Reviews

Ducksploitation

By Matthew Van Allen
Published August 11, 2010

Know what I love lately? That they're making a solid effort at trying to make movies fun again.

Not necessarily politically correct or even logical but instead in a cheesy, rubber suit monster, playing out to mindless self-indulgent crowds, kicking up the heels to bad taste while slipping on the low grade humour - fun!

Yes, folks, we have "Black Dynamite" on video store shelves now, working its way into permanent cult status. We've had a Botox version of the "Karate Kid" just out of theatres and we've got the over-the-top action fest "The Expendables" splattering the screens in a couple of weeks.

And we can't forget the kids! How lucky they are to get a modern day schooling of Hanna Barbara. A Yogi Bear film is set to be released at Christmas and a sneak preview indicates that a Smurf movie is indeed coming next summer! Live action Smurfs!? What the...?

But seriously, 2010 has come with a vengeance and reintroduced many of us to all sorts of old genres. Who would have thought that the Sword and Sandal epics would make their way back to us in 2010? A monolith or something, yes, but myths and mythology? First there was Clash of the titans, Prince of Persia and now both Red Sonja and Conan remakes are in production. What's next, Krull?

Retro 80's is defiantly here in movie form and you know what, I'm kind of excited! We can only hope that this will lead to better things. Except there is sort of kind of one thing missing - one odd duck that probably won't see another remake. (Sniffle, tear, sniffle).

While karate kids are multiplying and Smurfs take over Mount Rushmore, this little quack sits collecting dust waiting to be rediscovered. Truth be told I think if my five year old didn't stumble upon it and hatch, er, latch onto it, I may not have given it a second look.

Ladies gentlemen, boys and girls - only one egg, only one legend - wait for it, wait for it - I give you, Howard the Duck!

Howard the Duck (1986)
Director: Willard Huyck
Staring: Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins, Howard the Duck

Lasers, claymation monsters and an issue of playduck?!

Interspecies romance, a post punk glamour rock band and a young Tim Robbins and the dark overlords? Why have so many people panned this? Can't we just learn to have sit back, relax and have a good quack?

Okay, enough of the puns, let's get down to business. To many this is one of the most hated films of the 80's and was one of George Lucas' biggest (if not the biggest) flops. Based on a Marvel Comics character from the 70's, Howard the Duck revolves around the story of a Intergalactic Talking duck (man) who is suddenly transported through time and space into LA. From there Howard the Duck is led on a series of chases and mishaps in an attempt to relocate the hidden secret that will send him back home.

Do yourself a favour. Give this another go, or you've never seen it, experience it for the first time. Don't settle for imitators (because there aren't any). Go out and see old Howie put a whoop-ass on Jeffrey Jones and the Dark Overlords.

* Howard the Duck will be screened free on August 31 and again for a special matinee performance on September 12 at the Sky Dragon, 27 King William Street. Presented by The In Between: Moving Pictures and Culture.

Matthew is the RTH film and culture critic. He runs The In Between: Moving Pictures and Culture, which you can find inside Sky Dragon at 27 King William Street.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted August 11, 2010 at 23:28:37

If you're looking for other "so bad they're good" movies, I'd also recommend a little gem called Theodore Rex

Comment edited by UrbanRenaissance on 2010-08-11 22:28:49

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By M (anonymous) | Posted August 11, 2010 at 23:30:15

Double feature with Swamp Thing on the 31st? A comic nerds delight! Spohisticated comic nerd that is!

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 12, 2010 at 09:08:50

Here's the thing that bugs me about all these nostalgia films: they're being marketed at kids. Now, on the surface that makes sense - Smurfs was for kids, so a remake of Smurfs should also be for kids....

but modern kids have barely even heard of Smurfs. So why even buy the license? Why go to all the trouble of remaking a classic product that is decades before your target audience's time? I just don't get it.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted August 12, 2010 at 09:57:42

but modern kids have barely even heard of Smurfs. So why even buy the license? Why go to all the trouble of remaking a classic product that is decades before your target audience's time? I just don't get it. - Pxtl

It is easier and cheaper than thinking of something original.

This happens all the time, in music, movies, etc... You have a hit with a movie about dinosaurs you get 100 more dinosaur movies. A unique sounding band gets a number one single and next thing you know everyone is looking for a carbon copy (even if they have to "manufacture" one). Rip off, rehash, remake... it is the way the entertainment business works.

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By M (anonymous) | Posted August 16, 2010 at 00:16:52

But it is fun! No? Heck who can't smile at a smurf? I'd rather watch the smurfs then UFC!

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By M (anonymous) | Posted August 16, 2010 at 00:18:05

PLus - My daughter is the one who actually showed interest in this. Cool...now i can show her the old re-runs or buy some comics and get her reading!

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