Western Animation / DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp


DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp marked the first theatrical animated movie by The Walt Disney Company that was not part of their animated feature canon (being produced by Walt Disney Animation, France S.A., which would later transfer from Television Animation work to Feature Animation work), and their first movie based on one of their television shows. It is based on DuckTales and was released shortly before the series' last few episodes originally aired. It was also the only film released under the short-lived "Disney Movietoons" division.

The film opens on Scrooge, Launchpad, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby arriving at a dig site where Scrooge's diggers have found a map to a treasure Scrooge has been seeking for forty years - the treasure of Collie Baba and his 40 Thieves. Unbeknownst to them, Dijon, a digger with a severe case of kleptomania, is working for an evil sorcerer named Merlock, who is also seeking the treasure so that he can get his hands on a magic lamp that Collie Baba stole from him so long ago. Just as Scrooge and company find the treasure, Merlock steals it right from under their beaks. However, before he could do that, Webby found the lamp Merlock was seeking, which Scrooge allowed her to keep as a toy for her tea party set. Thus, Scrooge and company end up coming home with the very thing Merlock was looking for.

Back in Duckburg, the kids discover that the lamp contains a fun-loving genie, who disguises himself as a kid like them and grants their wishes without Scrooge knowing. Scrooge eventually finds out about the genie, and soon wishes for Collie Baba's treasure to be brought to his mansion so that he can finally brag about it to his patrons in the Archaeological Society. Unfortunately, Merlock and Dijon are still on the hunt for the genie, and they know that Scrooge has it...

In spite of the popularity of the DuckTales cartoon, the film did poorly at the box office, and as a result, plans to make more DuckTales films and a movie based on Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers were scrapped. Two years later, Disney would produce a more successful movie involving a genie who lived in a lamp...

Despite that however, fans of the series were happy it got a movie at all, and cite it as a great cult classic nonetheless.

This Disney animated film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absentee Actor:
    • Neither Bubba or Fenton/Gizmoduck appear in the movie.
    • Flintheart Glomgold, Magica de Spell, and the Beagle Boys, the series' main villains, are absent too and instead get replaced with Merlock and Dijon.
  • Agony of the Feet: Launchpad giving a kick to the top of the pyramid buried under the sands.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: While infiltrating the Money Bin, Webby has to crawl through the air vent into the security room and then open the door for the boys.
  • Animation Bump: This movie features some of the most beautiful Disney animation of the early 1990s.
  • Animorphism: Merlock's main power. Over the course of the movie he changes into many animals, including a vulture, a rat, a bear, an eagle, a puma, a cockroach, and a griffon at the climax.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • In the movie, Genie mentions that Merlock wished for Atlantis to sink and Mt. Vesuvius to erupt. The Comic-Book Adaptation adds that Merlock was also responsible for the creation of anchovy pizza. However, his wish came true as he made Atlantis sink. Unfortunately for Disney, another movie was made, involving the sinking of Atlantis, entitled Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
    • When Scrooge learns the extent of Dijon's wish for his fortune, he discovers that Dijon owns his mansion, his factories, and even his spat collection.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Dijon gets turned into a pig for his treason as Merlock's first wish when he retrieves the lamp.
  • Ball of Light Transformation: Unlike other genies who would rather turn into smoke, the genie here (and anybody he brings inside the lamp with him) becomes a small cloud of sparks or a mote of light to enter/exit the lamp.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Genie explicitly warns the kids about this after Webby wishes for a baby elephant. Yes, she has the elephant, but she has no way of hiding it from Scrooge or Mrs. Beakley. In fact, when the elephant inevitably starts breaking things, Huey has to waste one of his wishes just to get rid of it.
  • Become A Real Duck: Scrooge uses his final wish, to give Genie a real life of his very own. The Lamp crumbles to dust without the magical being. Although one can argue, this is a miracle not a wish, (see Headscratchers) and therefore could not have been granted in the exact way Scrooge requested it.
  • Berserk Button: Mrs. Beakley really does not take kindly to rats in a house...
  • Bears are Bad News: Appropriately combined with Oh, Crap!:
    (Merlock is smashing the door in his bear form)
    Scrooge: (confused) He has a bear?
