DAF Retro Review: DuckTales: Episode 10 – ‘Robot Robbers’

DuckTales Robot RobbersDAF Retro Review Special Contributor Nate takes a look back at the classic episode from DuckTales, “Robot Robbers”.

Original Broadcast: 25 September 1987 (USA)

Director: Alan Zaslove / Writer: Carl Barks (story), Michael Keyes / Cast:  Alan Young, Peter Cullen, June Foray, Chuck McCann, Terence McGovern, Hal Smith

Scrooge McDuck learns that he has lost a construction bid to Flintheart Glomgold who has commissioned Gyro Gearloose to invent a team of giant human(or duck)-operated construction robots. When Ma Beagle and her Beagle Boys hijack the robots, Scrooge and Flintheart must temporarily unite to stop the robbers from wreaking havoc on Duckburg. Adapted from the original 1965 Carl Barks comic entitled “The Giant Robot Robbers.”

THE GOOD:

-“The long arm of the law is no match for the big foot of the Ma!” That one line, uttered by Ma Beagle as she crushes a squad car with the giant foot of her robot, basically sums up everything I love about this episode. It’s ridiculous, hilarious, and oh so clever!

-Robot Robbers marks the first appearance of Ma Beagle, the mother of the notorious Beagle Boys. While Ma Beagle would reappear several times throughout the show’s history, personally I feel this particular episode is her best. From beginning to end, this is, hands-down, Ma Beagle’s episode! Played by voice-acting legend June Foray, Ma’s at the top of her game with the perfect blend of criminal nastiness and motherly sass. Moreover, the scene where she evades a security guard using a stealthy set of ninja-like ballet moves is as entertaining as it is absurd. Classic Ma!

-This is also one of the very few times, if not the only time, where Scrooge and Flintheart have to put their differences aside and work together. Seeing these old misers side by side dealing with the same situation is a perfect way of displaying their differences and similarities. I think it’s safe to say that Scrooge and Flintheart have a lot in common. The only real difference would be Flintheart’s lack of certain ethics… but this time, he plays it straight for once, and actually comes out ahead of Scrooge! It’s fun to see how both characters deal with this. There’s even a nice little moment where Scrooge wonders if all his time being “number one” has made him soft and afraid to take risks. A soliloquy from an old duck lamenting over exercising too much caution on the subject of giant robots. That’s deep stuff.

DuckTales Robot Robbers Title Card

THE BAD:

-Both Burger and Bouncer Beagle were played by voice actor Chuck McCann. While normally Mr. McCann’s performance on DuckTales is spot on, in this episode Bouncer Beagle’s voice is accidentally used for Burger Beagle. It’s the kind of sloppy mistake you don’t normally find on a show like this and it does negatively affect a little of the enjoyment of the episode.

DuckTales Comic The Giant Robot Robbers

THE CONCLUSION:

This is only the tenth episode of Ducktales and it keeps the series zooming right along without a single lull in sight. With stunning animation, lovable characters, and an effective story, Robot Robbers, like the majority of Ducktales, lives up to the Disney standard of excellence and is a timeless classic! Extra kudos to the show-runners for adapting a Carl Barks story into the show.

This episode was released on DVD as part of DuckTales: Volume One. Make sure you pick up a copy today right HERE!

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