The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Tuesday, October 8, 1996              TAG: 9610080038
TYPE: Movie Review 
                                            LENGTH:   61 lines


THE MOVIE ``D3,'' not to be confused with ``ID:4'' or ``T-2,'' may be the only film in history that exists because of a sports franchise. One strongly suspects that, in turning out ``D3: The Mighty Ducks,'' the Disney empire wrote the check more because of its ownership of a National Hockey League team than because of any crying need for a new installment on the underdog-kids' hockey team.

Disney, of course, owns the Mighty Ducks team, based in Anaheim, Calif., and the new namesake film is being released to coincide with the new season.

The real problem with another sequel is in keeping the Ducks underdogs. If you keep winning, how can you still be a misfit, put-upon loser?

When last seen, the Ducks, an ethnicly balanced group of kid ``types'' who touch every base of misfit personalities, won the Junior Goodwill Games from an overtly evil Iceland team.

Now, the Ducks get a scholarship to a snooty prep school named Eden Hall and are threatened by the bigger, handsomely perfect varsity team. Is this where we came in, or where we want to get out?

The writers apparently never got as far as prep school, or surely not college, because they come up with only the most unsubtle gags. The Ducks vs. the Preppies turns into a battle involving fire ants placed in the sheets, frozen uniforms, horse-manure sandwiches and the Ducks getting stuck with an expensive dinner tab. It seems any game must be preceded by pranks.

Boys will be boys, you might say, but there is still one girl on the Ducks' team. It's almost insulting how dutifully the ``types'' are trotted out - the fat one, the geeky one with eyeglasses, the handsome team captain, the puny one. They remain ``types'' rather than characters but, by golly, we still are persuaded to root from them against those snooty preppie boys.

Emilio Estevez again gets top billing in spite of the fact that he has only some three scenes. Early in the film, he cuts out in favor of a better position with the Goodwill Games. This sparks the usual brand of ``betrayal'' tears from the team, but Estevez returns to defend them when the stuffy board of Eden Hall tries to pitch them out.

Vocally, there is a rehash of the earlier films - reminding us that he was a drunken, failed lawyer before he learned how to be human by coaching the pee-week league hockey misfits.

We've been there before, not only in the first two ``Duck'' flicks, but in the half dozen identical underdog-misfits-come-from-behind sports flicks they have spawned.

As the Ducks get older, will we eventually have ``D15,'' with the team playing shuffleboard at a home for the elderly? ILLUSTRATION: Photo by WALT DISNEY PICTURES

The Mighty Ducks, now scholarship students at a snooty prep school,

have a new coach, Orion, played by Jeffrey Nordling.



``D3: The Mighty Ducks''

Cast: Emilio Estevez, Jeffrey Nordling, David Selby

Director: Robert Lieberman

MPAA rating: PG (hockey violence, mischievous gags)

Mal's rating: two stars by CNB