Howard the Duck (1986)
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Disastrously misconceived. The performances and tone often seem right out of daytime kids TV (Tim Robbins is particularly awful), but it's interspersed with a lot of jarring adult humour, which along with all the other jokes, falls completely flat. It does build to a good climax and exerts a strong pull, like watching a car crash.
I still vividly remember seeing the love scene as a kid and going "WTF!"
I've been known to reward odd movies for simply having the balls to get made, but they have to be legit. Howard the Duck has too much money behind it to access that category, though on paper, it might have. The tone is so all over the place that you're constantly asking who they made it FOR?! (Other than producer George Lucas who, with this movie, showed the first signs of not knowing what he was doing, which would evolve into Prequels Lucas.) It's about a cartoon duck, essentially, and the human characters are broad cartoons (Tim Robbins is particularly annoying), but it also has all these sex jokes and situations to appeal to some idea of a 13-year-old in 1986. And yet, we did have some laughs through the first part of the film. The water fowl out of water concept isn't too original, but if this had led to a completely different storyline from the comics, like Howard running for president, it would have had some kind of consistency. Instead, it goes into action sci-fi and totally loses the plot (which must be why everyone is always re-stating it). Every sequence from them on is overlong by a factor of 10. How long is Howard in the plane? How long must he drive around the lab/warehouse before he can shoot the overlord? It feels interminable, and every obstacle in the heroes' way is resolved so easily as to not matter. But I get the sense Lucas was behind the scenes going "spend MORE money, MORE!!!!!", and sure, the film has plenty of cool effects it neither needs nor deserves. Never mind the epic adventure music totally unsuited to goofy scenes of Howard "fighting" mobs of badly motivated antagonists. What this reminded me most of is the Masters of the Universe movie, though in reverse. He-Man's a big epic hero stuck in a Courteney Cox teen comedy. Howard is a funny animal trapped in a big SF blockbuster. It's just not what you signed up for.
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