    Genie: (panicked) He is the bear!
  • Benevolent Genie: The genie is a curious but good-natured fellow who even tells the nephews that he is "eternally grateful" when they first free him. He takes no pleasure in granting wishes that are liable to cause trouble or are otherwise harmful, but he can't resist for long before he is somehow compelled into bringing it into existence anyway. He even warns them early on to try and keep the wishes relatively subtle, as flashy displays of his magic invariably cause trouble. Not least of which is a former master of his, an immortal sorcerer who has a talisman that gives him limitless wishes and a very cruel nature. Two other wishes the genie was forced to grant him included sinking Atlantis back when it was a prime vacation spot after the sorcerer couldn't get a reservation and causing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius (in his words, "Poor Pompeii! Vesuvius wouldn't have blown its top if Merlock hadn't!"). The genie openly weeps when recounting these facts.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: The cowardly and greedy Dijon knows full well that he's just the lackey of the ancient sorcerer Merlock, but when he accidentally gets control of the genie's lamp he abandons his master and briefly takes over Duckburg. Merlock sneaks into the palace by hitching a ride with the Ducks and demonstrates who the real villain is.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": When Dijon takes Scrooge's fortune, the dollar sign-like S on the front of the Money Bin (for Scrooge) turns into a D (for Dijon); this can be seen when Scrooge makes it there from the resort and before he runs into Dijon in the office.
  • The Cameo: A portrait of Donald Duck is placed back on a wall in Scrooge's mansion after Louie wishes for Webby's toys to return to their lifelessness.
  • Cane Fu: Scrooge.
  • Captain Crash: Launchpad, as in the series, but here given a Lampshade Hanging as Launchpad admits that he's never had full flight classes, only a crash course.
  • Catch Phrase: Genie says "Shabooey!" whenever excited or alarmed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The boys' marbles, which helped them get through Collie Baba's Booby Trapped pyramid also helps them disable the Money Bin's alarms and later knock the lamp out of Merlock's hands.
  • The Chew Toy: Merlock may be evil, but he also goes through a good deal of physical humiliation before he gets the lamp. This includes getting swallowed by a stuffed tiger, swatted by Mrs. Beakley, zapped by a laser, and stepped on.
  • Chickification: Mrs. Beakley suffers from this. The reason Mrs. Beakley was hired as the triplets' nanny was because she was the only one "tough enough" to handle the little terrors, and for the first few episodes, she lives up to the job: breaking characters out of prison, escaping giant penguin-eating walruses, chariot-racing Vikings... and by DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, she's nothing more than a weeping fainting woman.
  • Colon Cancer: The poster implies the title is actually spelled as Duck Tales: The Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, but most people prefer the alternate for obvious reasons.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: When Merlock crashes the Archaeological Society Ball in bear form, Genie tosses the lamp into a chandelier and drags Scrooge in with him. Scrooge starts complaining about being stuck in the lamp, even though he would've probably been killed by Bear-Merlock if Genie hadn't pulled him in.
    Scrooge: GET ME OUT OF HERE!!
    Genie: Do you have to yell at me all the time?
    Scrooge: I wouldn't even be in this mess if it weren't for you!
  • Constantly Curious: Genie. Also an established bookworm.
  • Cutting the Knot: While breaking into the Money Bin (now under Dijon's control), the boys fail to navigate their way through the Laser Hallway to the alarm panel. Thus unable to deactivate the alarms, they simply destroy the panel from across the room with their marbles.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Genie heavily implies to Huey, Dewey and Louie that Merlock forced him to kill thousands of people. It does not show very much in the beginning, but as the story progresses it becomes apparent that Genie is so haunted by his past that mere shadows of birds and mentions of wishes are potential triggers.
  • Darkest Hour: As the climax rolls around, Dijon gets the lamp and wishes his fortune... by taking Scrooge's. He takes everything from him: the Money Bin, his enterprise, even his house. What little money the team is left with had to be given up to get Scrooge back from Dijon's goons. And then Merlock takes the lamp and raises a giant castle in the middle of Duckburg.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Webby does this twice with her wishes. For her first wish, she asks for a baby elephant, without considering how she's going to explain where said elephant came from to the grownups; in any case, the elephant quickly runs amok and has to be wished away. Later, she wishes for her toys to come to life without stopping to think that she might not be able to control them. They likewise run amok, and again a wish has to be wasted in getting rid of them.
