D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996)

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Released 17-Mar-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 99:27
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Robert Lieberman
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Emilio Estevez
Jeffrey Nordling
Heidi Kling
Joss Ackland
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music J.A.C. Redford


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
Finnish
Spanish Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    At least our part of the global market reached consistency with the name of this film: D3: The Mighty Ducks is obviously the continuing saga of everyone's favourite hockey team. What a minute - I'm starting to sound like the blurb writers! Two years further on and by now The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim had been playing for a couple of seasons and the world had already started to alter its rotational spin as a result of the copious quantities of Ducks merchandise that had infiltrated bedrooms and dens around the world. Of course this meant that there was less need to push the Ducks name so this is the least blatantly promotional of the three Mighty Ducks films. Which partially explains why it is arguably the best of the three Mighty Ducks films!

    The final incarnation thus far in the franchise sees the former Minnesota State Champions and current Junior Goodwill Games champions reaching for new hockey rinks to conquer. This is achieved by the simple expediency of the whole team being granted full athletic scholarships to snobbish high school Eden Hall Academy as the new Junior Varsity team (it's an American thing). However, the team might be there, but coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is not, having relinquished the reins in favour of Ted Orion (Jeffrey Nordling), a former pro player with the then Minnesota North Stars (and now Dallas Stars - and don't worry, you get to see lots of hockey merchandise in this film). The transition to high school turns out not to be easy for some members of the team. Will the Ducks triumph once again? Hey, is this a Disney film? You know the answer...

    The funny thing is that this film is actually funny. Of all three films made, this is the only one that really makes me laugh (albeit not that much). The implication is that this is a better story, a better screenplay and a better film than the previous two -and that is precisely the way I look at it. This is a better film at just about every level - there certainly is less of a cringe factor here and most of what goes on here is really quite believable. A number of faces missing from the second film make a reappearance here (Heidi Kling and Joss Ackland), but their part in the film is very limited. Indeed, even though Emilio Estevez gets top billing for this, he sort of wanders into the film on rare occasions - his appearances are almost of supporting role minutes only. Just like the previous films we get the obligatory Disney moralising, but here it is far less obvious - making a nice change.

    Probably the best of the three films made, this is at times genuinely funny and less afflicted with cringe moments. If you want to add just one film from the three to your viewing platter, then this would probably be the one. It stands up well enough as a film that prior knowledge of the other two films is not really essential.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Continuing the thoroughly competent transfer of the second film, this is a good effort overall. The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and in this instance is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is fairly sharp (indeed a little too sharp for the rollerblading sequence - it is obviously blue screen work and looks pretty ropey for it) - and features pretty good detail too. Nice and clear, with no obvious instances of grain. Shadow detail is generally good, although early on in the film the contrast is a bit wonky (too dark) and as a result the shadow detail is a bit off. The school features deep coloured timber in its decor and that works against the detail a little too. Low level noise is non-existent.

    The colours are very good, apart from the early section with the contrast problem, and have a nice vibrancy to them. They are nicely saturated. The whole transfer has a natural look to it and there is nothing approaching over-saturation or colour bleed.

    There are no significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer and once again the film-to-video artefacting is confined to some very minor aliasing that barely draws the eye to it. Another relatively clean transfer with no significant film artefacts to get in the way of things.

    This is a single sided, single layered DVD so again there are no problems with layer changes - despite the cover warning.

    There are eight subtitle options on the DVD, including English and English for the Hearing Impaired options. I sampled these and they both seem to be very decent with no significant problems at all.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two soundtracks on the DVD: an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I stuck with the English soundtrack.

    Dialogue comes up well and is easy to understand. There did not appear to be problems with audio sync.

    The original music score is again provided by J.A.C. Redford. Whilst just a little on the banal side of things at times, it certainly is a better effort than the previous film in the collection.

    The soundtrack is exceedingly similar to that of the second filmy, with some decent ambient noise through the surround channels. This is, as usual, most noticeable during the game sequences where we get some reasonable crowd noise through the rear channels. There is not a whole heap of work from the bass channel, but then again the nature of the film only requires modest emphasis here and there. The sound is quite clean and open and there are no obvious defects in the transfer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Well at last there is some consistency in the three films!

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Information is again thin on the ground regarding the Region 1 release, but there would appear to be no significant difference between the two regions.

Summary

    D3: The Mighty Ducks is certainly the high point of the three films and is the only one that is genuinely funny (at times). The DVD itself is nothing to write home about even though the transfers are generally very competent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Monday, April 21, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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