For those of you that don’t know, DuckTales was an extremely popular cartoon on the Disney Afternoon. DuckTales was one of my particular favorites out of the successful lineup. It was so popular that it even got its own movie green-lit. It was the story that followed Uncle Scrooge and his nephews, as well as Webby, on their many adventures.
Before watching this movie as an adult, I could have sworn that I had seen it as a child but after viewing, I discovered that I hadn’t. Though I have seen many episodes of the show, I had never seen this movie.
DuckTales and the Treasure of the Lost Lamp was released in 1990 with a run-time of only 74 minutes. The movie begins with the gang on a mission to find buried treasure. They discover a pyramid, which one of them trips over the top of, because it was buried. In a somewhat ludicrous move, it shows them digging the full-sized pyramid out with shovels. Yes, I know it’s a cartoon but still. We see our villain of the movie fairly early on because he is tracking Scrooge’s journey. While Scrooge is looking for the treasure, the main “baddie” Merlock, is looking for the titular lamp. The lamp, by the way, contains a genie that our duck pals are very unaware of.
Eventually, we return to Duckburg and spend the majority of the movie there. All of our favorite characters are in the movie, like the ever funny Launchpad McQuack, such a great character that was created for the show and actually carried over to other programs such as another one of my favorites; Darkwing Duck.
By what I have written so far you can tell the story is fairly simple. The bad guy follows the ducks back to Duckburg, meanwhile, the nephews unleash the genie to grant them their wishes. And this, my friends, is the worst part of the movie for me. Why is this sweet, little, genie the worst part you ask? Because it is voiced by Rip Taylor. Now, if you love Rip Taylor then this might by your favourite part of the film but for me, not so much. It single handily ruined it for me.
The regular cast of DuckTales was spot on just like the afternoon show. There was one shining star and that was a new character voiced by Christopher Lloyd named Merlock. Merlock was voiced perfectly by Lloyd who proved he could make a good villain in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” with his portrayal of Judge Doom. Also playing his sidekick, Dijon, was Richard Libertini, who did a good job in the role he was given.
A little bit of trivia about the voice of Uncle Scrooge. He was actually voiced by Alan Young who some older folks might remember as Wilbur from the television show Mister Ed. I’ll assure you I was astonished when I found this out a couple of years ago. I was a big fan of Mister Ed growing up thanks to “Nick at Night” on Nickelodeon. So finding this out made me happy to know that two things in my geeky little world were somehow linked.
After seeing this for the first time as an adult, I would say to skip it. It does an injustice to what DuckTales did on a daily basis as a part of the Disney Afternoon, which they have on DVD in a few volumes, so do yourself a favor and pick them up. The animation is gorgeous and the voice work is something to be commended.
I imagine that the main reason that Disney put this out was to piggyback on the successful television run. It was probably cheap to put out and made a good amount at the box office, but in the end, it was just a poor episode of something that should have been seen on television.