Based on a relatively obscure Marvel Comics character
, Howard The Duck
is a 1986 live-action movie about Howard, an anthropomorphic duck
who is accidentally zapped to Earth during the test-firing of a laser
was the executive producer of what!?
During the course of the movie, Howard must get used to his surroundings in the human world, while trying to find his way back home. He must also avoid another alien being called the Dark Overlord, who has possessed Dr. Jennings (Jeffrey Jones, as himself), one of the scientists in charge of the original experiment.
Still with us? Great! The rest of the movie is like this.
One of the... less stellar
cinematic endeavors by then-fledgling Lucasfilm, it is also the first Marvel Comics
film adaptation to receive wide distribution, which may in part explain why they didn't try again until the late 1990s. Until the release of Blade
, this was the highest-grossing Marvel film property. Really.
Compare and contrast Theodore Rex
, a serious film about a talking dinosaur. In addition, in many ways, the 2012 film, Ted
is a demonstration of how this film could be made technologically today and its less grandiose writing about a grumpy fantasy creature trying to function in the "real world," shows another way that Howard
could have been written.
This Movie Contains Examples of:
- Aliens in Cardiff: The movie takes place in Cleveland. Well, at least it's a change of pace from New York and Southern California.
- Asteroid Thicket: Briefly seen when the narrator is talking.
- Beam-O-War: The climactic battle at the end. A duck with a laser cannon.
- Camp: Just look at the concept!
- Covers Always Lie: You won't see Howard breaking out of his egg while smoking a cigar.
- Deadpan Snarker: Howard
- Diner Brawl: Two brawls. one diner.
- Duck!: Really, how could they have resisted?
- Fan Disservice: An early scene offers a glimpse of duck boobs. Yes, in a PG movie. There is no logical reason for the movie to feature duck boobs, unless they thought someone, somewhere, would enjoy duck boobs. And even if somebody would, they're ruined by the terrible duck effects and it just becomes even more disturbing.
- Furry Confusion: Howard flips out when served fried eggs.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Duck tits!
- And as Empire pointed out, Beverly tries to seduce Howard. See also Interspecies Romance (and this is a PG movie!).
- Goofy Print Underwear: Howard wears red boxers with white polka dots, as revealed during a police strip search.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Averted. Howard wears pants, though he didn't in the original comics.
- He does now, after his pantslessness led to acusations that he looked too much like Donald Duck. "My lawyers tell me I've always been wearing these pants."
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Howard is voiced by Chip Zien, also the original Baker in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: "No more Mr. Nice Duck" among with countless others.
- Hurricane of Puns: There's so ducking many of them!
- I Know Quack Fu
- Inkstain Adaptation: This movie is quite different from the original comics.
- In Name Only: The only things in common with the comics - the characters of Howard and Beverly.
- Interspecies Romance: Howard and Beverly. Later, in bed, it looks like the romance might go a bit further.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Due to its less-than-glorious reputation, it was only recently officially released on DVD.*
- Mars Needs Women: While it could just be any human, the Dark Overlord still seems unusually focused on Beverly as a host for his comrades.
- Marvel Universe
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: Again, duck tits.
- No Smoking: The cover of the recent DVD set is a composite of the two original movie covers (beak peeking out of cracked egg + feet up and starry sky), except it has now left out the cigar in Howard's beak.
- Old Shame: George Lucas disowned the movie after its completion.
- John Barry, who scored the film (and had part of his music replaced in the finished product by Sylvester Levay, most notably for the scene with the Ultralight), also wasn't too proud of this movie. (Let's face it, who was?)
- Panty Shot
- Puny Earthlings: Lampshaded and averted in Howard, but played largely straight with the Dark Overlords.
- Showdown at High Noon: Scientist possessed by interdimensional demon versus anthropomorphic duck with a laser cannon mounted to a golf cart. Good times.
- Something Else Also Rises: In this case, head feathers.
- Starring Special Effects: And with this in mind, the Razzies gave the performers who alternated stints in the suit the Worst New Star award for 1986.
- Toothy Bird: Howard has teeth, possibly to hold his cig.
- Trapped in Another World: Howard has to destroy the laser that could send him home in order to prevent an invasion of Earth by lots more Dark Overlords.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Howard just walks around in public without disguising himself, and even gets a job, with little reaction. But then, people just think he is a midget in a duck suit. Not to mention that aside from the initial awkwardness in their first conversation, Beverly has no problem with Howard.
- What Could Have Been: The DVD featurettes of the film mentions that the writers were talking about the film being worked out as an animated film. The featurettes also mention that the idea to make the film animated was scrapped because the studio wanted the film to be released in the summer of 1986, and there's wasn't enough time to produce an animated film. One can wonder what would have happened if we had gotten an animated feature of Howard the Duck. The closest thing we can get, is this fanmade animation of Howard.