A few weeks ago, the long-anticipated full trailer, and date, for the new Disney Plus The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers series finally dropped. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it here.
The series will go live on 26th March. Which gives us plenty of time to catch up on the best sporting Disney trilogy to come out of the 90s. All three films are on Disney Plus for our viewing pleasure. But, other than Emilio Estevez, it looks like it’s a completely new cast. Understandable, as most of the original Mighty Duck members are now in their 40s and ineligible to play in a peewee hockey team.
But, we thought we’d give you a recap of the films anyway. A cheat sheet of sorts to refresh your memory of The Mighty Ducks past before we get into the present.
So, grab the popcorn and get ready to look back. Back at a time when Joshua Jackson was better known for being a cute child star and not one of the horny teenagers from Dawson’s Creek.
SPOILERS below, but if you’ve never seen the films before, what have you been doing?
The Mighty Ducks
In 1992, we got the first instalment of The Mighty Ducks, which brought in a massive $50,752,337 worldwide at the box office.
In this film, we follow Gordan Bombay (Estevez) who gets sentenced to community service. This after being caught driving under the influence. Let’s be honest here, it’s not a bad community service sentence. Instead of picking up rubbish or removing graffiti for hours on end, he’s asked to coach a peewee ice hockey team. They’re called District 5 (D-5 for short), deemed the worst hockey team in the league.
It’s a good job Bombay used to be an ice hockey player, right? But, his memories of being the star player on the championship peewee team, The Hawks, is haunted. Haunted by the moment he missed a championship goal, which led to the loss of the game. Then the disapproval of his coach, Coach Reilly (Lane Smith), and the end of his hockey career.
Unfortunately for Bombay, the first game of the series is against The Hawks. They’re still coached by Reilly, a demanding, unforgiving coach and, all in all, not a very nice man. As you can imagine, the uncoached D-5 lose by a country mile. With this, and some added jibes from his old coach, Bombay starts to get frustrated. Instead of training D-5 to get better, he teaches them how to cheat and dive for penalties. But, after a lot of disapproval from the players and their parents, plus a strong pep talk from his old mentor, Hans (Joss Ackland), Gordan gets back out on the ice himself. He finally starts to coach the team properly.
Throughout the film, three new players are added to the team. Figure skaters Tammy and Tommy (Jane Plank and Danny Tamberelli) and the misunderstood Fulton Reed (Elden Henson). As the team’s skills and bonds develop, so does the bond between Bombay and Charlie’s mother, Casey (Heidi Kling). This turns into the film’s romance story, of course!
Before the next match, Bombay announces to the team that they are being sponsored by his law firm. Plus that they have a new name, The Ducks, named after his boss Gerald Ducksworth (Josef Sommer). At this point, the team isn’t too thrilled with the name. But, after yet another pep talk, they agreed to it, starting the game with a united ‘Quack, Quack, Quack’.
With their new skills, The Ducks are soon on a winning streak. Due to district lines, Bombay adds another new member: The Hawks star player, Adam Banks (Vincent LaRusso). Due to both Banks and the team not being happy with this decision, and a minor misunderstanding, the team storm off and forfeit a game. This is soon sorted though. The team go from strength to strength, straight to the Championships, against, you guessed it, The Hawks.
Obviously, this is a problem for Banks who has just moved teams. Especially as Coach Reilly and a few of his ex-teammates engage in some dirty tactics. This leads him to getting injured and sent off. With this, The Ducks are even more determined to win and, like all good Cinderella stories, they do win with Charlie, who’s known for missing shots, scoring a penalty.
The message behind the film: Winning isn’t everything, but having fun is!
D2: The Mighty Ducks
Two years after the original in 1994, D2: The Mighty Ducks, arrived at the cinemas and bagged $45,604,206 at the box office.
Once again, we are led by Bombay, who was back playing ice hockey for a minor league. But he had to leave due to a knee injury.
Fear not, though! Don Tibbles (Michael Tucker), head of Hendrix Hockey, a highly corporate hockey company, hires Bombay to be the new coach of Team USA for the Junior Goodwill Games in California.
Luckily for Bombay, he knows most of the players, as they are mainly from The Ducks with a few added players from around the country. They also have a tutor for the team: Michele (Kathryn Erbe).
The old and new players take a hot minute to get along. But after some unorthodox training techniques, involving the whole team being tied together and being rounded up like sheep, they start to bond, and quickly get the swing of things.
As the team gets ready for the Goodwill Games, Mr Tibbles starts to load team USA with merchandise. Including a breakfast cereal named after them and a brand-new kit. With no mention of the Ducks. Bombay takes the ‘corporate’ life in his stride, even accepting a swanky apartment in Hollywood. However, it starts to bother captain of Team USA Charlie.
