Every once in a while, I like to explore something that I remember providing me good memories in childhood. I’m sure I’m not alone with this behavior. Nostalgia is one of those things that keeps us from being detached from our youth the older we get. Something that I’m a huge fan of. I admit, I own the seasons of Fraggle Rock, Danger Mouse, and Masters of the Universe. Lately, when I want to take time off from watching movies, I’ve been watching The Muppet Show. And within the last week I put Ultraman on my Netflix cue. I could be just a little to much into nostalgia, but fuck it, it makes me happy. Sometimes I’ll be re-living my youth and say to myself, ”How the fuck did I like this?” It’s happened several times. In fact, it slightly happened the other night when I decided to watch Howard the Duck for the first time in 20 years. Howard the Duck is one of those movies I’ve been trying to get a hold onto for a couple of years, and it was just recently released on DVD. So I thought,”Fuck, lets give it a shot, I used to love that shit.
Let me stress the phrase “USED TO”.
I typically assume that most people in the Free World have seen such a fantastic piece of shit called Howard the Duck at least once in there lives. But just in case you grew up Mormon or something as equally as fucked up, I give you the rundown. Howard is your run-run-of-the-mill guy. After a long day of work, he likes to kick back with a brew, cigar, and a skinmag. Sounds pretty normal, right? Not so much. Howard just happens to have feathers and a bill. That’s right folks, Howard’s a fuckin’ duck if you couldn’t have already guessed that by the title of the movie. It just so happens that everyone on Howard’s “planet” is also a duck and monkeys still throw poo and masturbate without purpose. Not that a purpose is ever really needed, but anyway, Howard really doesn’t have that much excitement in his life. So it’s not surprising that he is not exactly comfortable when he is dragged out of his apartment, off of his world, and through the universe only to end up in Cleveland. Cleveland?!? Can you imagine any other place you would rather not be after being pulled across time and space? Upon his arrival in Cleveland, he is immediately thrown into several gritty, inner city situations which would leave a normal person shitting themselves, who knows what it would do to a duck? He encounters Beverly, the guitarist for Cherry Bomb and they seem to hit it off pretty well until Howard freaks out and tries to make it in the real world. When things don’t go so well on his own, Howard ends up back with Beverly and they try to find a way to get Howie back home. With the help of a scientist friend, Howard and Beverly figure out how the Duck arrived on Earth, but in the process of figuring out how to get him back, a new alien has arrived to our peaceful planet. But he’s not a duck and he doesn’t want to go home.
This movie obviously didn’t appeal to me as much as it did before I had pubic hair. First off, it was later in life that I actually started reading the comic book (yes, these posts always come back to comic books). The movie just doesn’t do the comic justice. First off, where the fuck is Man-thing? Man-thing was an important part of The Howard the Duck saga, and probably would have made this an interesting buddy film. Who needs Beverly the rocker when you get a shambling mound of swamp as your sidekick? I know the writers had to appeal to a wider audience, but I like my comic-based movies to be fairly close to the original storyline. This one came closer than most, but not much.
I also found the storyline to move much too fast. Seriously, Beverly and Howard hung out for one night together, and after a brief separation, she whines about how much she missed him. After one fuckin’ night? Come on, man. How can you develop a close relationship with anybody over one night, much less an obnoxious, duck-thing? The story itself seemed to have taken place over a couple of days or weeks. It made me feel as if the directors were just rushing to get to the last action-packed, rather than taking the time to get to know Howard and how the world deals with him, or he deals with a World-he-didn’t-create(zing!!). A couple of the action scenes were fairly entertaining, but I like a little substance over style in some cases, especially when it comes to the Marvel Universe, a place I know very much about.
The humor was something you would expect out of a PG kids movie: cheesy. Not exactly cheesy good, more of a cheesy bad. But it is a kids movie, so I’m not going to find it as entertaining as I might have in the past.
To wrap in up, I didn’t enjoy as much as I did decades ago, but we are also talking about a time I used to enjoy Garfield comics. You really can’t expect a pre-teen to have the best taste in movies. I was able to sit through the movie and did laugh a bit, but it was more out of embarrassment than humor appreciation. So what it comes down to is this: kids will most likely find this film entertaining because they have no taste. If you haven’t seen this movie since the 80’s, I urge you to watch it after a 6 pack to get the most bang for your buck. On that note, it would be a good background movie in a busy bar, with no sound of course.