US Animated Movie (1990). Disney Movietoons. Pr Bob Hathcock. Dir Hathcock. Spfx Alan Howarth, Mel Neiman. Screenplay Alan Burnett. Based on Disney's Ducktales comics, in part reprinting work by Carl Barks, and the DuckTales tv series. Voice actors Joan Gerber (Mrs Beakley), Richard Libertini (Dijon), Christopher Lloyd (Merlock), Chuck McCann (Duckworth), Terence McGovern (Launchpad McQuack), Rip Taylor (Genie), Russi Taylor (Huey, Dewey, Louie, Webbigail), Alan Young (Scrooge McDuck). 74 mins. Colour.
The title's proper capitalization is DuckTales. Scrooge McDuck and his associates discover in the Middle East the treasure of Collie Baba, despite the attempts of evil sorcerer Merlock and sidekick Dijon to get there first. Part of the treasure is a battered old lamp, given to Webbigail as a dolls' teapot but in fact containing a Genie who has the classic Wish – eventually granted – to become a Real Boy. Back in Duckburg, the Villains use foul means to try to gain the lamp; in an astonishingly dramatic finale Merlock is destroyed. Disney seemed embarrassed by this movie, releasing it under a new label, Disney Movietoons, to distance it from other animated features; US critics vilified it, some because they saw it as a travesty of Barks. Yet, despite obvious flaws, it is verbally hilarious, its climax is as fine a piece of animation as anything in Aladdin (1992) – of which it is a precursor – and its fond Parody of Indiana Jones-style adventures, and the traditions that gave them birth, is assured. [JG]