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Darkwing Duck DVD Volume One Review
About as Constant as The First Volume of Episodes In This Set....
Time for another DVD review from your friendly neighborhood rant man himself. This time; it's Darkwing Duck's turn to be put under the microscope as a DVD set rather than as a television show. TaleSpin Volume 1 DVD set review was a very good set despite the artwork errors, a few spelling mistakes, The light and dark changing that happened to the film of Plunder and Lightning and a lack of extras. The TaleSpin episode quality was what made the set good enough for the money. Darkwing Duck sadly doesn't have that blessing to go along with it as the episode quality is more hit or miss. So how did the DVD set as a whole do? Let's find out...
The DVD Box
Like the TaleSpin DVD box; it comes in a sleeve box of cardboard which has Darkwing Duck in white letters (Disney written in red letters on the top), Darkwing Duck in his usual fist cape grab pose which I still say makes him look life a goof and the usual symbols for Disney DVD and the 3 disc set Volume 1 box (which includes the pilot and the first 25 episodes). The front looks good for the most part; although I could do without seeing Darkwing Duck being super imposed like that. A full body look picture would have been better. The side looks similar to the TaleSpin DVD Volume 1 set; except that it is purple, it has the same colors used for the Darkwing Duck, Disney printing, the volume 1 3-disc set and Episodes 1-27 is higher than the TaleSpin one and all is well above the picture of Darkwing Duck on it. I like the TaleSpin side better personally; but it's still pretty good. The back of the box has a smaller version of the logo's of Darkwing Duck and Disney on the top left, the UPC code is on the right.
Below it are three pieces of artwork which look pretty good for the most part; but it looks inconsistant in art style. It goes from Television style in one to VHS artwork in the next. It should be noted that most of the artwork is from the VHS set. Below the artwork pictures is the usual summary of the show which is called fine feathered fun fulled with adventure and laughs. They are 65% right on that though as you will see in the actual episode thoughts later on. The usual stuff on specs, information and ratings are there on the box with the total episode time being 613 minutes. Nothing odd; although the goofy pose of Darkwing Duck is pretty odd to me which is below the summary.
My Rating on the DVD Box: **** - Very good box despite the artwork being a little off and Drake being super imposed. Almost as good as the TaleSpin DVD box set..
Like the TaleSpin DVD set; the DVD's come inside plastic cases with diamond push buttons to release them. I don't like that kind of button after the RVD DVD incident so I won't repeat it here. The format is pretty much the same as in TaleSpin with nine episodes in each case with the episode names on the back, a summary on the right, three pieces of artwork above the summary, the usual symbols, POP cutouts and a picture of the characters below it. Disc one's character is Launchpad running. I should point out how inconsistant the artwork is as the first two pictures are from the right episodes; but look too clean for their own good which is silly when you consider that the episode have not be digitally remastered. The third picture in the right isn't from any episode and is just promotional artwork for the series which was used for the pilot episode VHS about 15 years or so ago. The artwork isn't too bad; but it could be more constant.
Artwork Error #1: This is the only artwork error. On the front of the DVD case; you see Steggmutt, Darkwing Duck and Gizmo Duck riding in the Ratcatcher. While this is merely promotional material; it is for Just Us Justice Ducks which is on Disc Three of this set instead of Disc One. The actual Disc One uses the same artwork as the Artwork error it should be noted.
Episode Rants For Disc One:
Darkly Dawns The Duck Part One Rant- The PILOT OF SILLINESS Begins Here!
Darkly Dawns The Duck Part Two Rant- Gosalyn might have _Spirit_; but she's also got TB! And it burns! HA! I KILL ME!
Beauty And The Beet Rant- I thought Tad was immune to Bad Title Syndrome?
Getting Antsy Rant- HEY MOM?! THERE ANTS IN MY EPISODE!!
Night Of The Living Spud Rant- It's the Night of the Nightmare Rant!
Apes Of Wrath Rant- Gosalyn's Ultimate Fashion Faux Pas!
Dirty Money Rant- I wonder who Dave The Barbarian Is going to cheer for?!
Duck Blind Rant- I'm going blind seeing this episode!
