Overview: Howard the Duck crashes on Earth’s surface to promote the downfall of the once great George Lucas and bestiality. Not mixed together though. Universal Pictures; Rated PG; 111 minutes.
The Good: I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a variety of superhero movies here on AE. I’ve written about the all-time greats, modern triumphs, the mediocre, and the all-time terrible. I believe that the genre is earning its place among the likes of science fiction, westerns, and action movies. The Dark Knight is already considered one of the best movies of the early 2000s and rightly so. It was a full on crime drama that just happened to star Batman. There was even outrage when it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture (it was 100% the best movie that year).
Now that that’s out of the way, I’m convinced that Howard the Duck is one of the main reasons these movies still have a hard time being taken seriously. None of the exceptional markers of the modern superhero film are even remotely influenced by Howard the Duck, and yet, you might find The Avengers is forever linked to this shit film by brand and genre.
The Ugly: We’re skipping bad and just going straight for the ugly. Howard the Duck follows the duck, Howard, who lives on Duckworld. After getting abruptly brought to Earth, thanks to some science, Howard saves a punk rock girl named Beverly with his mastery of duck martial arts. He calls it Quack Fu. The two strike a chord and end up flirtatiously sparring throughout the film. She is a human. He is a duck. It’s fucking weird. Howard is an anthropomorphic duck, but a duck nonetheless. When the titular character is being tossed out of his world and into ours, he passes by a female duck in the shower. Since these are anthropomorphic ducks, they have to have human genitalia. I don’t like to jump to conclusions but I think this movie might carry an interest in bestiality. Howard’s relationship with Beverly wouldn’t work if they were both human. Given the difference in species, it’s downright disturbing. Beverly is either treated as a sex object, or a prize for Howard to earn by the end of an action beat.
What the hell was this movie trying to accomplish? Was it for kids? No, because sexual innuendos are too racy for them. Was it for adults? No, because I have a difficult time imagining anybody laughing un-ironically at the onscreen conception of Quack Fu (FUCKING QUACK FU). If there was anything beneath the surface of the movie, then I would at least have something more to discuss here. I couldn’t find a single good idea in this movie.
The Long Run: The fact that this piece of cinematic garbage exists makes my Top 50 Space Adventure Movies list even funnier. His cameo at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy may not spark another effort at building a movie around the character, but his 10 second post-credit scene had more entertainment value than his first 2 hour long sad excuse for a movie.