Once in Hollywood, Team USA win their first game and meet enthusiastic spectator, Russ (Kenan Thompson). They also encounter the very intimidating Iceland team, led by the formidable Coach Wolf Stansson (Carsten Norgaard).
As they go through the competition, the team get a little cocky and Bombay even starts wearing a suit to games, instead of the normal hockey jacket. During their first game against Iceland, they predictably lose and star player Banks is injured (again). Bombay also gets a bit of a talking to by Mr Tibbles- he is not a fan of losing.
One loss away from elimination, Bombay decides to take out the fun and push the team harder. Which as you can imagine, does not end well. It ends up with the whole team, including Bombay, getting fed up with each other. Russ, once again makes his presence known, and takes the team to his brother’s street hockey team where they learn some new moves. The team is soon back in shape and ready to face the next game, but Bombay is nowhere to be seen. So, teacher Michele, a hockey novice, has to step up and pretend to be coach.
Fortunately, Jan (Jan Rubes), Bombay’s new mentor turns up with yet another pep talk, and after a little memory interlude, Bombay turns up to the game. The team and Bombay sort their issues and win the game.
Unfortunately, due to his arm injury, Banks has to stop playing. But luckily, the team’s captain, Charlie, who is inspired by Bombay, decides to introduce Russ to the team. Team USA go on to win their remaining games and it gets to the final against… once again… you’ve guessed it… Iceland.
Just before this game, a rejuvenated Banks turns up but as they already have Russ as fill in. Charlie decides that he will step down and help coach the team instead, so Banks can play.
Not to be totally predictable and like the first film. This time Team USA must work a little harder to win the game and it goes down to penalties, but they only go and win the cup title… Hazar!
The message behind the film: Teamwork makes the dream work.
D3: The Mighty Ducks
The third and final film instalment, D3: The Mighty Ducks, was released in cinemas in 1996. Bringing in a slightly lower income of $22,936,273 at the box office.
This time, Bombay isn’t the lead, and only has a few cameo parts, mainly to bail The Ducks out with his law degree.
In this film, The Ducks find themselves gaining scholarships to a private high school. The Eden Hall Academy, but without some of the other members. Most notably missing is Bombay, as he has been offered a swanky new job, and Portman (Aaron Lohr), one half of the Bash brothers, who bailed when he heard Bombay did.
The Ducks quickly realise that they are not in their comfort zone anymore, as they meet Dean Buckley (David Selby) and their very intense teachers. But none are as intense as Coach Orion (Jeffrey Nordling), who gives them a whole new set of rules. Including keeping a B average and staying clear from the varsity team, until they play them in the varsity playoffs. There’s also a change in the line-up, Charlie is no longer Captain – in fact no one is . Goldberg (Shaun Weiss) is swapped out of goal with Julie (Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine), and star player Banks is moved to the senior team. They are also stripped of their Duck name and are now known as The Warriors junior team. They also run into trouble with the senior varsity team, who would rather The Ducks weren’t there.
With guidance from their mentor, Hans, Charlie and the team push forward at the new school. However, an outspoken and, dare I say it, brat-ish Charlie gets increasingly frustrated with the demanding Coach Orion. Tensions rise between the senior and junior teams.
After a positive start in their first game of the season, the team ties. But, after some unsportsmanlike conduct and selfishness by Charlie. Dean Buckley and the other members of the school’s board are nervous about the scholarships that they gave out. They start to think about revoking them. On top of this, there is a prank war rising between the junior and senior teams, which starts with kits being soaked and frozen, and ends with an $800 dinner bill being dumped on Charlie and the team. So, to settle the score, they schedule a secret varsity game against Coach Orion’s wishes. Charlie and the team lose, and when Coach Orion finds out, he reprimands the team, which ends with Charlie and Fulton leaving the team.
Hans tries to give Charlie a pep talk, but a defiant Charlie just walks away. Unfortunately, that night, Hans dies. As a result, Fulton returns to the team. After Hans’ funeral, Charlie gets an even stronger pep talk from the visiting Bombay, and so he also returns to the team. Before he leaves, Bombay has one more thing to sort out as it looks like Charlie and the team could seriously lose their scholarships. Yet, after some legal rambling’s courtesy of Bombay, the team gets to keep their place at the school.
Charlie and the team, along with a returning Banks, bounce back and get ready for the varsity game against the seniors. As they improve, Coach Orion realises that he can’t make them into good Warrior players as they are already great Duck players and gives them back their old Duck name for the varsity game.
During the game, it looks like The Ducks might lose again as the senior team is handing out some hard-playing techniques that the Ducks are finding hard to keep up with. But, at half time, it looks like Bombay had pulled even more strings, as Portman shows up with full scholarship papers, and joins Fulton to reunite the Bash brothers. This puts a new energy into the team, along with Coach Orion reinstating Charlie’s Captain badge, and The Ducks go on and win the game and become The Eden Hall Ducks.
