Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Mighty Ducks

Mighty Ducks


Director: Stephen Herek

Writer: Steven Brill

100 Minutes

“I hate kids. They're barely human.”

Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) had a long way to go after receiving a community service sentence to coach peewee hockey. He was assigned to the District 5 hockey team, a group of kids that would later become the Mighty Ducks.

But, Gordon was no stranger to hockey. Years before, Gordon played for The Hawks, the number one team in the league and arch rivals to the Mighty Ducks. In the last game of the state championship, Gordon missed a shot that would have clinched the game.

A quarter of an inch the other way and it would have gone in.

Gordon has lived with that demon since childhood, completely erasing hockey from his life and became a successful lawyer. After winning a major case, Gordon gets pulled over for drinking and driving. And thus, begins Gordon’s journey.

*CLING* - the sound the puck makes by hitting the post.

In the scene above, the Mighty Ducks have mutinied against Gordon after he made several sarcastic comments about the team. When the majority of the team didn’t show for the next game, they were forced to forfeit. Before this all happened, Peter (J.D. Daniels) found an article about Gordon’s missed shot and believed his comments weren’t sarcastic and Gordon’s loyalty remained with the Hawks. Peter used this information to turn the team against Gordon.

Except for Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson).

After the forfeit, Gordon and Charlie have lunch and talk about Gordon’s hockey past. When Gordon finishes explaining the “quarter of an inch” missed shot, Charlie simply replies, ‘Yeah, but a quarter inch the other way and you'd have missed completely.”

Gordon never thought of it that way.

This is the moment that Gordon realizes he has just as much to learn from these kids, as these kids have to learn from him. He has a dark past - one he might have been embarrassed about - which doesn’t make him much different than the rest of the Mighty Ducks.

In this instant, he realizes his old team, old coach didn’t understand the reason kids play hockey is to have fun. It shouldn’t be effecting your life years after the fact. Hockey is a game and it supposed to be enjoyed.

His team taught him that.

In the end, Gordon takes the Mighty Ducks all the way to the state championship where they faced-off against the Hawks. It was a brutal game, but Gordon cannot be out matched by his old team and eventually is victorious.

Bravo, Disney endings.

The Mighty Ducks is a family film about a young hockey team. The story is about a coach letting go of his past and progressing forward towards his passion. In the final scene of the film, Gordon gets hockey advice from the ducks and then boards a bus for a minor league hockey try-out. Again, he’s victorious.

But for Gordon, he’ll forever be a duck. And ducks fly together.

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