“Howard the Duck,” ridiculously funny, or just ridiculous?


Photo provided by geekwatchone.com

Joe Kronberg, Staff Writer

The year was 1986, and with the end of the original Star Wars trilogy, George Lucas apparently needed something to fill his time. And for some reason, Howard the Duck seemed the most appealing at the time.

Setting the stage for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Howard the Duck was the second Marvel film, after the 1944 Captain America film.

After a wormhole appears on his world, and sucks him out of his apartment, Howard (voiced by Chip Zien) is sent lightyears across the universe to Cleveland, where he is forced to adapt to life on Earth, and save the world.

Upon landing in an alleyway, Howard saves his new rockstar friend, Beverly (Lea Thompson), from two thugs after her concert at a night club. Beverly is unable to believe her eyes, but agrees to let Howard live with her.

Following a somewhat silly beginning, Howard struggles to assimilate, getting a job and being inspected by lab assistant Phil (Tim Robbins), until his origins on the planet are revealed by Dr. Jennings (Jeffery Jones).

Soon after this discovery, Dr. Jennings is possessed by a Dark Overlord, forcing Howard to prevent a full scale invasion.

Howard the Duck was cute to say the least. The plot jumped halfway through from Howard’s struggle to live on Earth to an alien invasion, while also running from the cops.

Though the film was amusing, with Quack Fu and Howard being scared to fly, the plot jumping around made it seem like the writers didn’t know what to do once they got halfway through, or had an ending, but no way to introduce it.

The characters themselves weren’t very strong either. Phil was very one-sided as the annoying idiot, and Beverly seemed like she was only there for screaming and getting kidnapped. I understand something was needed for the hero to save but is the planet he’s trapped on not enough?

While I hardly think the film deserves a sequel of any kind. It would have made more sense in a TV series to start with Howard adapting then having the threat of the Dark Overlords. This sort of medium leaves a lot more room for development of both plot and characters as seen in Netflix’s Voltron, where the main characters are forced to leave their home and battle evil, where it’s much smoother and has time for everything it needs as opposed to choppy Howard the Duck.

The film just didn’t do the Marvel universe or Lucasfilm justice, with very little development on all sides, giving it 2 out of 5 stars simply for it being mildly amusing.