Thursday, November 11, 2010

Turkey Month Turkey of the Week: "Howard the Duck"

In 1986, George Star Wars Lucas was sure that his next hit would be the big-screen adaptation of the Marvel Comics undergound hit Howard the Duck. Casting Lea Thompson (hot off of Red Dawn and Space Camp); Jeffrey Jones (Ferris Beuller's Day Off) and Tim Robbins (Top Gun) in a story about an extraterrestrial avian brought to Earth via a mad scientist's laser beam, Lucas and company were sure they had a massive hit with this craptatstic adaptation.

While Steve Gerber's randy adult comic book was subversive and original, the adaptation directed by William Huyck (best known for directing the 1979 comedy French Postcards and writing Lucas' first hit American Graffiti) is quite simply a mess of excess. Everything about this movie is so over-the-top (including Thompson's ridiculously huge 80's "big hair"), there's no where to go. While Howard may have worked as a subversive pen-and-ink anti-hero,  but he flopped massively as a a celluloid action hero. And deservedly so, given the excessive effects budget and poorly written screenplay.

Featuring ridiculous performances; really bad special effects; icky inter-species sex and one of the most expensive puppets in film history, Howard the Duck is the one the 1980's worst big-budget movies and (until the later Star Wars films) the nadir of George Lucas' career.

Uncle P knows he saw this movie on VHS in the 80's, but his memories of it are buried deep in the vault of things he'd rather forget. Stupid, vapid and painfully unwatchable, Howard the Duck is perhaps the epitome of everything that was wrong about the 1980's (and that includes rat-tails; parachute pants and jellies).

I'd like to think that even though I was a "New Wave" kid in the 80's, I was still above this kind of lameness, though I'll bet if you ask any of my contemporaries, they'd be just as embarrassed by this crap as I am...
More, anon.

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