- Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: Howard the Duck

Also known as:

Year: 1986

Genre: Action / Adventure / Comedy / Sci-fi

Language: English

Runtime: 110 min

Director: Willard Huyck

Writer: Willard Huyck & Gloria Katz (screenplay), Steve Gerber (character)


Howard, a humanoid duck living on his duck planet, is suddenly sucked into space and travels on his recliner all the way to Earth, where he lands in the dumps of Cleveland. When he rescues a punk rocking singer chick from a gang, they get to know each other and find a friendship. Soon the government hears about this alien visitor and an unbelievable adventure is about to begin to keep Howard the Duck away from the wrong people, so that they can help him back home.

Our thoughts:
"Howard the Duck" was a favorite of mine growing up. I knew it wasn't a typically good movie, but god damnit I enjoyed the hell out of it. As I got into my mid-teens and VHS was dying out, I didn't watch the movie for a long time. A year or two ago I picked up the DVD released by Studio S Entertainment here in Sweden, but was somehow against the idea of actually watching it again. I didn't want to ruin whatever memory I had of it, since apparently this is a total abomination of a film. As a kid, I wouldn't have agreed with this. As an adult? I didn't want to find out. But as I left the theater after the premiere of "Guardians of the Galaxy" (you know the movie!), having witnessed one of my favorite directors make a huge Marvel movie and also include the obscure little bastard that is Howard in the end credits, I got the nerve to go back. I figured I might not like the movie, but I was also confident that I'd be able to see what I once saw in it.

I'm not a comic reader, but I believe this George Lucas produced oddball adventure took many liberties with its plot. You don't need to correct me if I'm wrong - it doesn't matter. But in this "Howard the Duck", the anti-hero duck is essentially sucked into space when relaxing in his recliner one night. He's forced away from his duck planet (but not before we get to see some duck boobies) and travels through space - all the way to Cleveland, Earth. Howard proves that he's not just a crude little sarcastic prick after he saves a young female musician/vocalist of a punk band called Cherry Bomb from a group of thugs. Beyond that, though, he's mostly a bastard. She helps hide Howard from the government, together with a Dr. Jenning - a scientist who is helping Howard to get back to his planet. Unfortunately, something arrives through his machine and takes over his body and mind, turning him into an evil maniac.

Childhood me, are you listening? Okay, good: I am totally okay with you enjoying this movie. I understand it. But this is a bad movie. In no way is it one of the worst movies ever made, and the worst things about it makes it something to laugh at. So, childhood me, you can continue to watch the movie for a few years - but then you have to stop, so that grumpy you can grow up and revisit this trash in 10+ years.

"Howard the Duck" is a piece of shit in many ways, but it's so absurd at times that watching this with friends (which I did) brought a lot of entertainment. There are so many weird parts, from the duck boobies in the opening, to Howard's many poor puns. I just can't believe that the filmmakers thought that this was a good idea, but at the same time I admire everyone involved for making it possible. Because how would my childhood look if it wasn't for this? Revisiting the movie brought back a ton of memories I've held dear. Especially the monster towards the end - which is still a cool, though chunky and outdated, effect. I'll admit that in my mind this monster was present half of the movie, but it was actually just in the end of it. Things like that are quite common, the memory of a movie multiplying whatever aspect you loved of it.

Nothing makes "Howard the Duck" a good movie. I don't dislike the movie because I did have a good time with friends and revisiting memories, but it ain't good. The script should've been rewritten completely and I especially thing the dialogue is out of this world, the effects (especially the suit of Howard) should've been put into different hands, the movie feels incredibly slow at times (the flight sequence goes on forever). It's shitty. But worst movie of all time? Not even close. It has the absurdity, and that alone makes it more entertaining than some of the crap we've gone through for this website. I totally understand why I used to love this movie - though I doubt I'll ever revisit it again.

Positive things:
- It's so absurd.
- Had a good time revisiting memories, despite the movie being bad.
- The monster!

Negative things:
- It's bad. Most things in it are bad. It just shouldn't have been made with this script and this crew.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 0.5/5
Story: 1/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 3/5

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