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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

DuckTales: Treasure of the Lost Lamp

All right.  So, yesterday's Tuesday Timeline entry was a bit heavy in terms of subject matter.  So for today's blog topic, I plan on lightening the mood a bit.

Today just happens to be movie night, as "
YOU NEVER NOVEMBER WHAT YOU'RE GONNA GET" continues on with a movie post. 

Now, I bet you probably have guessed that since I plan on lightening up the mood in this blog that this movie will be a children's movie.  And your guess would be right.

In fact, I think that I'll be featuring a Disney film today.  One that I loved a lot when I was a kid.

Now, what makes this film interesting is that it is only one of two films that was based off of a cartoon that aired during the cartoon block called "The Disney Afternoon".

Now, one was "A Goofy Movie" that was based off of the cartoon series "Goof Troop"...but that also happens to be a movie that I don't recall ever seeing!  That surprises me because I did enjoy "Goof Troop" a lot!  But since I have never seen the movie, I can't very well do a blog entry on it.  Maybe another time, I suppose.

So, that leaves the other cartoon that inspired a feature film to be made.  It happens to be one of the first Disney cartoons that I fell in love with bearing the Disney brand name.

Ah, yes.  DuckTales.  For the longest time, this was considered to be my favourite cartoon in the Disney Afternoon cartoon block (well, at least until "Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers" came along).  I watched every single episode of the series, I read the Scrooge McDuck comic books on occasion.  I even played and completed the first DuckTales video game for the Nintendo!

I don't know what it was, but Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack, Mrs. Beakely, Webby Vanderquack, and of course, Huey, Dewey, and Louie kept me entertained for a large chunk of my childhood.

The television show, of course, was set in the city of Duckburg, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie are sent to live with their great-uncle Scrooge McDuck while their Uncle Donald goes away to serve in the Navy.  Not that Donald's nephews complained in any way.  After all, Scrooge McDuck was the richest duck in the world, living in a huge mansion filled with one gigantic vault that was filled with golden coins, shiny gems, and rare treasures.

Still, even though Scrooge McDuck has more money than he could spend in a hundred lifetimes, he still has the desire to acquire even more.  During the entire first season of DuckTales (as well as the two Nintendo video games that were made), Scrooge, Launchpad, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby traveled all around the world to grab more treasures to add to his collection before anybody else could.

Yeah, Scrooge McDuck is one complex character.  Deep down inside, he really does have a caring personality, but his quest to own all the treasures in the world kind of highlights his greed.  It is kind of a conflicting personality.

And I can't think of a better case to showcase Scrooge McDuck's complex personality than the movie that was based on the television show.

Released in theatres in August 1990, "DuckTales The Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp" was one of the few films to be released under the DisneyToon Studios umbrella.  In fact, it was the very first film to be released by that studio division.  It made a total of eighteen million dollars at the box office and is certainly considered to be a favourite among Disney fans.  Now, you may think that eighteen million is not a good showing for a film, and sadly, you would think correctly.  Unfortunately, the DuckTales movie was in direct competition with a number of summer blockbusters which included "Arachnophobia", "Problem Child", and "Young Guns II".  And because of the lack of money it made, plans to make other DuckTales films were scrapped.

However, the film was still quite good.  And, it had all of the voice actors from the cartoon series returning for the movie.  This included Alan Young as Scrooge, Terrence McGovern as Launchpad, and Russi Taylor as Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby.

As well, they brought on Christopher Lloyd and Rip Torn to play roles in the movie as well.  We'll talk about who they played as we go into a brief plot synopsis.

Anyway, Scrooge, Launchpad, Webby, and Scrooge's great-nephews are exploring the Middle East with Scrooge's eyes set on acquiring the hidden treasure of Collie Baba and his Forty Thieves.  They are accompanied by their guide, Dijon (Richard Libertini).  Now, at first, Dijon approaches the group with friendly intentions.  In reality, he is the lackey of a terrible magician named Merlock (Christopher Lloyd), a shape shifting sorcerer whose major goal in life is to acquire a rare treasure - the same treasure that Scrooge is looking for himself.

The group happens to stumble upon a buried pyramid (which in true Disney cartoon logic takes only thirty seconds to unearth despite the fact that it appears to be buried at least a thousand feet below the surface), and they deduce that Collie Baba's treasure is hidden within.  They find a way to avoid all of the pyramid's traps and come face to face with a large cache of gold, jewels...and a mysterious oil lamp.  A lamp that Webby decides would make a great teapot! 

Well, before you know it, Merlock appears, exposes Dijon's duplicitous personality, steals the treasure from Scrooge, and activates a trap that sends the entire - ahem - duck dynasty to a shallow pit crawling with giant scorpions.  They manage to escape danger, but Scrooge is upset that he lost the treasure of Collie Baba to Merlock.  Of course, Webby still has the lamp and offers to give it to Scrooge as a consolation prize, but Scrooge tells her to keep it, believing that the lamp is absolutely worthless.

Or, so he thought.

You see, the lamp was quite tarnished and dirty when it was found, and Webby decides to polish it so that it will be extra special.  But when she rubs the lamp, it causes a small little genie to pop out, surprising Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby!

Turns out that the genie (Rip Torn) has been sealed away in the lamp for centuries, and because they set him free, he allows the whole group to make three wishes a piece.  And of course, Webby makes a ridiculous wish to have a baby elephant for a pet, which immediately arouses the suspicions of Mrs. Beakely and Scrooge.  Fortunately, one of the nephews wishes to undo Webby's wish in order to keep the adults oblivious to the genie. 

For a while, the kids all have fun with the Genie, wishing for a gigantic ice cream sundae, and using a wish to trick Scrooge into allowing theie friend "Gene" to sleep over.  But when an owl flies over the mansion, the Genie freaks out and tells Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby a frightening story about his previous master.  Turns out that his previous master was Merlock, and he made some of the most selfish wishes ever (like immortality for one).  He also possessed a special jewel which would allow him to be granted unlimited wishes should he attach the jewel to the lamp itself.  Of course, the nephews and Webby promise Genie that they won't let that happen - unaware that Merlock and Dijon have been watching them the whole time.

And it also complicates things when after another wish by Webby goes terribly wrong (she wishes that all of her stuffed animals would come to life so that she could have a real tea party), Scrooge discovers that there is a Genie in his mansion.  The dollar signs soon come back into his vision and since he too is granted some wishes, he wants the treasure of Collie Baba back into his possession, which once again causes Merlock to do everything in his power to get the lamp back in his hands.

Of course, this also is witnessed by Dijon, who starts to come up with a plan to use the lamp to his own advantage while twisting the knife into the back of Merlock. 

And what about Genie?  He seems to be only used as a bartering chip in the war between Scrooge and Merlock - something that is widely noticed by Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby.  With all four of them vowing to protect Genie at all costs, will they end up succeeding?

Well, I won't reveal how this movie ends...but I will say that there is a final battle, a lot of magic flying around...and Scrooge probably does one of the most unselfish things he has ever done. 

Interestingly enough, this film seems to share a lot of similarities with 1992's "Aladdin" - which I will admit is my all-time favourite Disney movie.  I guess that's why I can appreciate and enjoy the DuckTales movie.

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