The message behind the film: There’s more to Hockey than just playing the game.
So, there you have it, a quick cheat sheet of what happened to get you up to speed and ready for 26th March. We hope you are as excited as we are for The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. Let us know your thoughts on the films and the new series int he comments below.
Check out the trailer for The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers HERE.
Read IMDB information on The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers HERE.
Squid Game – Review
The Players and Games
On 17 September 2021, South Korean, Netflix series Squid Game was released. Unbeknown to many including writer and creator Hwang Dong-hyuk, this nine-part drama quickly became the most talked about and watched show around the world.
The extremely well written, staged and thought-out show is a mix of ‘Black Mirror’, ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Battel Royal’ all rolled into one. To make an intense and binge-able series from start to finish.
The series can be watched with subtitles or dubbed. We would suggest watching it subtitled as some of the dubbed voiceovers don’t quite match up to the characters and you can lose some of the intensity in the scenes. With both options, however, you will still be able to get a good handle of the story, as you follow hundreds of money-poor contestants take on the deadly childhood games.
SPOILERS: If you haven’t watched the whole of Squid Game yet. Stop reading here as we are about to review the players and the games, with some hefty spoilers added in.
All dressed in green tracksuits the players are the focus of the story, and the costuming made sure they did just that. In Screen Rants video Squid Game: 15 Things You Missed, we find out that Dong-hyuk wanted the players in school uniforms. But after realising they would have to wear shorts and skirts, he went with the PE style tracksuits in green, the opposite colour to red on the colour wheel… to make sure the blood stood out.
The game starts with 456 players, but there are eight main characters, who we are invited to find out more about within the story.
Seong Gi-hun (player 456)
The very first player we are introduced to is gambling addict Seong Gi-hun, Played by actor and successful model Lee Jung-jae. Gi-hun lives with his mother, bets all her money on horses, has a lot of debts, and gets his own daughter’s birthday gift from an arcade game. Which cleverly links to the boxes they use for coffins, within the game.
Gi-hun, is a great main character because through his lies and bad habits, his narrative is written to show that he has a compassionate side too, which you can relate to.
Kang Sae-byeok (player 067)
The next character we meet is Kang Sae-byeok, portrayed perfectly by model Jung Ho-yeon, in her first ever acting role. The character arc of the strong, independent, pickpocket, is so interesting and endearing to watch. She goes from depending on herself to becoming part of a team and putting her trust in others.
Her back story is of wanting money to help her brother leave an orphanage and to move her mother from North to South Korea. This puts her in a very sympathetic light which urges us the viewer to root for her.
Cho Sang-woo (Player 218)
The next player we are introduced to is Cho Sang-woo, this complex character played by popular TV actor Park Hae Soo. His own story and mannerisms are what make him such an interesting and confusing character who one minute you like, for example when he helps the team out in tug-of-war game or the other minute you despise especially after the stunt he pulled with Ali, in the marble arena. This makes him one of the best characters to have in a show like this as he is unpredictable, like we saw at the end of game six.
Oh il-Nam (player 001)
The heart and soul of the team… or so we thought! Was Oh il-Nam player 001- we should have known!
One of the smartest players in the game was expertly played by actor and writer, Oh Young-soothe. The likable old man had us going all the way to the end and even made some of us cry in the marble game making the twist at the end of the series even better.
Jang Deok-Su (Player 101)
All good games need a villain, luckily there were a lot within the 456 players, but none were as bad as actor Heo Sung-tae’s portrayal of tatted Jang Deok-su.
Player 101, comes in hitting one of the female players and leaves being dragged down by another one! His well-written character had us shouting at the screen and hoping for a worthy death, and after his betrayal to Han Mi-nyeo before tug of war, she served him the cruel departure from the game we had all hoped for.
Abdul Ali (Player 199)
After saving Gi-Hun in the red light, green light game. Abdul Ali showed not only his strength but his love and trust in others which unfortunately would also become his demise…Thanks to snaky Sang-woo.
Actor Anupam Tripathi took his first big TV role and ran with it becoming one of the most loved characters in the series. Even getting a barrage of meme’s made for the character following his wrongful and underhanded death.
Han Mi-nyeo (Player 212)
Due to the copious amounts of death and blood, it’s always wise to have a little comic relief. Han Mi-nyeo’s character was certainly that, with her frequently used catchphrase of ‘I’m good at everything, except for the things I’m not’. Portrayed by Californian born actress Kim Joo-ryeong, the loud and obnoxious character really gave the competitive edge to the game, especially in the honeycomb games when she cheated, using a lighter to melt the candy! Her character, however, did get a little grating at times.
Ji-yeong (Player 240)
Our biggest issue with this character was that there was simply not enough screen time! Played by Lee Yoo-mi in her first major role, the character of Ji-yeong captured our hearts in just three episodes. Particularly as we got to know more about her harrowing backstory if only there was a way that both Ji-yeong and Sae-byeok could have left the marble arena together!
