VIDEO: Howard the Duck (1986)

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Cecil reviews one of his most requested films! Howard the Duck is one of the most notorious flops in cinema history, but in Cecil’s opinion, it doesn’t deserve its reputation, and is incredibly unique and massively entertaining.

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  • Jeff Bradford

    Hahahaha! I love how you just so blatantly bash a movie as your final word in an episode! This was actually one of the very first movies I’ve ever watched (being born in 1986 helps) and when I saw it, the monster at the end is what I perceived to be monsters to this very day. Yes, it was kooky and wacky and there are some scenes that are so stupid, it can be a little hard to watch. Overall, though, I would watch this film on occasion, and I wouldn’t mind owning it, were I to see it in a $5 bin somewhere. It’s not cinema gold, but it sure beats the hell out of Who’s Your Caddy!

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      If you’ve ever seen “I Accidentally Domed Your Son” you would know my pain. Seriously, one of the worst, most technically inept films I’ve seen.

      You should be able to find this out there pretty cheap. Well worth it IMHO.

  • Alexa

    I Accidentally Domed Your Son? I went to IMDB to find out about this movie, and I’m still confused from that title.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      A bunch of idiots accidentally shoot a kid in the head. I think they were trying for a new buzzword.

  • MichaelANovelli

    The idea of Howard and Lea boning becomes less charming once you’ve learned how a duck’s reproductive organs actually work… *shudder*

    • E.Buzz Miller

      What was up with Lea Thompson in the 80s? Between wanting to boink her own son, an intergalactic water fowl and Tom Cruise she kind of had issues.

      • Cecil_Trachenburg

        She goofs on that in an interview. It was kind of endearing, seeing how she had such a good sense of humor about such an oddball subject.

  • JamSanJose

    You know how little kids latch on to a movie and watch it over and over? My little brother and sister loved this movie. Consequently I’ve probably seen it a hundred times. I kinda like it myself and Lea Thompson is super hot.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Me too, I saw this a ton as a kid.

  • I always liked the bit in the diner where Thompson is asking the dark overlord to help but he won’t because the waitress took his eggs.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      lol yes!

  • Thomas Stockel

    I actually liked this movie when me and my friends saw it in the theater. Yeah, we thought it was all kinds of weird that Lucas would pick this comic property instead of, say, Spider Man, but it was fun. And no lie, I think I still have the soundtrack on cassette tape somewhere gathering dust.

    Do I still like it? I dunno, I haven’t seen it in forever. But I agree that there are a ton of worse movies out there. I daresay Iron Man II is worse than Howard The Duck.

    • No.

      “Iron Man II” is not worse than “Howard the Duck”.

      • Cecil_Trachenburg

        I’ll second this, Iron Man 2 is worse.

        Loved Iron Man but felt the sequel was bland and lacked direction. I didn’t hate it, it was just a steep dropoff from the first.

        • Cecil, your whole existence is to like things that people dislike, you are anathema, and that is great, it why I watch your show and comment frequently…
          No. “Iron Man 2” was worse than “Iron Man”, but is not worse than “Howard the Duck”.
          Arguably the directionless of Iron Man 2 could be chalked up to the main character slowing dying and thus being unsure with what time he has left, and then super villains attack, one attacking his father’s legacy, the other trying to dethrone Tony from head of the war tech game. Yeah it could have been better (way too much improv from Downey, who has become the golden cow of the Avengers franchise) but it worked as part of the bigger franchise.
          Howard the duck strangled his franchise in the cradle (nest). Come on, the whole strip club unemployment thing could be lifted right out. I like stop motion, I like campy 80’s sci-fi nonsense, but directionless is the watchword of “Howard the Duck”.

          • Thomas Stockel

            But at the end of the day the question is, “Was I entertained”. And Howard The Duck, for all it’s flaws, was an entertaining movie.

            IM II is not. There is only one scene I truly enjoyed and that was the Monaco battle. Stark fighting Whiplash, the two of them wielding sub-par weaponry, that was an awesome fight sequence. And had the movie featured more of a gritty feel like that then I think the flick would have been much improved.

            Instead you just pointed out one of the film’s flaws; it doesn’t stand all that well on it’s own because part of the focus is on world building. Honestly the flick misused The Black Widow and Fury didn’t even need to be involved. What if Justin Hammer were attempting industrial espionage and The Black Widow goes under cover to reveal the spy? In the comics Hammer employed a villain known as Spymaster. What if Hammer is planning a multi-pronged assault against Stark, using Spymaster to plant false incriminating evidence against Stark to support Whiplash’s claims? The Black Widow attempting to uncover and fight Spymaster while Iron Man and War Machine fight Whiplash would have been a far more satisfying payoff that IM fighting robots.

