Howard the Duck

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by Seagoat, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. Seagoat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 4


    You've brought this upon yourselves.

    Discuss away! :D
  2. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    star 4
    Fair enough.

    Um...

    Crap, wasn't it?


    OK, in all seriousness, I've always meant to look more closely at how this film came about, and just who was to blame for what an utter turkey it was. Apparently the Marvel comic series was quite clever, but the film simply failed to translate at all.
    Until I can get some time to look into it, anyone know much about the runt of the LFL litter?
  3. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, it's actually my aunt's favorite movie.

    No, not joking.

    I've seen it once; I'm usually pretty elastic when it comes to films and liking them (I did marathon Anaconda, Lake Placid, and Jaws last weekend :p) and I didn't think it was the worst movie I've ever seen, tbh.
  4. Seagoat Force Ghost

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    Jan 25, 2013
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    To be fair... I actually do kind of like it.

    Even if it has... duck breasts within the first few minutes? No idea xD
  5. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    After years of seeing it referred to in MAD Magazine and the like as one of the benchmarks for rotten films created by moguls who should have known better, when I saw it for the first time, aged about 16, I thought the reputation was a bit rough.
    About ten years later I saw it again, and jumped on the hatewagon. Utterly pointless film, with that rock concert finale adding insult to injury. He's a duck. WE GET IT!!!

    The Simpsons couldn't come up with a parody of such films that could be any more idiotic. Just awful.

    It's been over ten years since last viewing, though, and I've got some time off coming up - it's on the list.
  6. jacktherack Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2008
    star 4
    it's not a good movie by any means, but it's far from one of the worst ever made, also the howard the duck comics from marvel are actually really good comics. if you hated the movie you could still give the comics a chance, since the movie really has nothing to do with them.
  7. Blur Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 1999
    star 4
    Re-posting an edited post I made over 3 years ago on this film, on this very forum. That previous thread has been locked due to age:

    I had heard about HTD for years, but had avoided watching this because of the universally bad reviews/opinions of the film. However, I was finally able to see the movie in early 2010, and really enjoyed this. 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. 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 Cloverfield.

    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.
    Last edited by Blur, Sep 9, 2013
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  8. DarthScubbles Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2004
    star 4
    I didn't hate it when I was a kid. Would I ever watch it now? Maybe if someone made a drinking game to it, but not under my own power.
  9. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Well, I watched it the other day - my opinion remains unchanged. While there's a certain nostalgic appeal to it, there just doesn't really seem to be much point overall. It doesn't work as a kids' film, as a number of scenarios and contexts definitely aren't for children (e.g. Howard works in a brothel at one point), it doesn't work as an adult comedy or satire, as the dialogue and storyline are way too juvenile, and it doesn't work as sci-fi or fantasy because the basic concept is just too weak.

    Given the talent involved, you'd think there might have been something developed that could produce a worthwhile film, but the impression I got was that the script was watered down to the point where everything interesting was gone, and all that remained was lame, heavy-handed duck jokes and references jammed clumsily into an end of the world plotline.
  10. Darth_Monkey_Boy Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Take a shot whenever a duck pun is used; everytime Bev calls Howard "Ducky"; everytime Bev "flirts" with Howard; whenever a joke falls flat. You should be either passed out or dead waaaaaay before the movie's over! (Especially after all the duck pun shots you're forced to take while he's still on his home planet!) :p

    Personally, I loved this movie when I was a kid, but after re-visiting this flick after getting it on DVD... I STILL LIKE IT!!! Has to be the nostalgia. I'm sure if I had seen it as an adult first, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. In fact, I probably NEVER would've even seen it!
  11. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Part of the nostalgic appeal, to me, at least, was that it reminded me of a time when these sort of wacky films actually got made with relatively high budgets - but stayed kind of weird. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn't. IMHO, this one didn't, and something got lost along the way, but it still remains a silly film with a talking duck wandering around making wisecracks, smoking cigars and handing out towels in a brothel.

    If Howard the Duck got a green light today, the title character probably wouldn't even be a duck once the various committees got through with the film and shooting began - it would have been reworked into some bland rom-com starring the equally bland Owen @#$%ing Wilson as a clueless alien with a bleached, vaguely duck-like haircut who falls in love with (insert latest Hollywood female flavour of the month yet to have a sex-tape or drug scandal) and a painfully unfunny Ben Stiller desperately mugging it up for the camera as the 'goofy' scientist originally played by Tim Robbins. Charles Dance signs on as the bad guy as soon as he sees his tax bill, and the studio has itself a movie.
    And they'd still keep the duck jokes.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Oct 14, 2013
  12. markdeez33 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 3
    Howard The Duck trips me out. When I saw the duck boobs, I couldn't stop laughing. I found it to be hilarious.
  13. Mystery Roach Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2004
    star 4
    I'll say it. I loved Howard the Duck as a kid and I love it just as much now. In fact (brace yourselves), I would go so far as to say it's my favorite comic book movie. I love the humor (though I understand why people think it's too mature for kids and to juvenile for adults), I love the music (by the great Thomas Dolby, with Lea Thompson actually singing her own songs and not too badly I might add), I love the visual effects, and I'll be damned if it doesn't get me all emotional every time I watch it. Not only do I feel its reputation is undeserved, but to me Howard the Duck is actually a perfect little gem of a movie. And I'm a huge film buff with fairly extensive knowledge of and appreciation for great cinema of every era and genre, so don't assume I simply have bad taste. I just love what I love and own my opinions.