Comic Book Capers Rant- Now that is one that'll surprise you
My Thoughts: Now for the episodes themselves. Again; they are played in chronological order according to airdate in syndication and are based on the second run syndication tapes in 1992. I'm explain why that's important when we get to Disc Three. That means that any scenes that was cut for the Disney Channel in 1995/1996 were restored in this DVD set. Which means that Gosalyn's That Blows line From Easy Come, Easy Grows is in this set. Also it means that the scenes that were added for the movie version of the pilot episode were cut as well. It's just like TaleSpin's Plunder and Lightning. I should point out that Darkwing Duck's tapes were a bit better than TaleSpin's with one scene that looked jarred and out of place and one or two areas of dark switching to light and vice versa (which was a big problem with Plunder and Lightning in general) so it wins an extra point there. I should point out that I view all my shows on an SD- regular old television that I had for a decade or so now. I'm sure that LCD/Plasma and HD television would make it look like garbage from what I've been told. That's why Wii is a better choice with a regular television that everyone has had at one time unless those who write at the magazines. However; I digress. Also; Disney continued the annoying stance of one chapter per episode. I don't understand why they do that since it helps no one and makes Disney look lazy in comparison. There should be five chapters per episode; it's not hard to do.
As for the episodes; this is where the whole Darkwing Duck DVD set falls apart. This series was the very first series where the assembly line style animation and the bad storyline writing in the name of excusing the fact that Drake Mallard was a cartoon duck and that the children believed that ducks rule and everything else sucks badly. Hey; some reviewer thought that TaleSpin was inferior to Darkwing Duck and even Ducktales; although Ducktales does have creditability for that point; Darkwing Duck doesn't have that. In an attempt to create cheap comedy; the writers forgot that they were still writing for Disney and that pathos had to be balanced out for laughs. Beauty And The Beet, Apes of Wrath and Comic Book Capers showed that it could be done in spades for this first disc. Duck Blind was also pretty good despite a real contrived finish. I would have loved to see the writers play the blind angle for a few more episodes; but status quo rules and it ended too soon. Dirty Money was another example of a good episode which a one joke gimmick that worked to make us laugh in Ammonia Pine (proving my point as to why many Disney fans hate Dave The Barbarian and his gimmick so much); however it was marred by a really ugly finish that broke all sense of logic.
Even the pilot episode Darkly Dawns the Duck started off really well and then when the climax finally breaks through and Taraus Bullba who had been build as this monster heel who couldn't be taken down by Drake was suddenly selling as if he was a weakling. And of course; they further made it worse with doing a scene similar to Kit's fall in Plunder and Lightning which was used as a comedy act which really trivialized the whole drama of that scene as a whole. Taraus Bullba could have just tortured her like Mad Dog did with Kit Cloudkicker in Polly Wants A Treasure; but he didn't. Taraus Bullba wasn't the only one who got buried as a character as Bushroot's great debut was completely marred by the first really bad episode in DTVA which was Night of The Living Spud. The Vampire Potato was a bad idea written all over it and the comedy was lacking big time. Getting Antsy was okay until animation mistakes and logic breaks came from left and right which completely destroyed any hope for a decent shrinking episode. Why must shrinking episodes suck on DTVA I wondered since the idea is usually a good one? This lack of constant episodes made me cringe because this was actually the best disc on the set as the next two would make me cringe even more so. Thankfully; Megavolt wasn't buried and he actually did a wonderful job in his role as a electric psycho.
My Rating for Disc One: *** - Good choice of artwork; but the episode quality went from great to good to great to bad to ugly and then back to great again. It will get worse; trust me on that one.
Artwork Error #2: The front cover is from the episode Getting Antsy and that episode appears on Disc One. So why didn't they use this picture as the cover of Disc One and use the Disc One cover on Disc 3 where it belongs?
Artwork Error #3: The first picture on the left is also from the episode Getting Antsy which appears on Disc One. What is Disney's obsession with that mini golf episode?! It wasn't that good.
Artwork Error #4: The third picture on the right is not from any episode on this DVD set. It's from another episode which features Darkwing Duck being forced to team up with Gizmo Duck. This is the same artwork error that TaleSpin suffered. Well; at least they got the middle picture on the back correct.
This disc cover contains Megavolt gritting his teeth on the back. The artwork looks slightly better and more constant; but the one showing Darkwing Duck and Gizmo Duck looks really ugly. Disney shouldn't be using shots that show the characters in any complex motion because it looks terrible anyway. I should note that the first disc is 204 minutes long; the second disc is 205 minutes long and the third disc is 204 minutes long.
Disc 2 Episode Rants
Water Way to Go Rant- Water A Way To Rant On Disc Two!
Paraducks Rant- I knew Elvis was a bad influence!
Easy Come, Easy Grows Rant- IT PRINTS MONEY AND IT STILL BLOWS!!
A Revolution in Home Appliances Rant- Sparky's got the TINGLE TOUCH!!
Trading Faces Rant- David and Ken have been vindicated!
Hush, Hush Sweet Charlatan Rant- Now this is COMEDY BABY!
Can't Bayou Love Rant- Is that Crazy Eddy's Hick Cousin or somethin?!
Bearskin Thug Rant- A prelude to the Goofy Movie?! Say it ain't so! It's so kiddies!!
You Sweat Your Life Rant- I was sweating ranting on this episode!
