_**The infamous film version of Steve Gerber’s intelligent, wise-cracking waterfowl from another world**_ An English-speaking duck from another planet is somehow transported to Cleveland, Ohio, where he befriends a rock group leader (Lea Thompson). She introduces him to her friend, a quirky lab assistant (Tim Robbins), to figure out what happened, but the situation is complicated when a doctor at the lab is possessed by a “dark overlord of the universe” (Jeffrey Jones). "Howard the Duck" (1986) is the film version of Marvel Comics’ anthropomorphic waterfowl created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik with the Duck’s first appearance being in Adventures into Fear #19 featuring the Man-Thing, which debuted in March, 1974 (cover date Dec. 1973). While the cartoonish character was atypical for Marvel, he was a surprise hit, which led to this movie a dozen years later. It’s made in the mold of “Ghostbusters” (1984) and obviously influenced “Men in Black” (1997), but it’s the least of these and notoriously bombed at the box office. It begins well enough, both intriguing and amusing, but starts to lose its mojo in the second act before spiraling into a loud, frantic last act with loads of colorful special effects. The problem is that, after the first act, the flick abandons the characters for action-oriented zaniness and it loses the attention of the viewer. Creator Steve Gerber plainly said the movie “sucked” and was dissatisfied with the duck’s bland voice and costume. Howard’s face just isn’t animated enough and his eyes are too cute & innocent for Gerber’s ill-tempered, wise-cracking waterfowl. That said, there are enough entertaining elements in the “Ghostbusters” / “Men in black” vein to enjoy the movie to some degree as you revisit 1985 America when it was shot. But you have to be able to accept it as a cinematic alternative to Gerber’s original concept. I’m not big on Lea Thompson, but she’s winsome enough as Beverly on the female front, although she didn’t exactly fit Gerber’s version of the Duck’s babelicious pal. Liz Sagal is also notable as Ronette in a minor role. The film runs 1 hour, 50 minutes, and was obviously shot in the Bay area of Northern California, NOT Cleveland, Ohio. GRADE: C
It is so cool to hate on this isn't it? So I am giving it a 10, mainly because of all the folks that gave it a 1 to be in the in crowd...and partially because Lucas was right, it stood the test of time. The cult following isn't because it's a bad movie, it's because it's a funny movie. Just because a midget is wearing a duck suit doesn't make it bad. Just because there is duck nudity doesn't make it bad. I mean...we loved it with Team America. It was hysterical then. It's not funny in Howard because you are told not to laugh at it. If you give it a chance it's well worth the admission, for jokes alone.
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