guard. He checks his pocketwatch. "Oh, I've got to run," he says, "it's time for my afternoon gloat over Taurus Bulba!" Suddenly the ground beneath their feet begins to shake. Waddlesworth falls on his butt. Suddenly guards leap from their watchtower as it crumbles. Prisoners run out of the rapidly distintegrating main building, which them explodes revealing a gigantic airship inside of it, shaped like a bull's head complete with horns, and it rises up into the air as Waddlesworth and the guard he was talking to stare up at it openmouthed. Okay, I'm not even touching that one. ...... Okay, fine, I will. It's not bad enough that Bulba is somehow able to have a prison cell that can transform into an office at the push of a button, but he's also got a gigantic airship (shaped like a bull's head!) hidden beneath the prison itself for a quick and easy escape.

"Huh, guess he's been making more than license plates," the guard with Waddlesworth observes drly. Ha. Soon the Giant Flying Bull's Head of Doom (as I shall call Bulba's airship from now on) is high in the clouds. "It's a shame to lose a hideout as perfect as a prison, but all things must come to an end," Bulba muses, making me even angrier that they're ruining this really cool villain with such a stupid escape plan. Couldn't they have just had Clovis arrive with the airship and spring her boss? Or better yet, not have Bulba be in prison at all? Argh!

He instructs Clovis to take them downtown. "It's time I met this Darkwing Duck!" he says, turning to the camera and the screen fades to black except for his eyes. The airship then turns and zooms away into the clouds. This is the end of Part 1 of the pilot and originally it said "To Be Continued," but not so here.

To sum up my thoughts on Part 1:

-Darkwing is a jerk, but I think that's the whole point so I can tolerate him.
-Taurus Bulba is is, thus far, the sole redeeming quality of this thing. He's a cool villain despite how little he actually does.
-The animation is terrible in most places.
-Gosalyn is an annoying little brat. Unlike Darkwing, I think we were supposed to find her cute, but it doesn't work for me at all.
-The subplot about Darkwing being framed is lame and poorly thought out.
-Bulba's prison break is even lamer.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2007, 04:06:02 PM by Kooshmeister » Logged
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Must have caffeine...


« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2007, 04:38:43 AM »

Because this thing is turning out to be way, way too long of a recap for a mere 48-minute video, I've decided I shall recap the second half in a separate thread at a later date. Until then, if anyone's got any comments about the first part please post them here.
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