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Film: Howard the Duck
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.

George Lucas was the executive producer of this?!

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-than-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, even if it was a critical and box office failure.

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.
    • Fridge Brilliance: Considering Cleveland is where rock bands get their start (and where the Rock and Roll Museum is now located), it fits in with the plot.
  • 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?
  • Evil Counterpart: In the Comic book adaptation of the movie, once the Dark Overlord is purged from Dr. Jennings' body, he takes on the form of an anthropomorphic duck, using this form to attack Howard. Averted in the movie as the Dark Overlord does no such thing and it's true form is revealed to be a giant-mawed scorpion like creature.
  • 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 as the fast-paced editing makes it look like the hand she's running over her knee in the bathtub is going down her stomach to somewhere else as Howard begins to fly through.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Instant Soprano: Howard barely survives a butcher knife landing near his groin and he responds in a soprano.
  • Interspecies Romance: Howard and Beverly. Later, in bed, it looks like the romance might go a bit further.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The movie gets noticeably darker once the Dark Overlord possesses Dr. Jenning, and unlike most of the jerks in the movie; the only humor with him is how people desperately try to make the situation less threatening
  • 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: Except for the talking duck alien and Dark Overlords, the universe is fairly normal by Marvel's standards
  • 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.
  • 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: Averted. In the comic Howard has teeth (possibly to hold his cigar), but none in the movie.
  • 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.

HouseFilms of the 1980sJean de Florette
RamboGolden Raspberry AwardLeonard Part 6

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