The main part of the story of Squid Game, is the six schoolyard games, which the players must play and win to get their hands on the life-changing sum of money.
Game 1: Red Light, Green Light.
The aim of the game is not to move when the ‘creepiest doll in history’ is looking, otherwise you are eliminated, and in this game, this doesn’t just mean out! When the ‘creepy doll’ isn’t looking you need to run as quick as you can and try and cross the line within the time frame. Sounds easy right? Not when you realise if you move… you die!
Red Light, Green Light is where the players realise what kind of game they are involved in and where we lost over half to the players too!
The schoolyard set and creepy doll voice just add to the tension of this game, which is also amplified by the visuals of the game in play accompanied by the switch over to the Front Man as he watched the game through monitors whilst listening to the song ‘Fly me to the moon’.
Game 2: Honeycomb/Dalgano Candy
To be safe in this game you need to successfully cut out a shape from Honeycomb, without damaging or breaking the shape. The only tool you are given to help you is a needle.
At the beginning of this game, we truly see the back-stabbing side of Sang-woo, as he realises what game it is, as the players start to pick their shape, before knowing what they need to do.
In the know, Sang-woo goes for the easiest shape, a triangle, and neglects to warn the others as Gi-Hun walks over to pick the hardest shape, the umbrella. This game separates the cheaters from the thinkers as Mi-nyeo and Deok-su use a lighter and Gi-Hun uses his brain and licks the shape free.
The climbing frames, bright colours, childish music and gunshots provide the perfect setting to make this whole scene completely unnerving for the players and the viewers.
Game 3: Tug of War
In teams of ten, it’s time for the players to play Tug of War. The main basis of this game needs no introduction, but instead of being pulled into a pile of mud like the classic game… you get pulled to your death.
Due to the Dr, Player 111, and his extra gameplay with some of the guards. (That involved selling body parts) Deok-su and his team know what game was coming up and managed to put together a team of strongmen to win their heat. Unfortunately, Gi-hun and his team didn’t have the same knowledge and in turn looked to have a weaker team than others. Luckily Il-Nam and Sang-Woo had solid gameplay ideas which saved the team.
The setting for Tug of War, took a bit of a dark turn and away from the schoolyard setting. With yellow and grey platforms set in a pitch-black room. Within this game, we lost half the players.
Game 4: Marbles
With this series, we all had the fear that at one point out favourites would be pitted against each other but not this early! Asked to pair up the players thought they would be playing together in teams like the last game, but that was not the case.
In the game of Marbles, the pairs were left to decide for themselves what game they wanted to play, with the loser being eliminated!
Probably one of the hardest games to watch as most pairs were playing a game of chance. If you were anything like us, we were hoping there was going to be another twist where some of the characters would survive in pairs but instead, we lost some big players and learned who were not to be trusted.
Having two games back-to-back where we lost half the players each time really helped keep the momentum of the story.
Game 5: Glass Bridge
To start this horrifying game of chance, the players had to pick their order, before knowing what the game was which led to a very tense moment where Gi Hun, almost went first. His indecisiveness helping him hugely here.
The aim of this game is for the remaining players to make their way across the glass bridge hopping from glass square to glass square, hoping to land on the tempered glass, rather than the normal glass which would break instantly sending them plummeting to their death.
Again, set in a pitch-black room with a few lights this game was intense! But it did however whittled the players down to three and showed Sang-woo’s ‘do anything for the money’ character again.
The added glass blasts at the end of the game also added an extra twist of tension as front runner Sae-byeok got severely injured.
Game 6: The Squid Game
With only two players left after Sang-woo eliminated Sae-byeok with a dinner knife, it was on to the final game and namesake of the series, Squid Game.
This game is divided into attacker (Gi-hun) and defender (Sang-woo). The attackers’ objective is to reach the “home” square marked on the opposite side of the field, while the defender’s purpose is to block them and push them out to win.
However, let’s be honest we saw very little gameplay as it ended up in a fight between the two finalists. The end of the game was gripping to watch, particularly with the knives in play and Gi-huns indecisive personality. Just as we think it’s all over, rather than putting his foot in the home square Gi-hun tries to get an injured Sang-woo to walk away from the game so they can both survive, giving up on the money.
But it a massive twist Sang-woo picks up the knife from the floor and instead of killing Gi-hun, like we anticipated, he kills himself. This was a great call from writer Hwang Dong-hyuk as it was unexpected and gave us a little extra from Sang-woos character. However, we can’t help but think that maybe it would have been a bigger twist if Sang-woo did kill Gi-Hun and won the games as no one was routing for him.
What do you think about our thoughts on the players and games within Squid Game? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out book to movie adaptations coming soon HERE.
Read IMDB information about Squid Game HERE.
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