August 3, 1990 – Ducktales: The Movie, Treasure of the Lost Lamp is Released to Theaters
“Big wishes always spell big trouble. The bigger the wish, the bigger the trouble!”
On August 3, 1990, the animated film Ducktales: The Movie, Treasure of the Lost Lamp was released to theaters. Based on the popular animated television series and comic series by Carl Barks, the film was an international production, with tasks done in the United States, England, France, and China. The film was directed by Bob Hathcock, with screenplay by Alan Burnett. It stars Alan Young as Scrooge, Terence McGovern as Launchpad, Russi Taylor as the nephews and Webby, Rip Taylor as Gene, Richard Libertini as Dijon, and Christopher Lloyd as Merlock.
The film begins with Scrooge’s plane speeding through canyons, with Scrooge dismayed in finding that Launchpad never went to flight school. Scrooge, his nephews, and Webby are approaching an archaeological site where, supposedly, the treasure of Collie Baba and his forty thieves was hidden in a secret chamber. Unfortunately, Launchpad destroys most of the ancient ruins, and the plane, in the process of landing. The workers take Scrooge to a chest they found, and Scrooge believes it to be the treasure. When he opens the chest, however, he only finds old robes. Louie finds a map in one of the coat pockets, and Scrooge takes the map. One of the workers named Dijon runs off to his master, the warlock Merlock, who has been looking for the treasure for centuries. Merlock demands that Dijon follow Scrooge to the location on the map and steal the treasure, which he knows is a magic lamp. Scrooge soon heads out into the desert, and they arrive at the location on the map.
After digging up the secret pyramid where the treasure is located, the group goes inside to explore, and end up falling down a trap door. As they do, they find the location of the treasure, and excitedly leap across a rope bridge to get to it. Webby finds a lamp, and asks if she can keep it as part of her tea set. Scrooge agrees, and Dijon makes off with the rest of the treasure, joined by Merlock, who destroys the rope bridge before Scrooge and the gang are able to make their way back across. Seeing several large scorpions waiting below, the nephews and Launchpad come up with a quick plan to get out alive. Outside, Merlock is digging thought the treasure, unable to find the lamp. Believing that Scrooge has it, Merlock turns into a large bird and searches for Scrooge. After escaping the pyramid, Scrooge is depressed, as he has lost the treasure he’d been searching for forty years. Webby offers the lamp, but Scrooge allows her to keep it. Merlock is unable to find Scrooge, and demands that Dijon finds Scrooge and retrieves the lamp.
Back in Duckburg, Webby is polishing the lamp, when it starts to move. Huey then rubs the lamp, and a genie pops out. Although he’s at first confused as to where he is, he soon is grateful for the kids letting him out. The four kids are excited about their prospect of having three wishes each, with Webby making the first wish for a baby elephant as a pet. The genie is worried that by granting such a huge wish, people will know he exists and come to take him away. Their nanny, Mrs. Beakley, finds the elephant, and Huey begrudgingly wishes away the elephant before she can show Scrooge. The kids take genie to hide in their room, but he slips on a skateboard when Scrooge is lecturing the kids on teasing Mrs. Beakley; fortunately, he takes on the guise of a kid, with the kids naming him Gene. After Scrooge begrudgingly allows Gene to stay the night, the kids set to work on asking Gene for their wishes. Gene reveals to the kids his desire of wanting to be just like the kids, and his fear of his meanest master, Merlock. The kids tell Gene that Merlock has to be dead by now, but Gene reveals that Merlock’s first wish is to live forever. The biggest problem, he then explains, is that Merlock holds a magic talisman that, once placed on the lamp, allows the wearer unlimited wishes. The kids reassure Gene that Merlock has no idea that Gene is with them before going to sleep.
The next morning, Merlock and Dijon arrive at Scrooge’s mansion, ready to steal the lamp, while the kids play with Gene as if he were a real boy. Merlock sneaks into the house as a rat, and unknowingly catches the attention of Mrs. Beakley, who beats him with a broom. Gene isn’t enjoying playing tea party with Webby, and accidentally gives her the idea to wish that all of her toys and dolls would come to life. The toys begin to terrorize the house, and when Gene asks Webby to turn them all back to toys, she regretfully tells him that she’d just used her last wish. Scrooge leaves his office to find the house run amok by toys, and demands an explanation. Louie angrily uses his last wish to turn everything back to normal, revealing to Scrooge Gene’s true identity. Scrooge takes the lamp from the kids, and his first wish is to have the treasure of Collie Baba. Scrooge then attends the Archaeological Ball, taking Gene with him. Merlock and Dijon follow him to the party to steal Gene. At the party, Scrooge start to announce that he found the treasure, but Gene takes Scrooge away in order to avoid capture by Merlock. Merlock turns into a bear to better attack Scrooge, but Gene helps Scrooge to hide by taking him inside the lamp.
After Merlock leaves, Gene tells Scrooge that he wishes to be a real boy, and Scrooge softens at this confession. When they see Merlock searching for him from the sky, Scrooge demands that Gene return to the lamp for his own protection. As Scrooge makes his way out, he trips over a food cart, knocking its contents to the floor. Thinking it’s the lamp, Scrooge grabs a gravy boat by mistake, leaving the lamp and Gene behind to be picked up by Dijon. As Dijon rushes to take the lamp to Merlock, Gene convinces Dijon to instead keep the lamp for himself. When Scrooge arrives home at his mansion, he is shocked to find that Dijon has wished for Scrooge’s fortune, and Scrooge is promptly arrested. As Scrooge sits in a jail cell, he is soon visited by his nephews, Webby, Mrs. Beakley, Duckworth, and Launchpad, who paid for his bail. The nephews get an idea to sneak back into the mansion to get Gene and Scrooge’s possessions back. Scrooge and the others plan a full scale attack to get inside, but don’t realize that Merlock, disguised as a cockroach, has also snuck in after them. Inside, while Dijon is distracted, Merlock steals the lamp, and his first act is to turn Dijon into a pig. He then turns Scrooge’s home into a fortress, and sends it flying to his home in the desert.
When Scrooge threatens to attack Merlock, Merlock retaliates by sending Scrooge flying from the fortress, but the nephews use their marbles to knock the lamp away from Merlock. As Scrooge and the lamp hurtle towards the Earth, Merlock chases after them in the guise of a griffin. The two struggle in the air, and Scrooge manages to knock Merlock’s talisman away, grab the lamp, and wish everything back to normal. Scrooge uses his last wish to make Gene a real boy, much to Gene’s excitement. Dijon, who was crawling around as a pig in Scrooge’s vault, turns back into a human, and the movie ends with the kids playing and Scrooge chasing Dijon down the streets of Duckburg for stealing Scrooge’s gold.
An extremely underrated and forgotten film!