My Thoughts: If you want a perfect episode of why Darkwing Duck was the one that started the downfall of quality at DTVA then look no further than this disc. Water Way to Go was Steelbeak's debut and it was a terrible one as it was basically plain dull with few laughs and it really made Launchpad look bad as a character. While Launchpad was a funny stunt man in Ducktales; he's been reduced to sidekick who gets a few parts that really don't fit his character at all since he's too goody for his own good to basically stand up on his own two feet. Then there was Easy Come, Easy Grows. As much as everyone wanted to hear Gosalyn say that blows on children's television; the episode was absolutely terrible in every way. It was the first episode I gave a DUD because Bushroot as a character got completely buried and Drake's lust for money was completely contrived and forced even for him. Logic Breaks and Animation mistakes didn't help either and Drake's snake charmer scene was so disgusting that Bushroot's heat was completely gone after this episode. Reggie (who was a cool version of Poison Ivy) was basically a henchman now. And of course; let's not forget Can't Bayou Love which debuted the ever disgusting moral midget himself: Jambalaya Jake who had ripped off Leatherhead's accent and catchphrase (despite being voiced by Michael Gough). It's like the old saying: You may have a beer gut; but you're not fooling anyone when someone who's not disabled parks in a handicapped spot. Gumbo was more over than he was ever and even Gumbo couldn't save this one. It was just boring with an okay finish.
On the other hand; there were still flashes of excellence which made DTVA a force to be reckoned with with ParaDucks which was the reality bending adventure against an evil Elvis impersonator which was fun to watch. A Revolution In Home Appliances was another good one which gave another great Megavolt episode. Hush, Hush Sweet Charlatan was basically a comedy parody of A Star Is Torn from TaleSpin and it was enjoyable despite the swipes the writers took at my favorite series. Bearskin Thug was a surprise in that it was a pretty good prelude to A Goofy Movie with Drake acting like a fool just to show how great he is at being an outdoors-man he was and Gosalyn outsmarting him. Steelbeak did little to screw that episode which helped a lot. And of course there was You Sweat Your Life featuring the first really good episode involving the Muddlefoots. It had it all: Evil exercise freaks; Binky's so bad it's funny singing; Herb's paranoid towards fitness and of course a finish involving Drake as a baby and the antics that followed. All it need was an anthro version of the sexy fitness lady from Inspector Gadget who pulls out her hair a foot longer than it is humanly possible to pull and we would be all set. Trading Faces was a good episode until the third act when logic breaks really put the episode at just below A Baloo Switcheroo in quality. Replace Oh My God with a church cross.
My Rating On Disc Two: *** - The lack of constant quality in the episode is hair pulling at times; but like Disc one; the good episodes out distanced the bad ones. The Artwork errors also don't help this disc either.
Artwork Error #5: The middle photo on the back is from the episode Comic Book Capers which is on Disc One. Although for some reason; I didn't see that scene anywhere in the episode. I'll have to check the episode again to make sure.
The back of this disc contains Gosalyn and Honker running away. I really like the artwork of the characters below the summary on the back; but the artwork above the summary is the most inconsistent. The front cover looks terrible and looks almost nothing like the actual episode. The first picture on the top left in the back is fine; but the middle one is the worse piece of artwork I have ever seen. I should note that this photo is the same as the VHS set featuring Comic Book Capes and A Brush With Oblivion which was Splatter Phoenix's debut I think. Disney should have reviewed the artwork before inserting that terrible picture in.
TaleSpin Disc 3 Episode Rants
Days of Blunder Rant- IT'S PLAYTIME!
Just Us Justice Ducks Part One Rant- The debut of NegaDuck is here and please have mercy on the Fearsome Four Lackeys!!
Just Us Justice Ducks Part Two Rant- Read This Review Now Or I'll Throw...THE SWITCH!!
Double Darkwings Rant- When in doubt; have Granny throw in a zombie potion I guess!
Aduckyphobia Rant- It took them 23 episodes to parody Spiderman?! FOR SHAME!!
When Aliens Collide Rant- This is what happens if McKnee was a babyface
Jurassic Jumble Rant- Fossil my butt!!
Cleanliness Is Next To Badliness Rant- Round 2 of the Cleaning Gimmick and a heel who is DIRTY!!
Smarter Than A Speeding Bullet Rant- And more Roided than one too. HA! I KILL ME!!
