Rewatching DuckTales! It’s the rise and fall of our new hero Gizmoduck in episode seventy-three, “Full Metal Duck.” This part three of the “SuperDuckTales” five-parter than originally aired as a prime time made-for-TV movie on ABC.
Thanks to a Beagle Boys scheme, Scrooge relocated his money bin to a mountaintop, and he hired bumbling accountant Fenton Crackshell to help make the move. Scrooge then had a security robot built, only for it to go out of control. Fenton donned a robot suit of his own to become the heroic Gizmoduck, and this episode begins with him and the security bot locked in battle. The fight does not go well, because Fenton lost the Gizmoduck instruction manual. But he wins in the end thanks to the suit’s durability and his own dumb luck. He gets the job as Scrooge’s new security guard.
Fenton tries to show off the armor to his mother, who is unimpressed. He’s unable to take off the armor, much to his and his mother’s frustration. The next day, he meets Huey, Dewey, and Louie, who have become big fans of his. At the Beagle Boys’ hideout, they concoct a new plan to swingle Scrooge. Back at Fenton’s mother’s place, he and his mom discover that her remote control can undo the Gizmoduck suit. Scrooge then calls for Gizmoduck’s help, and Fenton doesn’t yet realize the code word needed to reactivate it.
A lot of plot happens during the commercial break, as we see the Beagle Boys have stormed the Statue of Duckburg and taken hostages, including Scrooge’s nephews. While they threaten to torture the hostages with bagpipe music (!), Fenton and his mother struggle with how to reactivate the suit. When she says the exclamation “Blathering blatherskite,” which is also the codeword, she dons the suit. It still takes a few more minutes before Fenton figures out the codeword and dons the suit himself.
Gizmoduck defeats the Beagle Boys by distracting them with ice cream (!), and then becomes an even bigger celebrity throughout Duckburg. Later, Ma Beagle finds the instruction book for the Gizmoduck armor, which ended up in her car during the previous episode’s action scenes. There’s an extended prison escape where Ma Beagle gets her son Megabyte Beagle of the slammer. Megabyte is able to readd the instruction manual and come up with a plan.
When Gizmoduck is being interviewed on live TV, Megabyte hacks the armor and causes Gizmoduck to run amok on a crime spree through the city. This includes stealing Dandra Dee’s car, with heartsick Fenton apologizing the whole time. Public opinion turns against Gizmoduck as the Beagles send Gizmoduck after Scrooge. Huey, Dewey and Louie find Scrooge tied up, while Gizmoduck moves the money bin again, this time to Ma Beagle’s cabin in the woods.
To be continued!
Humbug: When the Beagle Boys are torturing their hostages with bagpipe music, everyone thinks it’s horrible except for Scrooge. The bagpipe tunes remind of songs from his youth.
Junior Woodchucks: Even before the Gizmoduck fan club is formed, Huey, Dewey and Louie are shown carrying Gizmoduck posters and buttons, suggesting they founded the club.
Maid and maiden: Mrs. Beakley is in one scene, to complain about the bagpipes.
Do the doo: Doofus has a quick wordless cameo when he sits on a seesaw and sends the other kid flying, only for Gizmoduck to rescue the kid.
Pro-rata: According to the Disney Wiki, Fenton’s mother’s name is simply “M’ma Crackshell.” Her running gag is that she’s obsessed with watching TV, including the TV screen on Gizmoduck’s chest. As for Fenton’s love interest Gandra Dee, she gets her car stolen during Gizmoduck’s crime spree, and isn’t too happy about that.
Your move, creep: We lean the Gizmoduck suit doesn’t just contain weapons, but gadgets of all kinds, including a car horn, wigs and glasses for a disguise, and a combined alarm clock and toaster. Also, there’s a gag where he pushes all his buttons at once, and turns into a giant spherical Gizmoduck that appears to do nothing. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism.
Fowl fouls: Instead of the usual three Beagle Boys, this episode has a group of seven – Big Time, Burger, Bounder, Babyface, Bankjob, and Bebop. And yes, this is the first appearance of Megabyte Beagle.
Down in Duckburg: TV reporter Webwa Walters (a parody of Barbara Walters) reappears after she was last seen in “Send in the Clones.” She’ll have quite a few more appearances after this, as well as in the Darkwing Duck spinoff.
Reference row: The episode title spoofs Stanley Kubrick’s 1989 war epic Full Metal Jacket. Gizmoduck represents the duality of man. Also, Fenton’s mother watches parodies of Gilligan’s Island and Let’s Make a Deal.
Thoughts on this viewing: The idea of the Beagle Boys threatening to torture hostages is a little darker than usual, bagpipes notwithstanding. Beyond that, this really feels like one part of a larger movie rather than a single episode. Perhaps this is what gave the producers the idea to make a DuckTales movie.
Next: …and into the fire.
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