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TheRaider.net Research Indy's Influences Legacy DuckTales: The Movie
 
DuckTales: The Movie
Treasure of the Lost Lamp
 

Released by Walt Disney Pictures - 1990

Directed by: Gaëtan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Bob Hathcock, Clive Pallant, Mathias Rodric & Vincent Woodcock
Written by: Alan Burnett
Produced by: Bob Hathcock, Jean-Pierre Quenet & Liza-Ann Warren

With the voices of:
Alan Young .... Scrooge McDuck
Russi Taylor .... Huey/Dewey/Louey
Christopher Lloyd .... Merlock
Richard Libertini .... Dijon
Rip Taylor .... Genie

 

The late 1980s is a significant era for animation enthusiasts. The Saturday Morning Cartoon was slowly giving way to the weekly afternoon shows. The Smurfs was seeing steep competition from weekly shows like G.I. Joe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As the decade wound down, a very big change occurred. Walt Disney Pictures, the final word in feature animation, decided to enter the fray. The best animation studio in the world was going to tackle weekly animated shows for kids, and predictably, they knocked the competition out of the water.

The Disney cartoons had the best animation and writing of all the afternoon kiddy shows. A whole string of hits unfolded during the late 1980s and early 1990s, including Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers, TailSpin, Darkwing Duck, and Goof Troop. Disney dominated the afternoon cartoon market, and it was their flagship show, DuckTales, that started it all and remained the most popular.


Opening titles.

DuckTales followed the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louey, trotting the globe looking for all sorts of ancient treasures to add to Scrooge's deep coffers. The show utilized the famous Raiders of the Lost Ark font for its marquee and became so popular that it inspired a merchandising bonanza that included an award-winning series of Nintendo games. More impressive, Disney brought DuckTales to the big screen in 1990 for a feature length adventure entitled DuckTales: The Movie - Treasure of the Lost Lamp. Quite a mouthful, but the film proved to be as hardy as its title.

The film follows Scrooge and the kids as they quest for the lost treasure of Kali Baba in the sands of Egypt. They find the treasure, but an evil wizard named Merlock steals the treasure, except for the one piece he wanted. It so happens that Kali Baba had a magic lamp, and Scrooge's niece, Webby, happens to snag the lamp for herself before Merlock appears. Now, Merlock hunts for the McDuck estate to get the lamp back, while Webby and the boys discover that the lamp contains a genie that grants they wildest wishes. Misadventures ensue and soon Scrooge is caught between an evil sorcerer and a magic lamp.


Scrooge vs. Merlock

For Indiana Jones fans, the first fifteen minutes is a treat. Scrooge and company fly into an ancient dig site in Egypt, complete with robed diggers, where they unearth a chest with an aged map inside. A Lawrence of Arabia-style camel trek leads them to a unique rock formation where they find a massive pyramid complex buried under the sand. They dig up the structure and enter the pyramid to find a series of traps awaiting them via trick buttons on the floor reminiscent of the spike chamber trap in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. After navigating this series of dangers, they find the treasure of Kali Baba on a pedestal over a pit of killer crabs, reachable only by way of a rickety rope bridge. When Merlock appears, he snaps the bridge, and Scrooge goes sailing back into the pedestal, hanging desperately from the bridge's end, exactly like Indy in Temple of Doom. Their escape via an underground river system also has a distinctly Indy-type feel.


Dijon the guide.

This film is above average kids' fare with a string of gags and jokes that will hold a child's attention for quite some time. For adults however, this film can get old quickly. This movie misrepresents itself right from the start, with a really cool box cover ,drawn by Drew Struzan, that shows Scrooge and company in a temple setting with the magic lamp. Scrooge sports the famous Indiana Jones fedora and the kids are all wearing Gunga Din-style pith helmets. This cover captures the true spirit of the DuckTales series, but the film abandons these ideas all too quickly. Once back home with the lamp, the characters unfortunately never go questing again and the story is confined to Duckberg, their hometown. Never do we see Scrooge in an Indiana Jones hat, or the kids globetrotting to ancient places. The majority of the film is juvenile misadventures with the genie. This is a shame, as the original pilot TV film for DuckTales was a non-stop Indy-style adventure through ancient temples and chambers of gold. DuckTales: The Movie loses itself somewhere between Dijon, Merlock's silly henchman, and the genie's exclamations of "Shabooey!" and never finds itself again. If the film had kept up the atmosphere and spirit established in the first part, it would have been excellent. (MF)

 

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