#TBT @ the Cinema: Howard the Duck, Deadpool’s Spiritual Ancestor


So, I’ve officially now seen humanoid duck breasts.  Howard the Duck, what even are you?

I heard this movie kind of sucks, and I’m not a huge fan of comedy as a genre.  Usually, it doesn’t land with me.  There are exceptions, of course — Deadpool, The Princess Bride — but for the most part, I don’t like funny movies.

I don’t know how to feel about Howard the Duck.

Structurally, the movie holds together.  Minor plot holes riddle the thing, but I get the feeling I’m not supposed to care.  We don’t meet the villain until more than halfway through the movie, which I think doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Additionally, the disintegrator gun pivotal to the climactic action sequence comes out of nowhere.

The movie follows Howard the Duck after a laser beam drags him to Earth.  He meets a girl named Beverly who fronts a girl punk band called Cherry Bomb.  They fall in love.  An evil monster possesses a scientist trying to help Howard go back to his planet.  There’s a chase scene involving a hobby airplane and a fleet of cop cars.  And again, duck breasts.

(Okay, so the duck breasts are in like five seconds of the movie at the beginning.  I just can’t get over them.)

I can’t even really complain about the romantic subplot, because I can’t say Howard shouldn’t be with Beverly because he’s an alien.  After all, I like Clark Kent with various human people, right?  I didn’t like that Beverly falls in love with him practically right away, but that probably counts as a personal preference.  Beverly as a character otherwise appeals to me quite a bit.  She just wants to help, but she’s kind of ditzy and freezes up when bad things start happening, at least at first.

Characters not doing anything actually makes up a lot of my complaints about the film.  I don’t get why Beverly and her scientist friends don’t try to assist Howard much during the final fight against the bad guy.  They just stand there — we don’t even get very many reaction shots from them.

Some clunky dialogue also drags the script down a little, though my main complaint has to be that there were not enough duck puns.  The special effects also did not hold up, even for the period.

Overall, though, I sort of liked it!  I didn’t hate it, at least.  It sort of feels like an ancestor to this year’s Deadpool, given it’s a comedy, and an element of being a freakish outcast, I guess.  This seems to put me in the minority, though, because it barely made back its budget when it premiered in 1986.  For the first Marvel character who got a movie, that’s a pretty poor showing.  But then, the movie was a dirty adult comedy about a talking duck and his punk rock girlfriend in 1986.  It probably wasn’t going to get mainstream success anyway.

Either way, I still am not quite sure what to think, to be honest.


 

Murphy Leigh

Murphy is a vaguely femininish malady who spends most of their time worshipping at the altars of Lois Lane, Chloe Sullivan, Jean Grey, and Wanda Maximoff. Their first confirmable event-memory is Princess Leia at the start of A New Hope. Has more in common with Lex Luthor than Lex Luthor would probably like to admit.

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