Saturday 3 March 2018

Movie Review: Howard The Duck (1986)

A science fiction comedy, Howard The Duck is so bad it's really bad.

Howard the Duck (a duck but with otherwise human characteristics) lives on Duckworld, a planet similar to Earth except that everyone is a duck. Howard is mysteriously sucked through space and lands in a Cleveland back alley, where he immediately tangles with goons and muggers. Beverly (Lea Thompson), a lead singer in a struggling rock band, takes pity on Howard and invites him to her apartment. She then introduces him to her friend Phil (Tim Robbins), a hapless wannabe scientist at an advanced laser spectroscope development facility.

Phil is of no use, but his boss Dr. Walter Jenning (Jeffrey Jones) offers to help. Howard was mistakenly transported to Earth through a spectroscope mishap, but reversing the procedure could zap him back home. Except that another error allows an evil spirit to invade the facility, taking up residence in Dr. Jenning's body and disrupting the plans to return Howard to his planet.

The duck (with Chip Zien providing the voice) is an expressionless plastic-looking creature, a prolonged flirtation scene between Howard and Beverly is gag-inducing, and an astonishingly clunky chase scene featuring an ultralight aircraft goes on forever.

And all that is before Dr. Jenning takes center stage and pushes both Howard and Beverly to the margins of their own film, the final 45 minutes descending into the hell of manic overacting and cheesy special effects as an evil spirit in Jenning's body uses supernatural powers complete with laser eyes and Frankenstein monster hand gestures.

George Lucas executive produced this mess of a Marvel comic adaptation, which apparently started life as an animated feature but should really have never been a feature in any format. Director Willard Huyck and his co-writer Gloria Katz cannot conjure up a single genuine laugh over the agonizing 111 minutes, the experience ruined by Howard's appearance and a plot that a 6 year old would have been proud of.

An excruciating misfire, Howard The Duck is just foul.

All Ace Black Blog Movie Reviews are here.

1 comment:

  1. not only that, but Howard the Duck is astoundingly boring for a film with a ridiculous premise. and this film killed all of Lea Thompson's hopes of being an A-list movie actress. and all her films since Howard The Duck have been mostly dreadful.


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