    • Merlock himself suffers this as he finds out the hard way that transforming into a rat to search a house is not a good idea.
  • Disc One Final Boss: The first climax revolves around Scrooge and co sneaking through the Money Bin to swipe the lamp off of Dijon. The very second Scrooge gets it, Merlock takes control and the second climax begins.
  • Disney Villain Death: Merlock. After going One-Winged Angel, of course. (He's in his "normal" form for the fall itself, though...)
  • The Dreaded Pretend Tea Party: Webby wants to play tea party, and the genie (who is posing as a normal boy at the time) is pulled into it. Hilariously, Gene was fine with participating when he thought it was going to be like the Boston Tea Party but when Webby explains the actual game, he immediately complains of boredom. Unfortunately, his complaints backfire on him when his comments that Webby's 'party guests' are 'lifeless' gives Webby a bad idea.
  • Durable Deathtraps: In the tomb, par for the course.
  • Evil Laugh: Merlock loves indulging in these. The best is when he turns Scrooge's Bin into his fortress of evil and re-establishes his throne.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Merlock.
  • Fat Bastard: Merlock.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water: Genie's first few moments free from the lamp are this. He quickly powers through the encyclopedia to catch up what happened while he was sealed away, though misses the revelation that the Earth isn't flat.
    "Boy, he has been in that lamp for a long time."
  • Freeing The Genie: Scrooge uses his last wish to have Genie Become a Real Boy.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Try pausing the part of the movie where Merlock's wish to turn the Money Bin into a castle takes away Scrooge's entire fortune. You can see the handful of coins he scoops up in the soon-to-be-destroyed vault turn into black stones and fall into the new pavement that covers the stash as the vault floor prior to the building falling apart.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Merlock [[wishes for Scrooge's Money Bin into a flying fortress]], Scrooge angrily tells Merlock: "Return the Bin before I stuff that lamp down your throat!" Pretty aggressive threat for a kids' film.
  • Grand Finale: For the DuckTales franchise.note 
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Dijon's, which we see a few time when his pants fall from putting too many stolen goods in them.
  • Guile Heroine: Webby briefly uses her wits on Scrooge toward the beginning of the movie. When Scrooge is a little reluctant to let her have the oil lamp (despite having declared it "hardly worth taking"), she picks up a bejeweled crown and remarks that if he doesn't want her to have the lamp, "this is pretty too."
    Scrooge [handing her the lamp]: There, my dear. Don't say that your Uncle Scrooge never gave you anything.
  • Happily Adopted: Genie after the final wish.
  • The Heist: Scrooge and company work to break into the Money Bin after it's wished into Dijon's posession.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Scrooge gets one of these when he's thrown into a jail truck and sees that his insignia on the Money Bin has been replaced with Dijon's, making it clear the building and the wealth inside it now belonged to him per the Genie. He's still in BSOD status when his family pays the bail and gets him out.
  • Historical Rap Sheet: The villain Merlock was responsible for the sinking of Atlantis and the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: That's all the Genie ever wants. He eventually gets his wish, from Scrooge's last wish.
    Genie: It's not my fault Merlock's after me. I didn't ask to be Mr. Popular. All I wanted is a life of my own, like your nephews.
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?: Dijon utters this after a booby trap (a giant wheel that rolls across a room and up a ramp only to come back down) lands on him.
    Dijon: Is there a doctor in the pyramid?
  • It Belongs in a Museum: Deconstructed by Scrooge. He wants the treasure of Collie Baba not to hoard all of it in his money bin, but to sell most of it to museums. When his nephews ask why, Scrooge says that the tax breaks and profits off of selling priceless artifacts is worth far more money than just keeping it in a zero-interest vault.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: Mrs. Beakley, when she tries to tell Scrooge about the baby elephant that was wished into and out of existence. After a few seconds she realizes what she sounds like, while Scrooge, initially unimpressed, suspects something's up;
    Beakley: You think I'm crazy, don't you?
