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Discussion thread for the great LFL Production "Howard the Duck" (1986)

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by Blur, Jan 7, 2010.

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  1. Blur

    Blur Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 11, 1999
    I just recently saw Howard the Duck for the first time ever, and wanted to post my thoughts/review on the film. Unfortunately, all of the previous threads discussing the film have been closed, so I had to start this new one.

    Anyway, I had heard about HTD for years, but had avoided watching this because of the universally bad reviews/opinions of the film. However, by the time the film finally came out on DVD in early 2009, I had gotten to the point where I really wanted to see this, especially since the movie had become infamous in the years since it's release - also, this was the only LFL production that I had never seen, and I wanted to see it if only for that reason.

    I was finally able to see the movie recently, and really enjoyed it! Here are my thoughts on the DVD:

    Howard the Duck - The Film

    - The opening sequence was amazing - I liked the "Earth-like" setting, though you knew right away that you were seeing another planet once you saw the two moons in the sky (shades of the two suns on Tattoine?!)

    - Howard's apartment scenes were hilarious, i.e. Playduck & the movie posters, which were take-off's of ROTLA, Flashdance (Splashdance), etc.

    - This film screams the '80's, from the new wave/punk rock group Cherry Bombs (Beverly's all-girl band), to the big hair, etc. Great stuff.

    - The animatronic Howard was very well-done, especially the mouth movement, which looked very realistic.

    - The humor in the film was great, especially the scenes where Howard used 'Quack-Fu' to defeat his opponents - hilarious.

    - Last but definitely not least, the effects by ILM were superb. Especially incredible was the "Dark Overlord" monster at the very end - incredible! This is definitely one of the coolest creatures in horror/monster films, and is right up there with the monster at the end of

    Special Features

    - The trailers were amusing, especially the teaser trailer with the Beverly character talking about Howard - I remember seeing this back in '86.

    - I really enjoyed the retrospective/making of documentaries. It was interesting to see the filmmakers (Hyuk/Katz) discuss the making of the film, and also their dissapointment that the film didn't do better in the theatre (despite all of the $ spent making this).

    - It's also interesting that HTD has grown in popularity as the years have passed, to the extent that it has gotten an almost 'cult-like' following. It seems like it has taken a long time for the film to have gotten the respect it truly deserves, but better late than never. I'm sure the DVD release helped bring the film to a wider audience.

    Final thoughts

    - I would like to see a toy company make an over-sized figure of the "Dark Overlord" creature from the end of the film - that would be great to have.
  2. bluesaber70

    bluesaber70 Jedi Knight star 2

    May 25, 2007
    It's a good "kiddie film" but other wise not Lucas' best.
  3. LawJedi

    LawJedi Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 11, 2009
    It always strikes me as odd that this is always considered Lucas' film, even though he didn't write or direct it (or even provide story), while he never gets credit for (similarly) producing Labyrinth.
  4. ShaneP

    ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 26, 2001
    I think a lot of it has to do with Labyrinth's strong association with Henson. Howard the Duck didn't have another high-profile creator attached to it.
  5. Duragizer

    Duragizer Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 23, 2009
    I saw Howard the Duck years ago, and I found it okay and not an abomination like everyone made it out to be. The only real problem I had with the film was its PG rating.

    Of course, if I were to ever see the film again I might change my mind. My tastes have changed alot since 03/04.
  6. black31

    black31 Jedi Youngling

    Feb 3, 2010
    I got excited by this movie idea. Haven't seen it yet.
  7. StarWarrior77

    StarWarrior77 Jedi Youngling star 3

    Oct 30, 2008
    I have yet to see Howard the Duck. I don't know if I want to....:p
  8. CloneUncleOwen

    CloneUncleOwen Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 30, 2009
    Sure, why not? The film is very much Mr. Lucas's baby, by the way. He proposed the picture to his friends
    Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck, who ended up directing, producing, and writing the thing. He was so into this
    picture that he left the wheel at LFL to work full time on production. Universal Studios picked it up because
    AMERICAN GRAFFITI, STAR WARS, etc. had done so well, and George Lucas was at his golden boy peak.
    The picture was released, and the **** hit the fan. Nobody wanted to see an ugly, troglodytic, foul-mouthed
    duck. By today's standards it looks pretty weak, but in 1986 it came across as just plain disgusting and creepy.
    The film's budget was around $35 million, and it only grossed something like $9.5 million. Mr. Lucas was the
    Executive Producer and took some of the heat, but a lot of other people lost their jobs because of this bomb.

    For years, no one would even bring this picture up around Mr. Lucas for fear of the wrath of God, yet he
    always said he thought that it would be seen in a better light in later years. Apparently, from the reviews
    I read about it now, he's, as usual, right.

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