Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Duck in the Iron Mask," part three

Huey backs up into the GARGOYLE STATUE OF GREEN FEAR and gets scared of it and they bump into each other and fall down the roof as the harpoon manages to latch onto the roof end gargoyle statue (in gold this time). Huey and Louie hang onto the rope as they climb down onto the street. 

As noted in my last post, any idea that Disney is unduly "protecting" the Nephews is pretty much shot to hell by this whole sequence. Basically, only good fortune saves Huey and Louie's tail feathers here.

they bump into the FAKE GREEN CLOAK OF EVASION and then into the PUPPET GUY OF DEATH as it comes down towards them much to their horror as the segment ends 15 and a half minutes in. Okay; now this episode is starting to really go south for me.
This is a pretty weak cliffhanger, made weaker by the fact that the Toon Disney version deleted the scene where Huey is lighting a match.

So we cut to outside on the streets as Huey and Louie are dressed up as Muskteers [sic]; only color coordinated. Okay; I cannot take them seriously as Montedumians in those outfits.

I always found it fairly amazing that the boys found form-fitting Musketeer garb with the "correct" colors. Even more amazing, Dewey suddenly appears in similar garb later in the ep. That bothers me far more than the simple fact of their wearing Musketeer garb, which, it should be noted, does seem reasonable in this "land-out-of-time" setting.

Scrooge then goes to the iron barred window and hears the nephews as they are at the bridge. He asks where Dewey is and they tell him that he is still locked in the castle. Louie doesn't know what to do because Dewey has the rescue plans part of the triplets. See; this is why I like Kit: one character, jack of all trades. Simple enough.
Actually, I'm more surprised by the fact that Huey and Louie, who are plenty intelligent themselves, couldn't figure out a plan of their own. At the time I first watched this ep, I put the "blank-drawing" down to old-fashioned panic. Huey and Louie are young kids, after all. Still, the fact that Dewey possesses a unique ability ties in nicely to the story's theme of "individuality within teamwork."

Scrooge proclaims that they can chip through a brick since the cement is old; but Roy proclaims that they need tools to make that work. Scrooge tells him to use his iron beak like a woodpecker. See; if they had bypassed all of this nephew in the guestroom, this spot would still work. But no; we have to do a contrived angle of Dewey being pissed off for looking like Huey and Louie so the MORAL OF THE STORY is met. 
Well, in order for Scrooge's plan to work, the prisoners have to have someone to help them out of the tower. I can't see them jumping down from that height by themselves, can you?

So we logically head to the entrance of the CASTLE OF DOOM as the babyfaces practice the fine art of not being seen. And then we cut back to the ultra moronic and ultra contrived hallway as the pig furry wakes up and checks the eye peeper again only to see three mirrors of Dewey's image waving at him. Count Ray deserves what he is ultimately going to get for his moronic decision to please Disney's hell bent rules to protect the nephews. 
As previously noted, Glut cleaned up this loose end pretty effectively.

The pig closes the eye peeper and tries to go back to sleep but the MOAN OF DOOM beckons and he is scared as the DUCK IN THE IRON MASK stalks towards him. The pig furry runs away which makes ZERO SENSE (I thought he was part of Pietro's army? unless he was PART of Count Roy's court and was decieved as the rest of the villagers.)
Perhaps the guard was worried that Roy was bent on revenge?

So we head into the throne room which so happens to gain a square table and chairs despite not existing in the room earlier in the episode. Lord; please take me now! This joke of an episode was nice for a while; now it's time to mercy kill it.
I'll give you this one, Greg. At least the staircases are still there...

Ray gets his epee as the adult babyfaces back into the corner while the heels advance and then here come the nephews as they throw golden epees to the babyfaces. Oh; that wasn't contrived in the very least; no siree. And Dewey is now wearing that silly outfit.
The last part of this is easily the most contrived. An old castle in a quasi-medieval country surely should have a few spare swords lying around.

We then get a shot of the nephews as Dewey gives the signal and Huey and Louie grab the big ass ax and they chop the rope which so happens to contain the CHANDLIER [sic] OF DEATH and it drops onto the heels. Okay; that was lame, although it was probably needed to redeem Dewey in the writer's eyes. I thought his contrived plan to escape was the redeeming factor? 
I think that Dewey had already redeemed himself by his decisions to (1) use his individual ability to concoct an escape plan and (2) use the fact that he is identical to his brothers to make the plan work (thus rejoining the "team," as it were). The "chandelier kill" was icing on the cake by comparison.

Count Roy is back to normal as he blows off his evil brother (yeah right? Pietro's the REAL EVIL ONE in this episode) as he tells him never to return; or he becomes the Duck In The Iron Pants. Ummm; why not just put him in their as punishment?! I know Roy is supposed to be fair; but Ray put him into the mask; so Roy should wear the iron pants. Fair is fair right?!
I think this was meant to be a tribute to "The Duck in the Iron Pants," a Barks story in which Donald uses a suit of armor to invade the Nephews' snow fort.

So we go to the SCENE CHANGER OF DOOM as the helicopter rises into the air BEFORE HAPPY HOUR (sunset) as we head inside the passenger area as the nephews thank Dewey for the contrived escape plan. Which wouldn't have been needed if Ray wasn't such an idiot and Dewey wasn't so thin skinned. Dewey thanks them and thinks the costumes are great. They clash swords and cut a Three Muskateers [sic] promo as Louie proclaims that Dewey is one of a kind. You wish Louie; you wish. Dewey agrees with them and more as the helicopter flies northwest to mercifully end the episode.

I think this is a neat little scene, especially the ending exchange. As a team, the boys are "one of a kind," with each being an amalgam of high-spirited child and reasoning adult. At the end of this episode, though, they have a newfound knowledge that individual specialties can make a team work even better. The dysfunctionally "different" Nephews of Quack Pack should have been so fortunate.

All the longtime Duck fans I know have absolutely no problem with the "Nephew identity angle" being made the core of this episode. Indeed, I think that longtime Duck fans probably appreciate the (at the time) unprecedented "departure from book" far more than the average viewer who comes upon the episode "cold." In that respect, I can understand Greg's reaction. In his "summary line," Greg does admit that the story contained relatively few logic breaks and good animation (though I think the latter could have been a bit better, myself). So I'll put our "dispute" down to a simple difference in perspective based on our past experiences with the Ducks. Unfortunately, I think that the continuing flow of new comics material after DuckTales ceased production has had the effect of erasing memories of just how good DT stories such as "Mask" tended to be, both as "generic" animated plotlines and as Duck stories.


Gregory Weagle said...

Really interesting post there Chris. And a really good three or four posts at that. I plan to address the posts soon.

The Youtube videos being used are Toon Disney versions of the episode; so it doesn't surprise me that the Huey lighting the match part was snipped since TaleSpin had match lighting snipped from their episodes during the Disney Channel phase onwards.

Kneon Transitt said...

The word on the street is that Boom is renaming/retooling its Disney comics: http://bit.ly/kI0dl