Howard The Duck

An extraterrestrial duck comes to Earth, where he falls for a pretty singer. The couple’s happiness is threatened when government officials intervene.

Year: 1986
Certificate: 12
Director: Willard Huyck
Starring: Lea ThompsonJeffrey JonesTim RobbinsEd GaleChip ZienTimothy M. RosePaul GuilfoyleLiz SagalDominique DavalosHolly Robinson Peete

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A cheesy 80’s Marvel romp that’s somewhat dated but still good, silly fun

With 10 years and and 20 films from the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) as well as countless X-Men and Spider-Man films it’s sometimes easy to forget that there was plenty of cinematic life from Marvel properties way before the current slate of high-quality, insanely popular films. One such example is the outer-space poultry-themed “Howard The Duck” released way back in 1986.

I’ll be blunt here – “Howard The Duck” was a box-office flop and received predominantly negative reviews from critics; many wondering why George Lucas would keep his name attached to the project as Executive Producer. All that being said, I remember seeing this film when I was a kid and having fond memories of it but also remembering being scared silly during some parts. At its initial release it was rated PG but later reclassified at 12 by the BBFC under the 2004 classification guidelines.

So, what about the review then? Well, the premise of the story is that a scientific experiment went wrong and pulled Howard, a talking duck, from his home planet through space where he crash lands in Cleveland, Ohio. There he meets Beverley – a persistent but struggling singer/guitarist in the band Cherry Bomb and ends up staying at her rundown apartment. Luckily for Howard, Beverley has a friend (played by a young Tim Robbins) who works at the local museum’s science department so she takes him to see him and try and get some help.

Howard himself doesn’t look too bad – it’s clearly a small man in a costume but his beak moves quite well during conversations and, while it’s obviously a fake duck, it works quite well especially for a film from 1986.

Storywise the film take a rather weird turn when a Dark Overlord comes on the scene and Howard then has to protect the earth before trying to get back to his home planet. Here the effects do look a bit dated but once you get past that, it is actually quite enjoyable although could be a bit scary for some younger viewers; there’s also quite a bit of innuendo thrown in too.

Overall I would recommend giving Howard The Duck a viewing – while the dialogue is cheesy at times and the effects are somewhat dated, it’s a fun and silly sci-fi/action film that is still enjoyable. Although I’m not sure if I’ll watch it again for another decade or so…

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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3 thoughts on “Howard The Duck

  1. For some reason I still love this film. It is silly (“I know quack Fu!”), and cheesy and I remember the slating it got in the 80’s. But like many such films it seemed to gather a cult following by the end of the 90’s, generally among the student population, and was actually released on DVD.

    So get a large glass of gin (or alcoholic beverage of your choice), get comfy and try this film. Just remember that in the 80’s you have to suspend disbelief and just watch the movie, realism became more important in movies much later.

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