Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution
Disney+ recently released films, such as “Soul” and “Raya and the last Dragon,” which have received positive feedback from audiences. Its latest release, “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers,” is yet another win for Disney with little flaws and a refreshing take on what sports actually entail. This new addition to the “The Mighty Ducks’’ franchise provides a new take on the Ducks hockey team as bullies. The new series will be a 10-episode-long family-comedy series.
After being let go from the Mighty Ducks hockey team, Evan Morrow (Brady Noon) and his mother Alex (Lauren Graham) seek to form their own team to challenge the Ducks. Throughout the episode, the mother and son face their own struggles: Evan loses hope to find players for the team, while Alex is pressed for time to find an ice rink and coach before their first game. She eventually encounters Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez), a retired hockey coach and ice rink owner who claims to hate hockey. The pilot episode does a good job at setting up the story, so the audience isn’t required to watch the ‘90s “Mighty Ducks” franchise to understand it.
“The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers’’ has a good cast and team with different personalities, establishing outcasts that break away from the herd. While recruiting for his team, Evan has a brooding mentality and is on the verge of giving up but takes a stance to empower others to join him. Their goalie (Luke Islam) is devoid of energy and wants to be left alone but uses the strength of his fast reflexes to be on the team. Maya (Taegen Burns) strays away from being one of the popular girls at school and joins the team. Nick Gaines (Maxwell Simkins) is hilarious and adds to the lighthearted nature of the show with great one-liners. The characters make for a dysfunctional team, but they are fun to see on screen as each portrays the cheesy message of not being afraid to be yourself.
The show is also nostalgic with little flaws. Graham’s acting can be too over the top, often delivering cringe-worthy lines. Evan is told to “don’t bother” at hockey when he gets cut from the team, and the show delivers that line several times. In one scene, Alex says their team name is “The Don’t Bothers,” which is a failed attempt at humor. After Graham’s exceptional performance in the series from the 2000s, “Gilmore Girls,” it was disappointing to see her embarrassing lines and scenes in “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.” However, the show seems to borrow from her recent role as Lorelai Gilmore and provides a warm feeling as she is still seen as a single mother who is trying to keep it together for her child. By starring Emilio Estevez, who was the protagonist in “The Mighty Ducks” franchise, the show provides a nostalgic feeling for anyone into the original films.
The show has an altogether fun tone to it with which audiences can relate to: parents can place themselves in Alex’s shoes and sympathize with her wanting to have a better life for her child, while younger audiences may relate to being misfits and the pressure to excel in sports. The show also parodies helicopter parenting as it pokes fun at parents that exaggerate sports and make extravagant purchases for their children’s games. In one scene, Alex makes the parents’ efforts seem extreme as she berates one of them for bringing a private trainer and child psychologist to the hockey game. The show offers a different perspective on sports that entails bringing individuals closer together and simply enjoying the moment, rather than just focusing on winning.
The pilot episode is a lighthearted watch that does an excellent job in establishing the storyline and makes for a promising series. It focuses on getting a team together and introduces the well respected Gordon Bombay, so it can establish everlasting friendship among the teammates and Bombay’s possibility of returning to coaching in succeeding episodes. An interesting aspect of the addition to the franchise is that it doesn’t just see sports as black and white or winning or losing; rather, it shows that the most important part of sports is the willingness to keep going, even when the odds may not be in your favor.