The last time I watched Howard the Duck was back in 1991 and, well, I didn’t really have an opinion. Bear in mind that at the time I was 12 years old and really the only thing I remembered was the monster. So I guess a re-watch was in order.
Now as a disclaimer, due to the fact that I have a tendency of falling asleep during films, I make it a policy that I only review films which have kept me awake. I admit though that for a brief two minutes I drifted off during the pie fight scene of the film. Other than that I was ok throughout the rest of the movie.
Howard the Duck has a bad reputation: A box office flop despite a strong cast (Tim Robbins, Jeffrey Jones, Lea Thompson), some impressive visuals of the time, now they look dated and the financial backing of George Lucas. Oh even John Barry conducts the orchestral interludes. However Howard the Duck is a testament that despite all the cash and appropriate casting, a film needs strong script. This is where Howard the Duck is lacking severely.
In my history of watching mediocre films, I have never come across dialogue that is so awful. Every single line in this movie consists of blatantly obvious statements, banal one liners, or childish remarks. Despite the solid cast, they just fail as these dumb lines do not do them any justice. This dialogue is so horrendous that I was sure that I was watching a film aimed at the pre-teen market. This leads to another of the film’s problems.
I am not a film student but I do know that a film should know what its target audience is. Considering Howard the Duck’s simplistic plot; Howard is transported to Earth from his planet, tries to find a way back after some mishaps and when the transportation device that brought him to Earth actually works a second time, it also brings back an alien who wants to take over our planet and plans to use the transportation device to bring his species over. One would think that this is not a film for adults and there’s quite a few juvenile moments that reinforce that but then there’s the famous seduction scene, which is uncomfortable viewing. Also the part where Howard finds a job in a sex spa is not exactly suitable either. Did I mention duck breasts or the duck condom??
Are there any redeeming factors? Although it is a bit overlong, the pacing is ok and I didn’t really mind the special effects but it fails in so many areas that it is too silly for adults and the mature scenes make it slightly unacceptable for children. I can understand that it does have a cult following, with Howard even making cameos in both Guardians of the Galaxy films and talks of a reboot but really I find it hard to actually like this film. Anyone else share the same opinion. I would like to read a defense.