Rewatching DuckTales! Now we’re talking. In episode 72, “Frozen Assets,” we finally meet fan-favorite hero Gizmoduck. This is part two of the “SuperDuckTales” five-parter, which originally aired as a TV movie on ABC in prime time.
Last time, Scrooge hired bumbling bean counter Fenton Crackshell as his new accountant, to help move his entire money bin to make way for a new super-highway. Except that’s a plot by the Beagle Boys to nab the money. Through increasingly outrageous circumstances, all the money ended up in a lake, which was then lost when Fenton accidentally destroyed a nearby dam. This one begins with the money washing down river and ending up at Ma Beagle’s cabin. Fenton apologetically returns to Scrooge, again suggesting that Scrooge have frozen assets rather than liquid. This gives Scrooge an idea.
The Beagle Boys and Ma Beagle celebrate their newfound wealth, only for Scrooge to use giant fans to freeze the water containing the money. Launchpad and a fleet of helicopters carry the money away with a giant ice pick. While the money bin is relocated to a mountaintop, Scrooge ponders how to make his security even more failsafe. Fenton calls Scrooge for an update, revealing that he used Scrooge’s lucky number one dime to make the call at a pay phone. Scrooge tells Fenton to get the dime back or else he’s fired.
Scrooge next goes to Gyro, asking him to build a robot to guard the money bin. Fenton, meanwhile, goes on a wild chase around town searching for the missing dime, only to run into the Beagle Boys again as they’re about to rob a bank. Later, Gyro reveals he’s built an unstoppable robot to guard the bin. The robot goes out of control, believing everyone to be a potential thief, including Scrooge and Gyro. Scrooge tells Gyro to build another security measure, this time one with a brain.
The Beagle Boys manage to steal a bag of dimes that originated from the phone company, not knowing the bag contains Scrooge’s number one dime. Then there’s a series of comedy skits with Fenton trying and failing different ways to get the dimes back from the Beagles. Scrooge then meets with Gyro, who presents a “self-propelled security system” called Gizmoduck. Because Scrooge asked for security with a brain, that means a person has to wear the Gizmoduck armor. To prevent the armor from falling into the wrong hands, Scrooge tells Gyro to set a password, using words that no one ever uses. Fenton overhears their conversation, and he wants the suit.
For the password, Gyro picks “blatherskite” out of the dictionary, unaware that “blabbering blatherskite” is the exclamation Fenton keeps saying over and over. Fenton sneaks into Gyro’s lab and can’t figure out how to get the armor to work, until he says those fateful words, “blabbering blatherskite.” All the pieces of the armor seem to spring to life and start floating around the room, attaching themselves to Fenton one by one. He is now… Gizmoduck! He hides his face behind the armor’s visor and tells Gyro he’s the new security guard.
At Ma Beagle’s cabin, Gizmoduck arrives and demands the Beagles turn over the dimes. The Beagles hop in their car and lead Gizmoduck on a wild chase throughout Duckburg. After a lot of action, it ends on a goofball note, where Gizmoduck pretends to be a fast-food drive through kiosk, and he grabs the dimes when Burger Beagle tries to order food. Gizmoduck returns the dime to Scrooge, pretending to be an anonymous security guard Fenton hired. Now all Gizmoduck must do is defeat the giant robot still guarding the money bin.
Humbug: We see groove on the floor in Scrooge’s worry room are now a deep pit. Duckworth the butler jokes that Scrooge is “in a rut.”
Junior woodchucks: Huey, Dewey, and Louie are support characters in this one. Notice that in the worry room scene, they’re standing frozen in the background, no doubt the animators saving some time and resources.
Fasten your seatbelts: Who are all these helicopter pilots that Launchpad is apparently friends with? I want to see that episode.
Great gadgeteer: Gyro doesn’t want to build a robot at first, wanting instead to finish work on an automatic pancake flipping machine.
Pro-rata: Fenton’s plans to get back Scrooge’s dime from the Beagle Boys include dressing up like a tooth fairy, and impersonating a vending machine. His best bit is pretending to be a long-lost Beagle Boy, which almost works until Ma Beagle can’t find him in the family album.
Your move, creep: Gizmoduck is a combination of Robocop, Iron Man, and Inspector Gadget. His gear in this one include a floating umbrella and suggestive-sounding midriff missiles. His most important tool, though, is how both his legs are now a big wheel, which doesn’t make sense but comes in handy during a high-speed chase.
Fowl fouls: The classic Beagle Boy trio of Big Time, Burger, and Bouncer are joined this time by a fourth, Baggy. Ma Beagle is here as well, and this cabin of hers is both down river from the dam, as well as a short drive to downtown Duckburg.
Down in Duckburg: Fenton visits the phone company to get Scrooge’s dime back, and there’s a funny bit where the receptionist talks only in automated phone message speak.
Reference row: The robot guarding the money bin is an orange van that transforms into a huge fighting robot. Looks to me like he’s Ironhide from the Transformers.
Thoughts on this viewing: After a run of sitcom/comedy episodes, the DuckTales animators get to flex their action/adventure muscles again, as the chase through the city has a lot of fun action beats. Fenton gets a lot of moments to shine as Gizmoduck, and we’ll see in upcoming episodes how he does (or doesn’t?) fit in with the main cast.
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