My Thoughts: Okay; I stated that the episodes being used here are second run syndication episodes. Disney for some reason got complaints from parent groups about a scene in Double Darkwings where Gumbo climbed up onto a power pole and electrocuted himself. That scene was replaced with Jake pouring hot sauce right into the phone directly which made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Then again; Double Darkwings was the worst episode I have ever seen on DTVA to date (that I have ranted on officially so far). I mean; the whole idea would have worked if Fenton was the decoy because he's the same height, weight, looks, ego and stupidity that Drake has. Then there were the really stupid moments where Drake was arrested even though the real thief was standing right in plain sight of the police when Launchpad tried to escape. Then there was the contrived prison escape which sucked out whatever good graces I had left in that episode. It was a useless piece of crap that doesn't deserve to be aired ever again. Just Us Justice Ducks was a middling episode which started off well until NegaDuck completely took over with the switch routine that completely sucked the life right out of the episode. Not to mention the usual logic breaks and poor animation from Sun Woo.
However; the real signs of the assembly animation were apparent in the last three episodes of the set. Jurassic Jumble was a very good episode which was marred by bad animation (check out the wussy spot involving Drake and the anchor). Cleanliness was another middling one where the animation spots didn't hit and Ammonia Pine ended up carrying the entire episode on her back kicking and screaming. Walt Disney OZ did this episode and they are supposed to be the best and yet they made three animation mistakes within thirty seconds total with Steelbeak's outfit. Completely inexcusable and dangerously close to Ruby-Spears crappy animation from years ago; a style that Disney tried to snuff out I might add. Smarter Than A Speeding Bullet started off poorly with a contrived spot where Drake didn't even bother to chase the criminals and then blames it on Comet Guy who really didn't deserve it. It had a good middle; but the end was silly due to the rubber ball which did no more damage than crushing a few cars. Aduckyphobia and Days of Blunder (which were animated by Sun Woo no less) were really good episodes with the debut of Quackerjack who was ultra funny in my eyes and the average villain Professor Molerity. The spider trying not to hurt people was cute to see as he deflated Drake's huge ego big time. A few animation mistakes here and there; but nothing bad. However; this disc showed just how little faith the writers had in writing proper episodes and too much faith in Darkwing Duck's so-called abilities which on par were not really that great. Drake is in fact worse than Baloo who was the least character who was over in my own heart in TaleSpin.
My Rating For Disc Three: ** 3/4 - Same problems as in the first two discs with episode quality which really exposed Disney's downward spiral in animation and writing quality which didn't really start to mount until Goof Troop arrived; but with worse artwork.
It is exactly like the TaleSpin DVD set. There are no extras present so therefore no rating.
If you saw my review of the TaleSpin DVD set than you know what is in setup which is the usual English/French audio setup along with English subtitles. I haven't got a hold of hearing the French audio yet since I was ranting on the English version and my DVD player is kaput right now. However; I will comment on the captions since I didn't do that much for TaleSpin. Disney has a really bad captions team to say the least and I hope TaleSpin isn't as bad as Darkwing Duck is. Misspelled words (TaleSpin had Yenkara spelled Inkara; but at least I can explain it away as canon; while Darkwing Duck was misspelling simple real words.), sentences that were omitted (Drake clearly said he was mad in Smarter Than A Speeding Bullet and yet the captions teams said he was speaking gibberish) and misplaced voice relations. It also demonstrated how bad Double Darkwings really was when the crack Disney caption team put the title of the episode above the white title card in the first scene. It was the allegory of how bad that episode was and it was the only thing that made me laugh about that episode in general. If you have trouble hearing; then this set is trouble for you since the people who did the caption are hard of hearing as well. Wouldn't it hurt to actually read the scripts that the show used beforehand and use them instead? Other than that; it is the usual setup.
My Rating for Set Up: *** 1/2- The captions are hit or miss; so for those who have their hearing impaired it's buyer beware. You might not be getting the exact same experience as those who can hear the show perfectly. The rest is the usual for a box set DVD.
My Rating for the Entire DVD Set: *** 1/2 (70%)
The Review Line:
This set was all right for the most part with the usual problems that TaleSpin had with one chapter per episode; Artwork errors and a lack of extras. Most of the problems with this set have a lot to do with the actual episodes themselves with their poor writing and bad animation; but there were a few extra problems that I noticed with the captions. How hard is it to find the original scripts and use them instead? Or better yet; listen to the episodes more carefully. Thankfully; the good outweighs the bad; but the episode quality has got to improve in Volume 2 if Darkwing Duck fans can hope that Darkwing Duck delivers on the promise of laughs and misadventures. TaleSpin didn't have to worry since only six episodes in their volume had less than a thumbs up and the problems were mostly limited to film quality from Plunder and Lightning and the usual same problems that most Disney Television Animation DVD sets have suffered from. Failure to do so otherwise will taint the legacy of this series. While this show has aged better than Tiny Toons have; to call the series better than TaleSpin is an absolute joke. Now calling it better than Bonkers is another matter however.....
I give this DVD a thumbs in the middle; and I'll see you next time.
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