My Reviews (2 reviews)

My Reviews (2 reviews)

Cartoon Comments:

Duck Dodgers (Series) 10 out of 5 stars


Reviewed by: FireballXL6, February 15, 2004

Now this is a cartoon! A mix of humour, sci-fi and a touch of romance. I'm no critic, but I think they should do a Movie of this one!
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Duck Dodgers (Series) 6 out of 5 stars

Daffy Duck in the 21st century? By: Peter A. Ca

Reviewed by: Dorlock.Jones, October 25, 2003

So far it's O.k. I really want to like this one, because unlike so many other TV series using classic characters simply to capitalize on an existing franchise (What's New Scooby Doo) it seems Duck Dodgers is a sincere attempt to capture the essence of these characters in a creative new format. Sadly I have not seen every episode but based on what I have seen...
So far it's O.k. I really want to like this one, because unlike so many other TV series using classic characters simply to capitalize on an existing franchise (What's New Scooby Doo) it seems Duck Dodgers is a sincere attempt to capture the essence of these characters in a creative new format. Sadly I have not seen every episode but based on what I have seen...
My first impression of the opening sequence is pure elation; it is beautifully done, with a great visual style and that wonderful Tom Jones theme. I like the way the credits show each character and their names, as if Daffy and company are actors cast in this science fiction television series. This format also avoids any continuity issues concerning previous appearances of these characters nicely.
Daffy Duck
Rather than just opening up with Dodgers in this position of power having Daffy come from the past while all the other characters, including Porky are from this time works well. His ability to then con his way into this position establishes that he is clever enough when it suits his needs, making his victories enjoyable and believable. Dodger's dialogue is pretty well done. His lines often integrate that 1940's comedian slang true to the style Mike Maltese wrote in the original Daffy shorts. There is a slight inconsistency in his personality where he is sometimes a bit too stupid, as opposed to just lazy and short sighted. Ironically I am a bit disappointed with Joe Alaskey's performance as Daffy. I have come to regard Alaskey as the perfect Mel Blanc replacement in all his attempts, his greatest of course being Daffy Duck. Most voice artists whom are cast to fill the shoes of a classic character tend to mimic the original, resulting in an impression of the character, but not quite the character him/herself. Alaskey does not impersonate Mel Blanc as Daffy Duck, but instead used Blanc's vocal characterizations as inspiration for his own version of the duck, the result is not an exact match to Blanc's version but still unarguably he is Daffy Duck. In the case of Duck Dodgers this unfortunately does not always hold true. A reason for this could be due to someone deciding for this series that Alaskey's voice should be sped up (Mel Blanc's Daffy was simply his Sylvester played back at a slightly higher speed) I don't believe this was originally the case with Alaskey. His acting and timing is marvelous as always, he just doesnâ¬"t sound as good a he usually does.
Porky Pig
I am not sure what Bob Bergan has done before Duck Dodgers but there has never been even a decent Porky Pig since Mel, Bergen is decent. It is a noble effort for such a difficult voice in such a dialogue intensive role, and I am looking forward to it improving. It also is not Bergan's fault that Porky's character is poorly written. It seems as though the writers never decided which personality to give him; is he a pushover that is always in the dark and genuinely intimidated by Dodgers? or is this a facade, masking the fact that he is always in control, but too humble and good natured to take the spotlight off the hero? The second possibility, of course, is how he was originally written in the Jones/Maltese film parody shorts. (Dripalong Daffy, My Little Duckaroo, the original Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 Century, and Deduce You Say?) The whole concept of the "eager young space cadet" was meant to be ironic, a parody of the ineffectual observer that was the boy side kick to so many heroes of the 1940s and 50s. In the 1953 Duck Dodgers, Jones and Maltese set to turn this convention on it's ear. (incidentally endowing Porky with his most three dimensional personality ever to that point in his career)
He was the ultimate Daffy Duck strait man but the new series unfortunately hasnâ¬"t quite hit it. (yet?)
Marvin the Martian
Now we're treading on Jones holy ground.
As I said, I have not been able to catch every episode, but I believe the Martian is never referred to as Marvin in this series, except in the opening credits (consistent with the idea that he is an actor cast in the role of The Martian Commander) instead he is referred to as Commander X-2. This is brilliant! In 1952's The Hasty Hare (Marvin's second of only seven theatrical shorts) Marvin descends from his ship and opens sealed orders addressed to: Commander, Flying Saucer X-2 from General E=Mc Squared. Hence his title in the series. Unlike the majority of Marvin's golden age appearances where he is portrayed as a geeky rouge, obsessed with blowing up the earth for his own reasons, ("It obstructs my view of Venus.") the series takes a queue from The Hasty Hare, which indicates there is a Martian society with a chain of command, and he is a loyal link in that chain. No one but Chuck Jones's unit worked with Marvin during the golden age. He designed the characterâ¬"s armor after Mars, god of war but then made him appear as weak and un-intimidating as possible, hence his perpetually frustrated disposition. Based on the fact that Jones never designed another Martian character (except for instant Martians; the large bird like creatures who also appear as background characters in the series) one can't say whether he envisioned a whole race of beings Marvin's size and stature or whether like Friz Freeling's Yosemite Sam, he was a diminutive version of his species with a Napoleon complex. I think the fact that the writers of the series went with the later is a bold but good choice. Some of the character designs on the citizens of mars are quite well done, considering it would have been easy to just create a bunch of Marvin clones one has to respect that area of creativity. I'm not crazy about Marvin going shirt less, because the collar of his original, Chuck Jones designed body suit would define the connection between his neck and head where as now there is a white out-line. Not a big deal but it does detract from the original simplicity of the Martianâ¬"s design. The small retouches to the armor, and added gauntlets are pretty nice and consistent with a more up to date Sci-Fi look, but thank goodness no one messed with the tennis shoes. that would have been a real shame.
Dr. I.Q. High
Taking this character from the original short is a great touch. Considering in it he has only 20 seconds of screen time, a lesser group of writers would have thrown him away or not even thought of using him. This is another indication that Dini and his crew really care about this project. Not only using I.Q. but structuring earth's society as it is implied in the cartoon: Dodgers is sent for by the secretary of the stratosphere for a mission only he can tackle. I.Q.'s rubber gloves being too large were not in the original design, and it is a nice visual gag on an other wise streamlined character. Every thing else about him is drawn in the exact original style, almost as if Jones did it himself.
One thing I must say is that while obviously I'm inclined too, and have been approaching this from the stand point of an animation historian, concerned with the handling of these classic "sacred" characters that is not the only concern of Spike Brant, Tony Cervone, Paul Dini and the rest of the crew. They are producing a new series for Cartoon Network the likes of which have really never been attempted before. It has that epic space adventure feel to it, while still being a comedy series. One thing I think cheapens this is a problem with many of the Cartoon Network original series. It is that poor attempt to emulate John K (Ren and Stimpy). By no means is Dodgers even close to being as guilty as other series, the toilet humor that does get tossed around from time to time seems extremely out of place, and a bit demeaning for such sophisticated characters (not too mention writers).
There is so much going on in this series that is spectacular, and so many beautiful touches that make a hard core animation purist like myself feel relived. (When I saw special thanks to Chuck Jones in the credits I got all choked up) But then, (and this is because I believe the evidence of greatness fore mentioned is no accident) I see some bad gags, lackluster stories, and weak writing and cringe at the wasted effort. I have yet to see the perfect episode, but believe it's on the way.
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