I mean, if the writers wanted to really make this something for adults, then by all means, go with the edgy sexual stuff. Make this something that parents would be afraid to let their kids watch.
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.
His movement and voice work, combined with a fairly disturbing make-up progression, make his gradual change into a monster a little unnerving.
It has genuinely nasty gross-out moments that probably helps cement this film in the hearts of the freaked out kids who saw it when they were little. The less said about Tim Robbins’ performance as Phil Blumburtt, the better.
This is probably the best part of the entire film, as it appeals to the old-school fantasy fan in me.