The Ducks are back and after winning the Minneapolis Pee-Wee hockey championship and the gold medal at the Jr. Goodwill Games, the team is… headed to high school? Yeah, this one is weird.
This film keeps up the long standing tradition that the third movie in trilogies really isn’t very good. Many of the stars of the previous two films return and they are playing the roles as best they can. In the first film, they tackled the tried and true plot of a team of plucky underdogs that have no chance getting it together and winning the whole thing. It’s been done before, but was a lot of fun. In the second film, the team is once again the plucky underdogs this time against a big foreign foe in an international competition. It’s the story of the 1980 United States Men’s Olympic Hockey Team. It’s a great story because it was true, and it was a lot of fun when the ducks adopted the storyline for the sequel, even if “Miracle” was better. But, this one’s plot doesn’t make sense.
Why would a team that just proved it is the best in the world have to fight to hold onto a Junior Varsity spot at a prestigious prep school? Wouldn’t the school be jumping through hoops to make the Ducks its Varsity squad? The challenges feel very contrived in this film compared to the previous two. The animosity between Charlie and his new coach makes sense given Charlie’s noted closeness to former Coach Gordon Bombay in the first two films, but they seem to push it too far. The storyline of the coach’s daughter being a paraplegic and him losing his NHL career because the Minnesota team left for Texas seems rather forced. This could’ve easily been explained by a new coach wanting to put his way of coaching in place and Charlie, who was the golden child under Bombay, not being able to handle the new style, at first. That’s the way they started it, but they pushed it too far. It feels like they were just trying to go bigger without recognizing that bigger isn’t always better, especially given the stakes of the film are a lot lower than its predecessor.
As a kid, I loved this franchise, but I never loved this movie. Watching it again as an adult, I’m not sure if it’s truly bad or just lazy. It might be better if the second and third films in the franchise were reversed. Working to maintain a spot at a high school after a pee-wee championship win makes more sense to me than it does after winning an international competition. Working to win an international competition after securing a spot at an elite prep school seems to work better. I might like this film better if the chronology were reversed, but I don’t like it right now. It’s an okay movie that fails compared to its predecessors. But, I’ll still watch it if I’m in the mood to watch all three.
Ranking: 2 stars out of 5
What do you think of “D3: The Mighty Ducks?”