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Brandon Spoils Movies - Howard The Duck

Written by: Brandon Fisher

HTD

Science moves pretty fast. Accepted theories are disproven on a regular basis, so it would be hard to attack an article or book written in the past based on the conventional wisdom of the time. However, it’s totally acceptable to attack a movie, made years after the founding principles, that bumbles the foundation so much in order to create a leap of faith for the viewers, but in turn leave the audience with a sense of cognitive dissonance. String theory came into formation in the late 60s and early 70s and the assumptions were generally accepted. Howard the Duck came out in 1986 and was not accepted by anyone. Part of the reason has to be the failed attempt at explaining the origin through a loose understanding of string theory, physics and humor.

In string theory, it’s believed that there’s an alternative universe where all the actions you didn’t take are played out. If you’ve ever seen the show Sliders, it’s like that.  If you haven’t, think of it this way – I watched Howard The Duck yesterday - in an alternate universe I chose not to watch Howard The Duck and that version of me is much, much better off. Howard The Duck is based on the notion that in an alternate universe higher intelligence evolved through ducks rather than apes. I am fine with this, but here’s the problem; all other events after that fork in the road would have to follow that course. The Duck/Man would not have an exact reality as Ape/Man except with way more duck puns. For one, we would probably be more water based, we would have lost a significant amount of feathers (as we did with hair) and we wouldn’t speak English – not because it’s improbable that language evolved the same, but because ducks don’t have lips!

Here’s the problem, they set up that this is an alternate universe, but actually he came from a different planet where we assume everything was identical (and don’t get me started on how two moons rather than one would have affected the outcome of the primordial soup.) They couldn’t stick with one theory and everything gets all convoluted. Actually that explains the majority of the problems with the movie. There is too much going on, they can’t stick to a linear story line, they tried to cram in demons and car chases and a bunch of other shit that could have worked better in a sequel if anyone were ever dumb enough to live in that alternate reality where it happened. And the acting. Oh the acting. The emotionless furbie-like head they used for Howard had a wider range than the cast. But you can kind of tell by the middle even the cast knew they were contractually obligated to phone it in (with the exception of Jeffery Jones who went way too over the top – although his character may have been the genesis for some of the mannerisms of his later collaborator Beetlejuice.)

I could write a whole dissertation on the wormholes in this plot, but instead I will just make stray observations and find a new universe where this doesn’t exist. Leah Thompson is in the least punk band ever, yet somehow within a short period after Howard takes over management they’re like the biggest band ever. He must be quick a duck (oh – I mean dick.) The Dark Overlord who inhabits Jeffery Jones body wants to use the laser to transport other Overlords to earth. Why would you want a bunch of overlords? Wouldn’t they just keep trying to overthrow each other? And while we are talking about the laser, why is Howard so concerned about destroying it? It’s the government. Don’t you think they would have been smart enough to build two (or have the Japanese build one like in Contact?)

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