Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Give Us Your Worst, Part 2: Howard the Duck

Widely considered one of the worst movies ever made, we don't recall ever having seen Howard the Duck in its entirety. Some of us have memories - somewhat repressed - of having seen moments, images and scenes, of the film when we were children, but this is the first time The Middle Room has screened the movie.

From a critical standpoint, there is little doubt that the film is bad, technically speaking. And we certainly have no need to ever see it again. However, watching it on the heels of the irredeemable Barb Wire, we were more fascinated than anything else. The puppet was clearly thrown together in a shop, but the movie itself feels like it was produced on another world. The notion that anyone on our Earth could have greenlit this, let alone filmed it, is impossible to comprehend.

We certainly did not like the film, however it managed to earn our grudging respect. The movie was fearless in walking a tightrope-thin line between genres, tones, and target audiences. The puppetry was pure kid's stuff, while the subject of the movie's jokes felt startlingly adult. There wasn't much in the way of death, but the monster was genuinely disturbing.

In tone, this was similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit: cartoon noir. However, while Roger was actually funny, moving, and exciting, Howard was just... bizarre.

For all the movie's flaws, however, it wasn't boring, save the extended chase scene towards the end. Overall, it was a strange and sometimes unpleasant thing to behold, but it was, after a fashion, intriguing. This wasn't so bad it was good, but it was so weird it was interesting. A bad comic book movie, certainly. But, by our estimation, far from the worst.

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