Howard the Duck
Release year: 1986
Director: Willard Huyck
Screenwriter: Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz, Steve Gerber (Cartoon)
Starring: Ed Gale, Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins, Chip Zien (voice), Holly Robinson Peete
After a hard day at work, Howard, a humanoid duck from another planet, just wants to sit down and relax. But suddenly his chair starts shaking and it flies through the air, with Howard, and lands on a distant planet: Earth. Here he meets and befriends Beverly (Lea Thompson) who contacts her sience friend Phil (Tim Robbins), who knows Dr. Jenning (Jeffrey Jones), and he might know how Howard got here. But they soon discover that something else is coming to Earth, and it is not as cute and feathery as Howard.
Okay, so Howard is obviously a man in a costume and the speciel effects haven’t aged well. But that doesn’t change the fact this is a charming, highly entertaining movie with a witty script and likeable characters. Howard is cute, sarcastic and not long into the movie you accept him as character without even thinking twice about it. Especially the short beginning at his home planet is filled with funny glimpses into a duck version of our world and a story that could easily have appeared silly, is just pure entertainment because of well written characters and a gripping story. Lea Thompson (Back to the Future, 1985) is sweet as singer Beverly, inviting the stranded duck into her life where they bond immidiately. There are plenty of chemistry between them and their relationship is further supported by a great score that somehow binds the two together and plays in your head several days after and whenever you think of the movie in the future. Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption, 1994) is her geeky friend, a bit overwhelmed by standing in front of a real alien and Jones (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986) is magnificent as Dr. Jening, a doctor who gets a much closer encounter with aliens than he bargained for. After he comes into the picture, the movie slightly shifts direction from the fish-out-of-water comedy to almost sci-fi thriller, bringing plenty of tension, but never more than this can be seen by a younger audience as well. This movie and its title character are bound to put a smile on your face, so do yourself a favour and let them.
The first feature film based on a Marvel comic.
Picture copyright: UIP