Monday, March 22, 2010

Howard the Duck

By Cosmic Dark Overlord Alan Trehern

By this time, you've probably figured out that the movies I review are anything but relatable, socially relevant or what the cinedouche crowd would call "good". Howard the Duck is no exception here. I remember as a kid thinking I saw this; after the first few scenes, I had determined that I have never seen this movie. And I'm confident that if I ever saw this movie, 5-year-old me would demand his parents take him back to the video store to pick up something a little more intellectually stimulating.

Howard the Duck (1986)
Directed by Willard Huyck
Starring Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins and 8 Howard T. Ducks
Initially, the Comcast description said that this was George Lucas' tale of a somewhat-famous Marvel Comics character. Well, he didn't direct it or write it, he just executive produced it. This means he did jack sh*t for this movie. But I imagine any input he may have had would have just put this film in the negatives on a whole-number rating scale. And don't berate me with comments on what the executive producer does, I know what he does, I'm just giving sh*t to George Lucas.

Howard the Duck is from a planet similar to our own, except the highest evolutionary species went to ducks instead of humans. For some reason, he's transported to 1986 Earth and into the arms of Back to the Future hottie Lea Thompson, who plays Beverly. Tim Robbins plays an excruciatingly annoying character named Phil, and by all accounts, Robbins couldn't act his way out of a wet paper bag (see every movie he's ever made except Bull Durham). But the entire movie revolves around getting Howard back to his planet, and these two dolts are around the entire time.

Dr. Jenning, or the principal from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, is responsible for bringing Howard to Earth using a laser transporter? I don't know. Later in the movie, he becomes infected by a dark overlord of the universe, and becomes part-comic relief/part-villain. It's around this time that I regret starting this movie, and any positive "memories" of this movie were lost.
The entire film is nothing but bad acting, terrible dialogue and never ending scene sequences. Maybe they thought they could cover-up the negative aspects of this movie with ILM effects (ahem!), but even for 1986 the effects weren't great. They looked like stock footage from other movies, and I, as an audience member, was severely displeased.

Howard the Duck was a one-liner vending machine, never muttering useful or thought-provoking confabulation for the entire length of the film. Then again, he's a f*cking duck. His animatronic facial features, however, were quite good. They were similar to the Ninja Turtles' costume motions in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. "Do you like penicillin on you pizza?"
I was really pissed not to have seen more of Duckworld, though, since the five-minute look at it was a helluva lot better than this whole movie. Maybe they should have just trashed the script to this movie and skipped to the sequel where Beverly and Howard return to Duckworld.

Final Thoughts
I have no idea if this is considered a cult classic or something. I would hope not. The ultimate highlight of this movie is Lea Thompson in her underwear, and even that is somewhat of a letdown. And when you think she might do it again, it never happens. And the use of "original" "rock and roll" "music" (most of the songs sung by Thompson) got old real fast. If you ever thought to watch this movie for its zany, 80s feel, don't do it. It's terrible, and I want to slap ENCORE in the sack for making it available to me. What do you mean I have no one to blame but myself???
HA-HA then CRAP!! Notes:
According to reports at the time of the movie's release, George Lucas was heavily in debt (having just built the $50-million Skywalker Ranch complex) and was counting on this film to get him back in the black. When it bombed, he was forced to start selling off assets to stay afloat (haha). His friend Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computer, offered to help by buying Lucasfilm's newly-launched CGI animation division for a price well above market value, and Lucas, in desperate straits and thankful for the assistance, agreed. That division eventually bec[a]me Pixar Animation Studios (crap...). --

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