Howard the Duck
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One of the most talked-about movies of all time, Howard the Duck, lands on DVD for the first time ever in an all-new Special Edition! From executive producer George Lucas and the pages of Marvel Comics comes this unbelievably funny comedy about a fast-talking, cigar-chomping, beer-loving duck from a parallel universe who crashes to Earth. Featuring brand-new bonus features, a digitally remastered picture and new 5.1 surround sound, Howard the Duck Special Edition is a hidden treasure the whole family can enjoy.
If you concentrate on the fact that Howard the Duck was a notorious box office dud (still brought up today) and considered one of the worst films of the '80s, it's entirely possible to enjoy this special effects piffle. Howard, played by a special effect puppet, lives on a planet where ducks evolved instead of apes, but one day he's sucked into a vortex and deposited on Earth. There he befriends Beverly Switzler (Lea Thompson), lead singer for the Cherry Bombs, becomes their manager, and, oh yeah, saves the Earth from the Dark Overlords. Jeffrey Jones is the villain and Tim Robbins (!) is there for comic relief. And who can resist the culmination of synthesizer pop, the Howard the Duck theme song, as realized by the Cherry Bombs? A midnight movie that your kids might watch more than you. --Keith Simanton
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Finally, this year, which also marks the 30th anniversary of the Marvel character's screen debut, Universal finally delivers the duck onto high definition with this stellar Blu-Ray release. The video puts all the others to shame. The still amazing special effects look as good as they'll ever look in years. The audio is a knockout in DTS 5.1. Definitely crank it up for the finale in the Dynatechs lab. The extras are the same batch as on previous releases. Still a good batch of material to weave through on the making of the film.
All in all, Universal's new Blu-Ray is a huge improvement over any other home video release of this movie. Now we just need the soundtrack on CD, if it isn't out yet. If you're a fan of this movie, definitely seek out the Blu-Ray. Marvel had to start somewhere. Howard even got a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy and is expected to appear in the sequel. That means the filmmakers had some respect for this movie. George Lucas may have disowned this movie and it nearly cost him his filmmaking career, but deep down inside, he still has respect for it. It came out, it bombed, and it fell into obscurity for many years. Then it got reignited into a cult favorite by legions of fans today. Now 30 years later, this movie looks better than ever. A movie that I feel was way ahead of its time. So do yourselves a favor and check out this highly underrated classic, especially in its brand new high definition format. You'll be glad you did.
For 30 years it has been called 'the biggest flop of all time' and other such terrible labels. Well, it cost $30 million dollars (nothing compared to today's budgets, inflation or no inflation) and took $37 million worldwide and that's not even counting the higher-than-you-think rental revenue. Add it altogether and HTD is most definitely NOT the flop it is accused of being. But since it was a rather eccentric (and occasionally raunchy) family comedy (an easy target) and one of the first films to significantly under-perform at the domestic box office (George Lucas expected the returns to be astronomical) it became a scapegoat for bad studio spending and taste.
I guess that the world needs something or someone to blame when pop culture goes wrong and the jackass critics I mentioned already seized upon Howard's failings to make a name for themselves. Derogatory soundbites are easy to come up with and everyone who hated the film used some kind of duck-themed insult to put it down and make themselves feel clever. But, when you think about it, these are basically the same people who will deliberately give a bad film a great review just to see their own name on the poster. You ever see a recent M. Night Shyamalan movie with quotations on the poster? They exist.
The film also suffered a further bad rep when George Lucas publicly disowned the film. It's under-performance forced him to sell off a part of his company which went on to become Pixar (think of how much he could have earned if he didn't) and it really made him quite angry. Wouldn't you be? But I consider this a good thing as Lucas owning Pixar would have been disasterous. Howard's failure stopped Lucas from having too much power and I am happy with that.
I am a huge fan of the late Steve Gerber's comic-books. HTD was basically the first BIG comic-book movie and came surprisingly soon after he found success in his own series. Howard first appeared in an issue of Man-Thing and starred in a few other issues of Conan and even Spider-Man before Marvel gave him his own wings in the late 70s. The comic-book stories are the most surreal, archaic and satirical I have ever read and it's a shame that they had to tone it down for the movie, but that's to be expected.
As an ordinary duck working for an advertising company on his home planet of Duckworld, Howard is blasted across the universe right out of his living room by an experimental laser developed by Dr. Jenning (Jeffrey Jones). He lands in Cleveland, where he meets Beverly Switzler (a super-duper cute Lea Thompson) a rock singer who takes him under her wing...I mean arm. Now trapped in a world he never made the one attempt at sending him back home unleashes the forces of the Dark Overlord of the Universe on Earth through the possession of Dr. Jenning and he intends to bring more of his demons through the portal. Yeah, that sounds pretty heavy. (Weight has nothing to do with it)
I'm actually a sucker for duck-related stuff. I don't know why. Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Duck Tales, Darkwing Duck, Duckman etc. The list goes on and on. What I particularly like about the HTD movie is how most people seem to be completely at ease at talking to a humanoid bird and Howard himself is A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E.
Some of the fairer critics claimed that the film might have been a bigger hit if they had used CGI or traditional animation to bring Howard to life, but I must disagree. Part of the appeal of Howard is the fact that he is actually physically there and not some ghost who has been photo-shopped in afterwards. I love the duck suit, to me it is completely convincing and Chip Zien's voice work is perfect. I'd totally love to have Howard as a pal. The special effects are also a perfect mix of genuine stuntwork, optical fireworks from ILM, and outlandish stop-motion creatures courtesy of Phil Tippett.
No joke, this film has a unfairly notorious history and a totally wrong perception by the general public or those who turned their noses and beaks up when it came out in 1986. Clear your head of any preconceptions that you might have and enjoy it on its own level. Though we really could have done without that silly narration over the opening title.
The Blu-ray looks great in 1.85:1 1080p with DTS HD-MA 5.1 sound and a lot of good extras. Totally worth buying.
Most recent customer reviews
the story felt like it dragged.
some of the special effects were cool but the story was meh.Read more