My opinion right after watching film
My opinion right after watching the film is that while it was theatrically released, you can tell that it is more suited to be a TV movie. There was no development with the characters, and it felt like an episode of a show. Despite all of that, it is very enjoyable, the plot is actually paced really well, and it is a fun and likable film, though there is like no depth in it at all.
So all that I know about this film’s production was that most of the production was in Paris, and was filled with Europeans working on the film. There is a quote from animator Larry Ruppel about his time working on the film:
“I was the sole American working at the Paris studio during this production, the other creative artists hailing mostly from France, Denmark, Australia and Italy. I’d like to add that this little movie ended up being quite important because of the many notable animation professionals who got their start on this project. Besides myself (I’ve animated numerous Disney projects, also Classic Warner Bros. shorts), there are, among others, DreamWorks animators Sylvain Deboissy and Nicholas Marlet, French animation director Pierre Lyphoudt, and ILM‘s James Baker and Daniel Jeannette. For all the Europeans working on this Disney feature, it was a dream come true, and because most of us were working on a feature for the first time in our lives, in a way it was our Snow White. As the only American on staff, there were many occasions when I had to explain to supervisors or other animators the exact meaning of some American slang phrases used in the dialogue of the script.”
At this point, the studio was called MovieToons instead of DisneyToons.
The film starts with the crew Scrooge McDuck (Alan Young), Huey, Louie, Dewey, and Webby (Russi Taylor) being flown to the Middle East by Launchpad McQuack (Terrence McGovern), and they have a rough landing. They are looking for the treasure of the “Collie Baba and his Forty Thieves”. Webby gives Scrooge a map of the Collie Baba.
A huge rat and magician named Merlock sees this from above, and tells his assistant Dijon to steal the map for them, and that he should be Scrooge’s guide, before he takes the map, and Merlock will be following them in a disguise. The ducks find a hidden pyramid, where the Map ends up being. They go through many of the booby traps, before they finally get the map.
So they gather bag fulls of the treasure, as they take all of it, so some can be in the museums, and others for themselves. A bunch of scorpions approach them, and Merlock flies in and transforms to take the bag with the lamp in it, before lighting the ladders, so the ducks can be killed. Merlock and Dijon soon realize that they do not have the lamp, and that the ducks too.
They make it back to Duckburg, and 2 days later, it is confirmed that the kids have the lamp. They rub it, and a genie (Rip Taylor) comes out.
Scrooge comes home, and is told by Mrs. Beakely (Joan Gerber) that there is an elephant in his house. He runs to the kids, and is pissed off that they are playing tricks on her. He sees that there is a kid named Gene (who is really the genie in an anthropomorphic duck disguise), and the kids asks if he can stay over for the night, which Scrooge approves of.
We get some filler with the kids wishing for a huge ice cream bowl, and when they come home, they are about to be grounded by Mr. Scrooge (thanks to Mrs. Beakely), but they make a wish for him to forget what he was about to say, which causes him to hug them.
Merlock and Dijon travel to Duckburg to get the item, and Merlock transforms to a rat, so he can sneak in the house. Question. How in the hell does he know where they live? Is it well known where these people live? Anyways, Mrs. Beakely sees the rat, and loses her shit, grabbing a broom, and swinging around the house to kill it. Webby takes Gene into her room to play with all of her dolls, teddy bears, etc, and she wishes for them to come alive, which causes even more chaos.
Scrooge takes Genie and his lamp to the event at the museum (he sells his findings at the museum), and Genie wants to leave the lamp, only for Scrooge to tell him to shrink and watch the party inside a tree. When Scrooge is about to be presented to everyone, Genie runs up to him, as he sees Merlock and Dijon enter the museum. Scrooge thinks it is a good idea to run to him, and things get crazy. Genie forces Scrooge to hide in a room, and after a long story short, Scrooge returns home ti find out the lamp he has is not the real lamp, and he enters his office only to see Dijon and the Genie there; Dijon wished for his fortune.
Merlock (who was outside the house as an eagle) turns into a cockroach to enter the house, so he can get the lamp. The ducks are on their way back t the house, and they formulated a plan to stop Dijon and Merlock. The three of them end up in the same room, right as Dijon is about to make a wish. Merlock puts the talisman and the lamp together, which gives him unlimited wishes.
His first wish is to turn the home into his old home, and all of the ducks run to the Money Bin to reverse everything they did with the lamp but Melrock catches up to them. He wishes for Scrooge to go far away, and when he is leaving, Scrooge gets a hold of the lamp. This causes Merlock to turn into an eagle to fly after him. He is fighting with Scrooge over the lamp, only for Scrooge to knock his talisman out of his hand, causing Merlock to change (being powerless), and to fly to his death. Scrooge has the lamp, and wishes that him and his family were in Duckburg, and soon enough, everything is returned to normal. Scrooge uses his final wish for Genie to be a real boy (where would we get that from?). Dijon is still at the house trying to steal money, and the film ends with Scrooge chasing after Dijon and his money in the street.
The characters in this film are alright. There is no development with any of them, and they don’t really have depth, but you don’t need that for every…..film…….right?……..maybe? Probably not. The characters are likable in their own way, and they will not irritate you.
I am not including Mrs. Beakley and Launchpack McQuack because they were way too minor, and did not really do anything in the film.
The animations is the typical TV animation. It is not to say that it is bad, since it is pretty good, but you can tell at least by the quality that it is TV animation, though……it was released theatrically. I could not find any major inconsistencies, and it looked nice enough, so I do not have any issue with the animation.
The music is the typical adventure music with an Arabian themed score. There are no songs, but the music does establish the setting and the adventure theme well enough…… when I remember there is music in the film.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on August 3rd, 1990, the film id not make a lot of money, and it was a financial disappointment to Disney, as it made a domestic amount of $18,115,724 (there is no international gross). Because of this, Disney cancelled all of the planned Duck Tales films.
It was well received by critics, but some felt like the film dumbed down the quality of the original comics of DuckTales.
From what I have seen, many people do not even know that this is technically the first DisneyToons films, but thinks that The Return of Jafar is. I do not hear many people discussing this film, and I do know that the show is more popular than the film.
= 27/40 = 68%