    As for who's to "blame"... That would be Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz. They did rewrites on American Graffiti and Star Wars (ANH - uncredited) which contributed a lot to the greatness of those two movies, as well as writing the script for Temple of Doom, so Lucas produced HTD as a favor for them in return. And as far as I know, he wasn't actually very involved in the making of it like he has been on many of the other movies he's produced.
  14. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    The score itself was done by John Barry of James Bond fame - for me, that just adds insult to injury.:p

    I don't have anything against anyone who does like the film - it's not so cretinous as to be offensive - but it's just a wasted opportunity. If GL himself had been more closely involved, being a fan of the comics, the film might have been remembered as something other than a mistake.
  15. Mystery Roach Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2004
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    True and I also love the down and out jazziness of Barry's score. Both it and the Dolby songs (with the exception of the title track) add a real sense of melancholy to the film that I love.
  16. Son of a Bith Force Ghost

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    Last edited by Son of a Bith, Nov 14, 2013
  17. Mr. K Moderator Emeritus

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    Oct 23, 1999
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    This. Hit the nail on the head. That's it exactly.
  18. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Based on what I've read, I'm pretty sure GL was also a fan of the HTD comics, so I don't think Huyck and Katz exactly twisted his arm to make the film.

    I'd still blame them for what the film became - it's sort of a mirror image of what happened with New Hollywood in the 1970s - based on some massive successes early on, both critically and commercially (Easy Rider, The Last Picture Show, The Godfather, The Exorcist et al) the studios began giving complete freedom to filmmakers that they regarded as geniuses, who were believing their own press at the same time. The result was some massive, high-budget flops, due to the self-indulgence of the filmmakers, combined with an unwillingness on the part of the studios to simply say 'No'.

    I'm not accusing Huyck and Katz of the sort of arrogance displayed by Peter Bogdanovich, William Friedkin or Francis Coppola, nor GL of being the sort of clueless executive that allowed such filmmakers to run wild, but I've always had the impression that the big dream GL had for LFL fell apart when it became clear that complete creative freedom doesn't work with big budget films - unless you're prepared to gamble the fate of the studio's entire future every single time (did someone say, 'cough' American Zoetrope? 'cough').

    At least GL & LFL had the Indy franchise to fall back on, with Last Crusade, then the bulletproof SW prequels to hype the company out of obscurity. I'd still liked to have seen LFL make a few more serious efforts in the meantime beyond the forgettable Radioland Murders and playing it safe with the Young Indy TV show.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Nov 15, 2013
  19. Mystery Roach Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2004
    star 4
    I have to give Coppola credit for having some massive cojones though. When he gambles, he gambles big, and he takes the fall when he fails. All of his films may not be masterpieces (although he's made his share and I generally like all of them well enough), but I have more respect for him than just about any other filmmaker out there.
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  20. Juke Skywalker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2004
    star 5
    Agreed. I love the songs in this movie. Heck, I love this movie. Why? I dunno. It aims low and hits the target. That's good enough for me.

    Oh, and Lea Thompson here *Pheeeew*. Seriously makes a man want to be a 3' duck [face_love] .

    A friend recently turned me on to HDTGM and I've been blazing through their catalog ever since. I listened to the Howard the Duck episode the other night. Very funny. Their live episodes are the best. If you like this one, check out their one for Over the Top.
    Last edited by Juke Skywalker, Nov 18, 2013
  21. Bobatron Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 3
    In the summer of 1986 there were two movies I wanted to see more than anything else: Top Gun, and Howard the Duck. I can't remember my initial reaction to the movie other than the satisfaction of finally seeing it after much anticipation and being fascinated by the duck world and its parallels to Earth. I wanted to see more of that but that sort of thing has been overdone now. I liked the theme song and requested it on the radio. I still have the tape I used to record it. I'll watch the movie now and still be entertained. The score is endearing and sticks in my head a lot.
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  22. AndyLGR Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2014
    star 2
    This has really fond memories for me. The mid 80's were a great time for films and I was old enough to be going to see them with friends. Not only that it was the advent of video rental too so it really was a more accessible time for watching movies.

    I actually went to see this one twice (yes twice) at the cinema, although the second time was with a girlfriend.

    I haven't seen it for a long time, (maybe thats indicative of the impression its left on me). But I thought there were some good ideas in it, I loved the parallel universe, but as already mentioned it veers from slapstick to being a little more scary at the end and its almost like the film doesn't know what its supposed to be.
  23. Darth Darkstarr Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2014
    I have to say that Howard the Duck is one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies :D. It's bad, sure. I don't kid myself about that at all, but it's one of those bad movies that I have a lot of fun watching once in awhile.
  24. AndyLGR Jedi Master

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    May 1, 2014
    star 2
    Fans of this film should watch Guardians of the Galaxy as I believe our duck hero makes an appearance.
  25. Sarge Chosen One

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    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    Yes, in GotG, HTD is voiced by Seth Green.