    Scrooge: (spotting the nephews sneaking out) Maybe not...
    • Also Dijon to a very annoyed looking Merlock, after the lamp somehow escaped their loot.
  • Jeweler's Eye Loupe: Naturally, Uncle Scrooge uses one to appraise the treasure.
  • Large Ham: Merlock (remember, this is a character voiced by Christopher Lloyd we're talking about).
  • Laser Hallway: Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby have to go through one of these in the Money Bin.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: The nephews have this opinion about Merlock's first wish. The Genie has to point out to them that when you're as evil and insane as Merlock is, immortality is not a good attribute.
  • M Acguffin Delivery Service: Like so many foes before him, Merlock concludes that the best way to find Collie Baba's treasure is to let Scrooge decipher the map and comb the desert for him.
  • Make a Wish: The movie features a magic lamp and a wish-granting genie.
  • Morphic Resonance: Merlock retains his mustache and goatee in all of his transformations.
  • The Movie: The only one that DuckTales ever got. There were plans for more, but when the movie did poorly at the box office, plans for any sequels got scrapped.
  • Never Found the Body: Merlock's first wish was to live forever. He may have survived the Disney Villain Death (presuming there were no catches to his immortality). Of course, note that he was screaming as he fell. (Then again, who wouldn't?)
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Aside from her unseen second wish, every wish Webby used made a delicate situation unnecessarily unstable. Her wish for a baby elephant nearly blew their cover on keeping Genie a secret from Scrooge, and her wish to bring her toys to life was the straw that broke the camel's back, arguably causing the chain of events in the rest of the movie.
    • When Dijon finds the lamp, Genie dissuades him from giving it to Merlock by pointing out that Dijon could wish for a fortune of his own. As Genie mournfully tells Scrooge later on; "I didn't know he'd wish for your fortune!" This also gets Dijon turned into a pig when Merlock gets the lamp himself.
  • No Duck Should Have This Power: Scrooge finally wins back the lamp for his final wish. He considers the genie as he is, is too dangerous. The potential for mischief and mayhem is enormous, and realizes any sane person would seal the Lamp at the center of the Earth where its power can never be used again. Everyone begs him not to, as the Genie will be lost forever. Happily, Scrooge had his own alternative solution all along.
  • Non-Serial Movie: The events of the film are never mentioned again in the series, although Scrooge recognizes Dijon when he appears in several episodes that aired shortly after the film's release (two of these episodes were the show's actual Series Finale).
  • No Ontological Inertia: When the genie is made a real boy and thus de-powered, Dijon (who had been transformed into a pig from a wish by the Big Bad) is restored to normal.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Dijon spends the whole first half of the movie as a snivelling pick pocket and toady to Merlock. When he succeeds in finding the lamp, Genie convinces him to keep it for himself, assuming he would do far less harm than Merlock. That's accurate, but it turns out that there's a lot of headroom below "less harmful than Merlock." He proves to have more of a mean streak than the Genie bargained for; he wishes for power and fortune, specifically Scrooge's, and arranges the latter to be thrown in prison and his family out on the streets.
  • Oh, Crap!: While going through the laser hallway, a stray laser ripped the directions in half and leaves one of the nephews (and cockroach Merlock) in a predicament (Merlock's horrified gasp says it all).
    • Everyone (but especially Dijon) when Merlock finally gets hold of the lamp.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Christopher Lloyd's voice at times slips into an accent that sounds like either a softly rural English accent or a vague, nondescript European intonation.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Merlock uses the Genie's magic to turn Scrooge's money bin into a Floating Castle that is very ominous. It's not floating by design though; Merlock specifically wished to "return home in his new home". Scrooge just defeats him before they get to the destination.
  • One-Winged Angel: Merlock can change into any form he wants (usually a bird of prey), but at the climax he changes into a gryphon to pursue Scrooge.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: When Mrs. Beakley first sees the elephant that Webby wished for, she screams and the elephant screams back at her.
