Actually, Gloria Katz says it best, I think: “Tim understood how silly and absurd it was going to be…” Silly and absurd pretty much sums up his over-the-top ridiculous performance.
And not “absurd” in the existential sense that would have actually been true to Gerber’s vision, but “absurd” in the “isn’t this some stupid shit I’m doing” sense.
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But to be fair, Lucas had a good track record up to this point. Take that away and you’ve got an empty, silly, experience, with no value whatsoever. Plus, her performances with the band Cherry Bomb, made up of professional bass player Dominique Davalos, Liz Sagal (half of the twins from the TV series , and more) weren’t half bad.
But if this was supposed to highlight ILM, it was a mistake. Screenwriter, Gloria Katz, says, “It’s a film about a duck from outer space… We’re supposed to have fun with this concept, but for some reason reviewers weren’t able to get over that problem.” And that’s the problem. The songs were written and the performances choreographed by young Thomas Dolby, and aside from the awful sad song in the middle of the film, the other songs, “Hunger City” and “Howard the Duck” are actually pretty good. It also helps that George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic co-wrote “Howard the Duck.” Which explains the line, “If it ain’t funk, he don’t feel it.” Ed Gale, who plays Howard, also does amazing work given the limitations he had to work through.
With the occasional bizarre sexual titillation and tease.
Which isn’t to say that this is a complete train-wreck of a film. The plot, as it is, is this: Some scientists fired up a giant laser that really has no purpose other than to be a giant laser.
So Howard has to choose between stopping the demonic invasion and destruction of a World he Never Made and getting home. The rest of the film is mindless filler that alternately appeals to children and to emotionally stunted adults. And I’ve even gone out of my way to find good things about weak projects like . You can make Captain America a young Marine, injected with the super-soldier formula to save his life.
We get musical numbers, Quack Fu fighting, explosions, and an exceedingly long chase sequence. I didn’t mind so much when the filmmakers made fundamental changes to the characters’ personalities and histories in those instances, so why get hung up on changes when the character’s an anthropomorphic duck? He still represents a hopeful, patriotic ideal who fights crime.
Even parts of his apartment that are only passed over for a few seconds are filled with Ducky goodness.
Including his time as a Duck Pot Grower, apparently.
), and Gale was hired as his stunt double/stand-in.
However, when shooting conditions became too much for the kid (limited hours, claustrophobic suit, etc.) Gale stepped up and won the role.
This is probably the best part of the entire film, as it appeals to the old-school fantasy fan in me.