            Stark dying? What was the point? It was distracting because we as viewers know darn well Stark will not die. Instead perhaps the stress of being Iron Man and the attacks against his father might be good fuel to suggest Tony was slipping into alcoholism. You know, like the Demon In A Bottle storyline from the comics. You see the problems here? There are decades worth of good Iron Man stories to choose from, from ‘Bottle to Armor Wars, and the writers were incapable of capitalizing on them.

            That is why I think IM II is so bad. Whereas the first film did an outstanding job up updating Iron Man’s origin and coming up with a great way to incorporate Obidiah Stane and Iron Monger (and effectively teasing the existence of The Mandarin), the second film pissed away numerous opportunities and the result was a film John Favreau obviously had little interest in directing because he was required to put in material to build the Marvel Movieverse.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            I like to quote you here, Thomas – and change the movie: “But at the end of the day the question is, “Was I entertained”. And Iron Man II for all it’s flaws, was an entertaining movie”, at least for me.

        • Thomas Stockel

          I agree. It was a boring film that grossly misused actors Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke. Rockwell never comes across as a threat to Stark the way Justin Hammer is in the comics, and Rourke’s Whiplash is defeated far too quickly and easily in the third act, which is full of Iron Man fighting robots. You know what other boring movies featured the protagonist fighting robots? Star Wars, Episode I & II.

          I think if Hammer had been more menacing, had there been a bigger payoff regarding Whiplash, hell had they dropped the whole Stark-is-dying subplot and his magical cure things could have been so much better.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      It kind of goes with Lucas’ nature. He is a bit out there so it really is no surprise (especially now) that he would pick something this odd.

  • They showed this movie at the end-of-the-year party in my third grade class back in 1987 or thereabouts. I think I was the only kid paying attention — I freaking loved it. It’s zany, over-the-top and completely ridiculous. To this day this movie is still a guilty pleasure for me.

    Weird facts concerning the soundtrack:

    The Howard the Duck “theme song” at the end was written by Thomas Dolby, of “She Blinded Me With Science” fame.

    The film’s score itself is the work of the late John Barry, who also scored eleven James Bond films as well as Disney’s “The Black Hole”.

    And according to the credits, “additional music” was composed by Sylvester Levay, who wrote much of the score for the TV series “Airwolf”!

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Wow, I can’t imagine seeing this in 3rd grade. I went to an all catholic school and they would have thrown holy water at it.

      • Yeah, I’m not quite sure what they were thinking to be honest. And I also don’t remember the duck tits (until I rented the film on VHS some years later), so perhaps somebody at least had the sense to skip the intro.

  • $36060516

    Surprised that no one complimented you on the CGI title sequence for this video — looks like it took a hell of a lot of work. I’m kind of shocked!

    I bought the soundtrack on vinyl and the Marvel Comics adaptations of the movie by Kyle Baker before seeing the film and saw this in the theater when it came out and was pretty much completely disappointed because I was a fan of the comic book and it wasn’t a very good adaptation. A lot of the elements were there but the quirky satirical humor of Howard’s creator Steve Gerber was the entire essence of the comic book and the character was neutered without his authorial voice. Steve Gerber fought for years in court to try to get ownership of his creation back from Marvel Comics but failed. No one else has done anything worthwhile with it, as far as I’m concerned.

    It just occurred to me when watching this that the Jeffrey Jones character is almost a carbon copy of the John Lithgow character from “Buckaroo Banzai,” which came out two years earlier. Both are benevolent scientists who become possessed by evil aliens due to the crossing of dimensions in their scientific experiments who turn into over-the-top, wisecracking cartoon villains with disheveled clothes, bad teeth, and wacky hair.

    One thing I thought was sort of interesting about the Marvel Comics adaptation of the movie was that it was obviously done before the effects work on the movie had been completed, because the monster at the end is completely different — it’s actually a giant monster duck with stretchy tentacle fingers and fangs, if I’m recalling correctly.

    [EDIT: Found a picture of the monster in the comic!]

    http://comicattack.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/darkoverlord.jpg

  • katmore9

    Hmmm… I Accidentally Domed Your Son… I’m intrigued. lol

    Seriously, how’d you find you about that film?!