  • Reset Button: There are three of these in the movie, and all of them are counter-wishes to erase bad wishes the Genie was forced to grant. The first two at the mansion with two of Webby's wishes (the first one for a baby elephant, and the second one to bring her stuffed animal collection to life) that make the result of her wish disappear, with the second one being the very last wish any of the children could use, with the lamp immediately going into Scrooge's possession after. The third Reset Button wish, however, is the final nail in Merlock's coffin; after Scrooge gets the lamp back following Dijon and Merlock seizing his fortune and Money Bin with their wishes (Merlock violently turns the Money Bin into a floating castle and destroys the money in the bin), he is now forced to use one of his two remaining wishes to save himself from a Disney Death; this wish is for him, his family, and the bin to return to Duckburg, and subsequently cancels out the wishes Dijon and then Merlock made after they got ahold of the lamp (the castle goes "Poof", the Money Bin reappears in town with Scrooge's insignia rather than Dijon's, and he and the nephews are back in his office, which no longer has the Arabic furniture Dijon put in it, with the original furniture and cash in the bin restored; his last wish to turn the Genie into a real boy also undoes the one other wish Merlock made on Dijon (which was turn him into a pig.).
  • Scary Scorpions: The bottom of the chamber where Collie Baba's treasure is kept has quite a few big ones, which Launchpad dubs "Sumo wrestling scorpions." Scrooge dismisses them as they're at the bottom of very deep pit, but then Evil Sorcerer Merlock pulls a lever that causes the platform where the treasure is to lower...
  • Selfless Wish: At the end of the movie, Scrooge uses his last wish to give Genie the one wish he's ever desired - to become a real boy. Since this is Scrooge we're talking about, it doesn't get more selfless than this.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Merlocks fortress is covered in these/
  • Sue Donym: The kids name the Genie "Gene" when Scrooge first finds him.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sorcerous Overlord: Merlock. It's not stated explicitly what possessions he ruled over, but he's an Evil Sorceror who used Genie to spread terror and fear wherever he wanted. His dark floating fortress at the end wouldn't look out of place as Sauron's residential palace.
  • Super-Speed Reading: Genie reads an entire encyclopedia in ten seconds.
  • The Starscream: Invoked by Genie, who convinces Dijon to keep the lamp and wish for his own fortune rather than turn it over to Merlock for a reward. It goes horribly right.
  • Three Wishes: What the Genie gives all of his masters. Merlock however has a talisman that allows him to override the three wish rule. Unfortunately, wishing for possession of the talisman is the one wish beyond the genie's power. That and wishing for a million wishes and peace and happiness all over the world.
  • Throne Made of X: In the climax, Merlock has a throne made of gigantic thorns.
  • Trouser Space: Dijon hides stolen goods in his pants. However, this is not Hammer Space, as if he overdoes it, what he's stealing becomes noticeable.
    Scrooge: Somebody! Stop those pants!
  • Undying Loyalty: The kids and Scrooge's staff throw every cent they have into making bail after Dijon has Scrooge dragged off to prison, despite the fact that Scrooge has lost everything and can't repay them.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Merlock transforms into a variety of (non-anthropomorphic) animals.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: Scrooge and company take a wild ride down a raging underground river under a wicker basket in order to get out of the treasure trove of Collie-Baba. Once it's all over, Louie says "I wouldn't mind doing that again, now that I know you can live through it."
  • Wasteful Wishing: Most of the nephews and Webby's wishes, combined with the Three Wishes trope. Scrooge however takes the potential of a genie far more seriously.
    Scrooge: I could wish for the world's biggest diamond. No, the biggest diamond mine! No, ALL' the diamond mines! No! The entire mining industry! Yes! Yes! Yeeeeees! ...I can see how this is going to take some careful thought.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Although Dijon goes on to appear in the TV series, Genie/Gene is never seen again (neither is Merlock in the TV series; he DOES return for a Donald Duck video game at some point down the road).
  • Wishing for More Wishes: Genie has the standard Three Wishes limit, and when asked if one could wish for more wishes, he answers "Get serious, that never works." However, the Big Bad Merlock has an amulet that, in combination with the titular lamp, does grant him unlimited wishes.
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things:
    Scrooge: Launchpad! Look what you've done to these ancient ruins! *After Launchpad crashes the plane and damage them*
    Launchpad: Well, it could've been worse. It could've been somethin' new!