YMMV: Howard the Duck

YMMVs related to the comic book:

  • Fridge Logic: One early story arc in the comic had Howard running for president, but since he comes from another dimension, he's not a United States citizen, and is therefore not allowed to run for president in the first place.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • A story arc in the comic spoofed Star Wars, adding further hindsight hilarity to the fact that Disney now owns Lucasfilm and Marvel.
    • Marvel's editors made Howard start wearing pants to prevent Disney from suing on the grounds of him looking too similar to Donald Duck. Now that Disney owns Marvel, that probably isn't an issue now.

YMMVs related to the 1986 film:

  • Adaptation Displacement: Would Howard the Duck be as famous if it wasn't for this bomb of a movie? It's quite possible that the comics made after the movie wouldn't still be around if people didn't read them to... see them mock the movie regularly.
  • Cult Classic: The film does have some defenders. Not many, but some.
  • Ear Worm: The "Howard the Duck" song at the end.
  • Ham and Cheese: Once Dr. Jenning has his body taken over by the "dark overlord," Jeffrey Jones starts playing the villain way over the top. Amusingly enough, Howard and Beverly don't take him seriously, even having a Face Palm at some point. On the other hand, they are trying their hardest not to be scared and try to lighten the situation, especially with a murdering sociopathic alien for company.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The film was produced by Lucasfilm, who would later go on to be bought out by Disney, who also owns Marvel. In addition, Howard would go on to cameo in the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Ink Stain Adaptation: Considering the response people had to The Stinger to Guardians of the Galaxy, most people bring up how bad the movie was and would never want another adaptation.
    • The films defenders like to bring up that, like the comic, the talking duck is the least ridiculous thing happening.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Clive Barker has mentioned that he sat through this movie to see the Dark Overlord's true self.
  • Narm:
    • "Dat's a duck! Dat's a duck, man!"
    • On a similar topic, some kids think Howard is cute at first and want to pet him. But when he waves his fingers, he becomes terrifying.
    • The bizarre "Donald Duck impersonating Pac-Man" noise that Phil emits when meeting Howard at the concert.
  • The Scrappy: All three of the lead characters to some extent: Howard for his constant lame puns and the ridiculous-looking duck suit, Beverly for having no depth to her character beyond being an airhead, and Phil for trying way too hard to be the quirky comic relief.
  • Snark Bait: The film seems to stay out of total obscurity simply because of George Lucas' involvement.
  • So Bad, It's Good: When the film isn't awkwardly uncomfortable to watch, it is this.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • Howard is a duck? No way, he is a small person in a suit! Ironically, in the movie (and a few times in the comics), he is actually mistaken several times for a small person in a suit! It was one of the first animatronics to be remotely controlled however, which was a new innovation at that time.
    • Mostly averted with the Dark Overlord, who is considered to be the best effect in the film by a few critics who bashed the film, though there are a couple of shots where the stop-motion puppet is poorly composited into the live-action footage, particularly when Howard zaps it with the laser.
  • Spiritual Licensee: Some would say the 2012 movie Ted showed how to do the basic urban fantasy concept of the property right on film.
  • Squick: The near-sex scene between Howard and Beverly. Thankfully, it's interrupted. Also, the infamous "Duck Tits" at the beginning of the film.
  • They Just Didn't Care: Steve Gerber's original run on the comic, like Cerebus the Aardvark, used an anthropomorphic animal protagonist to explore the structures of modern culture and the nature of the world. The screenwriter, on the other hand, is quoted as saying something along the lines of, "It's got a talking duck, how existential can it be?"
  • Uncanny Valley: Howard, thanks to his glassy-eyed, inexpressive animatronics, and the number of times that he's shown staring directly into the camera.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: An arguable case; the concept certainly sounds family-friendly enough, but the film itself, with its scenes of implicit violence, dark shots, explicit sexual sequences and horror movie twists and turns in the final end, clearly isn't.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: A lot of the classic styles, fashions, hairstyles, and trends of the 1980s are shown in all their laughable glory here.