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D3: The Mighty Ducks
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this comedy, the last of the popular Mighty Ducks franchise, is pretty predictable, but nevertheless offers basic-but-useful lessons about winning on and off the ice that tweens and teens may find relatable. There's little swearing and mild flirting, though the action on the rink is fairly rough-and-tumble. (Though it isn't pro-level bruising and bleeding.) And some bullying behavior is played for laughs, but the ones getting bullied ultimately triumph.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The final film in the Mighty Ducks trilogy has the team transferring to a posh board school, Eden Hall Academy, where their beloved coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) has helped them get scholarships after he accepts a can't-refuse job elsewhere. Adjusting to life at this new school isn't going well; many of the popular kids, especially members of the varsity hockey team, aren't exactly welcoming of the newcomers. And their new coach, Ted Orion (Jeffrey Nordling), is a drill sergeant. When the school's board grows tired of their not-so-winning streak, they're threatened with a loss of their scholarships. And tragedy strikes. But triumph is just another game, and a hockey swipe, away.
Is it any good?
The lessons served up in this reasonably entertaining comedy aren't new, especially in movies about team sports: Hard work matters. Overconfidence dooms. Winning isn't everything. Still, there's nothing wrong with being reminded of them, and in this respect, D3: THE MIGHTY DUCKS does its job fine and well. Cheesy as they may be, these lessons are actually useful; wise, too. Also, and this is important for a movie about hockey, the sport is palpably exciting when its on the screen.
It may have even been better if we'd seen more of it, because truth is, the rest is just OK. It's neither amazing nor boring, and it doesn't help that the story arc is predictable from the first slap of the puck: The Ducks ride high on their success. They fail and fall down a few notches. Just as it seems they can't get any lower, they're dealt a huge emotional blow. But an important figure from their recent past, and the requisite pep talk, hoists them back on their skates. D3: The Mighty Ducks doesn't have the thrill of the original, which tapped into that Bad News Bears magic of yesteryear. Still, it doesn't harm its legacy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes the Ducks a strong team: Is it their winning streak (because they don't always win)? Is it their team spirit?
What types of bullying did you notice in the movie? Did it seem realistic? Have you ever been bullied? Who can you talk to about bullying?
How does this movie compare to others featuring sports teams? Do they all follow a similar formula? Are there ones that don't? What makes movies of this genre compelling for audiences and irresistible to filmmakers?
- On DVD or streaming: September 3, 2002
- Cast: Emilio Estevez, Jeffrey Nordling, Joshua Jackson
- Director: Robert Lieberman
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some hockey rough-housing and mild language
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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