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8/18/17

DUCKTALES THE MOVIE: TREASURE OF THE LOST LAMP - REVIEW


Based on the DuckTales TV series and Carl Barks' comics, this feature-length animated adventure was released near the end of the show's run and, although it didn't perform well enough to guarantee further instalments, it was pretty well received overall.

TV shows, animated or otherwise, tend to be hit-and-miss when adapted for the big screen so Disney probably shouldn't have banked too much on DuckTales The Movie unless they had something very cinematic to deliver. The film follows Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad, Webby, Huey, Dewey and Louie as they travel to the Middle East in order to recover Collie Baba's treasure. From this synopsis alone, you can probably guess how the rest of the film goes as this 1001 Nights homage sees the kids get a hold of an Aladdin-style lamp before getting its Genie to grant them wishes. Throw in an evil sorcerer (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) who can turn into animals and you've got yourself this movie. The main focus is the kids wishing for silly things from elephants to toys coming to life with the villainous Merlock waiting in the wings until he can finally get his hands on the lamp. Of course, the Genie dreams of being a real boy and there are various obstacles for Scrooge and the gang to face. On paper, this certainly sounds like a cool, cinema-friendly Indiana Jones-style adventure.

Unfortunately, as good as the animation is, the movie isn't really all that cinematic and its few action sequences lack the "oomph" needed to make Treasure Of The Lost Lamp a must-see blockbuster. It ticks all the right boxes in terms of fun factor and likability so kids and adults alike should have a great time watching it, I know I did, but this really works as just a solid, extra long episode of the show you rent over the weekend rather than the big movie Disney thought it might be. Perhaps a more original plot would have helped, with bigger and more visually arresting action scenes and some character development added to flesh the whole thing out a bit, thereby differentiating it from the series. It isn't very surprising that it was on home video that the movie really thrived. It's a shame that this film's lukewarm box-office performance prevented further instalments as the potential was definitely there but at least the one film we got worked quite well. Some scenes near the end when Merlock finally gets the lamp hint at the bigger and flashier movie that could have been.

There isn't much more to say about this one except that if you enjoy DuckTales, you'll like it. This is a harmless, very entertaining and well made little movie with enough charm and laughs to keep any Disney fan satisfyingly amused throughout.

Predictable but fun.

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