Sunday, 4 September 2016

Howard the Duck (4¾ Stars)

When I reviewed this film in November 2014 I said that it's "not an absolute masterpiece". After watching it again today I have to ask myself "Why not?" It's an almost perfect film. The only thing I can fault about it is the cheap looking CGI in the final battle. George Lucas really should go back and improve the special effects. He's done it before.

Apart from that one caveat, the film is perfect. It accurately portrays Howard as he was presented in the 1970's Marvel comics. He was a sleazy, foul-mouthed anti-hero, pulled from his world to ours by a freak cosmic occurrence. On Earth he meets Beverly Switzer, the guitarist in an all-girl glam rock group called Cherry Bomb. Together with her he has to save the Earth from the Dark Overlord of the Universe. Does that sound corny? Damn right it does! The comics, written by Steve Gerber, were a spoof of the comic book style of the 1970's. There were also political statements, but first and foremost he was parodying comics.

Howard wasn't too shy to engage in an inter-species relationship. This was one of the things most criticised in the film. It was considered creepy and unsettling. Doesn't anyone have a sense of humour?

Howard also became a rock star, teaming up with Cherry Bomb. Go, Duck, go!

The critics savaged the film when it was released. I loved it then and I love it now. The film was a commercial flop when it was released in 1986, but it's now achieved cult status. Howard has become an icon of the 1980's, even to those who never read the comics. It's a brilliant super-hero film, much better than any of the recent Fantastic Four films or Superman films.

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