30 November 2019 | jwwalrath-227-85487
Really good and criminally underexposed
This comedy adventure cartoon show is about Donald Duck (voiced by Tony Anselmo) and his colleagues traveling around the world trying to stop the evil Lord Felldrake (Kevin Michael Richardson). This originally first premiered in 2018, but it was only in the Philippines, and later SouthEast Asia, though this was an American production. I've heard good things about this and have been waiting for the chance to see this. It just came out on Disney+ this Nov. (sadly with no publicity) and I really liked this and am surprised this didn't come out sooner. (Maybe Disney didn't want the show to compete with the new Ducktales).
The Legend of the Three Caballeros is a throwback to the style of Disney in the 50s or 60s. If you feel that a lot of today's character design is too simplistic, cheap, or even ugly-looking than you'll be pleased by this. All the characters are animated in the traditional format. Besides that, the show just looks great in general. The whole thing is really colorful. A lot of design work goes into this. The characters jump from one imaginative-looking place to the next. The Caballeros' base of operations is in Quackmore College. While not a large amount of time is spent there, the above shots show that the animators spent a lot of time in planning the makeup of the place.
The show is also smartly written. I have already mentioned how the places that the Caballeros visit are imaginative-looking but also are the situations they're in. Although the characters go on episodic adventures, there is a surprisingly serialized through line for the whole thing.
If you have kids, the first episode runs the risk of them losing interest before the show gets good. I'm afraid that that one relies too much on classic slapstick and spends a lot of time setting up the story.
Good cast of characters in this. The show has the Donald Duck many remember growing up with. Several more recent versions of Donald on TV and games either tone down his negative aspects or in the case of those 40's-esque Mickey Mouse shorts is a little off-center. We get the classic Donald traits: ill-fortuned and ill-tempered with bouts of mischievous self-servedness that never go too far. The other two Caballeros work well. Jose (Eric Bauza) is the nice guy and ladies' man and Panchito (Jane the Virgin's Jaime Camil) is the oblivious kook. They are aided by the Greek Goddess Xandra (Grey Griffin), which is an odd addition in theory given that she is a deity and humanoid who is surrounded by animal people. But the character being the straight man and adventurous goal-driven one jives surprisingly well with the others. The Caballeros' wacky handy man Artie (Dee Bradley Baker) is a fine source for visual humor.
Interestingly, this is the first animated appearance (besides a dialogue-free cameo in the House of Mouse) of Daisy Duck's nieces April, May, and June (Jessica Diciccio) in animation. (They were originally created for the comics in the 50's. I hear they regularly appear in Denmark ones.) They appear instead of Donald's nephews in this. (I'm wondering if Disney didn't give permission to use them because they didn't want them competing with the versions starring in the new Ducktales.)
The villains Felldrake and Baron Von Shelldrake (Seinfeld's and Third Rock from the Sun's Wayne Knight) are fairly amusing villains. (They've got a Shredder/Krang-esque situation going on.) However, the constant bits of Felldrake belittling Shelldrake get old real fast. Not a fan of how they done did Daisy Duck (Tress MacNeille) in this. The way she treats Donald feels unhealthy and toxic.
There are some songs in this. With the exception of the opening theme, which is a kick ass adaptation of the Three Caballeros song, they are surprisingly non-melodic.
Unfortunately from what I hear, this is a one-season-and-done show. This is a truly entertaining cartoon that I hope one day it gets its due.