Play Pause

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Retro Review: Howard The Duck (1986)

Howard The Duck
Cast: Chip Zien, Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins
Genre: Science Fiction Comedy
U.S Box Office Gross: $38 million

Plot: A sarcastic humanoid duck is pulled from his homeworld to earth where he must stop an alien invader

'What The Duck?'

Howard The Duck is a film that as crazy as a premise is, would have made far more sense as an animated feature film, as opposed to being a live-action one. 

It is another one of those movies trashed by critics and is considered as one of the worst of the 1980s. I was 5 years old when it came out and I think I saw it on TV one time when I was 10 or something. It was a long time ago. But you know what? I chose to suspend my disbelief, go into the film with open eyes. & guess what? It's that bad.... yet it has a few watchable moments too.

A duck going by the name of Howard, who hails from a planet where ducks exist like humans, is sent to earth when a science experiment goes awry. Upon arrival, Howard is set upon by a few punks and chased by bikers. When Howard comes to the rescue of rock singer Beverley, who is being sexually harassed by some guys as she leaves the nightclub where her band perform on stage, in return for his bravery, she offers Howard a place to stay, whilst they figure out how to send him back to his own home. 

Ostracised, bombed at the box office at its original release and sent into movie oblivion, Howard The Duck is innovative in the special effects sense, but is inept and lame story-wise. The film plays out like a version of ET with Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins characters trying to get Howard back home. Howard The Duck is based on the comic book, but the film itself and the comics have little in common with one another. 

Lea Thompson plays some rocker chick named Beverley, whereas Tim Robbins is some scientist.

I must say that the mauling this film received all but killed off Lea Thompson's chances of being a fully-fledged A-list movie actress. Since this movie, she has a habit of starring and appearing in a string of Hollywood bombs (Dennis The Menace and The Beverly Hillbillies, anyone) & straight-to-DVD flicks, as well as a starring bill on the sitcom, Caroline In The City & the Jane Doe series of detective- based TV movies on the TV front. Additionally, Lea gets to sing here and she is a good singer. As well as make out with a midget in costume. Yet watching & reading interviews of Lea saying how much she loved & enjoyed this movie & relishing the sheer corniness & crappiness of it, makes me a little sad,  but hey, whatever takes her fancy. 

There was a scene where a couple were kissing and there is a small partial shot of what appears to be a young woman's breast - which took me by surprise as this is a 12 rated movie in the UK. Though I might be wrong here when I say Howard The Duck is still adult-oriented. & duck tits? Just even weirder. 

The bestiality-like scene where Bev and Howard are in bed together is just too weird and awkward to take into account, the writing is not very eye-catching enough, there are a couple of lull moments and the tone of the movie was rather confusing: one minute there is comedy, the next it is action. There are drama and satire but it goes nowhere. The first half was not bad, yet the second third was long and the story becomes duller, the comedy didn't work and I lost interest quickly, the longer the film went on. But the stop-motion effects were sound. 

Being a property of Marvel Comics and with Marvel Entertainment doing well on the cinematic front at the moment, perhaps they should remake or reboot Howard the Duck for today's market.

Or on second thoughts, don't.  

Final Verdict

One of 80s' oddities, Howard the Duck isn't that good, never mind great, but there is something strange about it that is kind of watchable in some parts. As weird as it and this character is. 

ET set in the city with added humour, this film would have been better if it made up its mind what type of movie it wants to be and to stick with it, but also it would have made far more sense going down the 2D animated route, instead. Just seeing the phoney humanoid duck was a tad eerie. 

Yes, it is corny and I suppose it is a film that one has to suspend their disbelief for, in order to enjoy it fully. But still, having said all that, & in all seriousness, Howard The Duck, speaking as a film, is just not good enough as the story was too bland and boring and the tonal shifts are just awkward to see. & unlike some, I didn't find it charming enough.

Though does it merit as a guilty pleasure for some people? Yes. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...