Duck Joke Quality: 2/10
Duck Proportion Consistency: 8/10
There was a huge obsession with ducks at some point, and I’m at a loss to explain it. I know that it started with Daffy and Donald, but then evolved in to things like Duck Tales(wooOOOooo), Darkwing Duck, and the ever-annoying (yet still entertaining) Quack Pack, all based out of the land of Duckberg. Somewhere in there, ducks made there way in to the comic scene, and Howard the Duck was born! A simple idea, really: a normal guy who smokes cigars, hates the world, and wants to be left alone….except he’s a talking duck from a different planet. Now, as comically comicbook-ish as that may seem, one man had the vision to bring it to the big screen, and it gives me no small amount of pleasure to reveal that it was Mr. Pod Racer himself, George Lucas (he didn’t direct this one, but he produced it, and that seems worse to me).
On the planet of Duckworld, where everything is ducky, Howard the Duck is enjoying a nice evening at home(duck). As he opens up his new issue of Playduck to check out the centerduck-fold, his chair is suddenly pulled through the walls of his duck-partment, carrying him in to some sort of space wormhole (or duckhole…why not). After flying around the solar system, Howard crash lands in a dumpster somewhere in Cleveland, and realizes that he’s not in Kansas (Duck-Kansas) anymore. He gets thrown around a bunch by some punks, and finally ends up in a trash can, where he emerges to save a young Lea Thompson from some dirtbags by using his questionably effective Quack-Fu. She offers him a place to stay, and he accepts since he is a talking duck with nowhere to go.
Howard tries to get a job to pass the time until he can figure out how he got to Earth, but the results are not promising. Meanwhile, Beverly (Lea Thompson) introduces him to a friend she has at a science lab in the hopes that it will provide some answers. Her friend Phil, played by Tim Robbins, turns out to be an idiotic lab assistant, but after taking one of Howard’s feathers, he is able to piece together how that wormhole formed that brought Howard here(well, his boss figures it out…but he’s there, too). They try to send Howard home, but their cosmic ray (i.e. wormhole-maker) blows up and accidentally brings an evil overlord down to possess the body of the head scientist (which totally makes sense). The cops have been called to add some extra trouble, and everyone is on the run from the law!
Phil gets arrested during the confusion, while Howard and Beverly escape with the Overlord to a small cajun-sushi diner (totally normal…) to plan their next move. As they sit, the Overlord is able to regain some of his powers, and kinda-sorta blows up the place, kidnapping Beverly to use as a vessel for other Overlords. Howard finds Phil and helps him escape from the cops, and they race back to the lab (via small glider) to save Beverly. When they arrive, the Overlord has her strapped down to the bottom of the cosmic ray, and is attempting to bring his dark brethren in to her body. Howard and Phil grab an experimental “neutron disintegrator” ray (so convenient), and blast the crap of Mr. Overlord AND the cosmic ray before anything bad happens. The world is saved, but it would appear that Howard is stuck on Earth forever. He decides to manage Bevery’s band, though, and they enjoy great success with their hit single, “Howard The Duck”.
Wow….ducktastic. Freaking duckerful. I think they made every duck joke possible in the first 5 minutes, and yet they kept it going the whole movie. The best moment was probably when Howard gets freaked out about eating eggs, but the duck hunting bits were pretty good, too. A great show by (the always lovely) Lea Thompson and (the always moustached) Jeffery Jones, plus (the always “Meat”) Tim Robbins didn’t suck too bad, so the casting I give a solid thumbs-up. For me, the points were lost with the varying sizes of Howard, and the writing that seemed to contradict itself at every turn. Example: The Overlord says that his kind needs human bodies to inhabit, yet at the end of the movie they are very clearly not needing anything. I just think that they could have spent a little less time making Howard look sooooooooooooo realistic, and a little more time working on a script that had some…..sense. Oh well, you can’t have your duck and eat it, too.
Until next time, my ugly little ducklings, keep watching those bad movies, one day they’ll transform you in to beautiful swans….or large ugly ducks.
P.S. No little people were harmed in the making of this film, except the pride of Ed Gale, who is yet another Movie Badass.