I went into Howard the Duck, I movie I impulse-bought because it was $5 on Amazon, ready to hold my nose.
Produced by George Lucas and released in the gonzo heights of 80s blockbusters, this movie is notorious, and sometimes shows up on lists of “worst ever” movies. But honestly … it wasn’t so bad! There were some things I liked!
Let’s get the weird out of the way: The main character is a cigar-smoking sarcastic middle-aged anthropomorphic duck, embodied in an impressive-but-also-kinda-creepy costume by Ed Gale and voiced by Chip Zien; he has a dirty mind and — after being pulled out of his universe and deposited on Earth in the dystopic city of “Cleve Land” — falls into a queasy romance with a human woman, played by Lea Michele from Back to the Future.
(In the first few minutes, he infamously crashes through a female duck’s bathroom while she’s in the bathtub and you can see her duck nipples. This movie is rated PG.)
On Earth, there’s a lot of fun to be had if you have a tolerance for weird. Howard’s grumpiness makes him a good fish (duck) out of water, Michele is cute without making it too weird, and Jeffrey Jones (aka Principal Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) shows up as a scientist who gets possessed by an evil alien, which gives him the chance to be super weird in all the best ways. There’s also an alien monster in the final act that has to be seen to be believed, and which would have scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.
If I’m being frank, the actual plot is muddled, the character development is basically nil, and some of the scene transitions are so jarring that you have to assume they were yanked from the pages of the original Howard the Duck comics. (Oh yeah, did I mention? Outside of a 1944 Captain America movie, Howard the Duck was the first Marvel character to ever get a theatrical movie release.) Maybe it was my lower-than-low expectations, but I enjoyed this. Surprisingly, I recommend it. ★★½