Howard the Duck 1986 ***

Another ‘so bad, it’s good’ film, George Lucas’ adaptation of the popular Marvel comic is a bright, bold and uncertainly toned confection that fuses many elements of eighties cinema into one strange film. Introduced in a parallel universe just like ours, but inhabited by ducks (Howard reads Playduck magazine), our hero slips into our universe and befriends Lea (Back to the Future) Thompson, who manages to complete he love scenes with a duck-suited midget with aplomb. Steve Barron’s film seems unsure how to treat Howard; some characters fee from him in panic, others seem unfazed by his appearance.  There’s clearly a disconnect between Howard’s anti-authority personality and the crowd-pleasing confection intended, and although Jeffrey Jones’s mad scientist brings down the curtain in a hail of effects, there’s a cool stop-motion monster to savour in the last few minutes, like Godzilla imagined by Aardman animation.


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