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August 08, 1986 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1986-08-08

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Page 8
By Alan Markiewicz
"UE'S MY boyfriend" shouts
a frantic Lea Thompson, in the
new film Howard the Duck. Mean-
while, a mob of angry truck drivers
tries to turn him into foul flambe.
Before the film's end, movie-goers
might be tempted to sympathize with
the truckers. The best that can be said-
for this film is that it strove for great-
ness, but unfortunately, it falls far
It's not that this movie didn't have
promise. Creative genius George
Lucas lent his hand as producer and
the film is based on a comic book
brimming with imagination. Sur-
prisingly, Howard the Duck is
pathetically devoid of intelligent
humor and exciting adventure. In
other words, Lucas has laid a rotten
We first meet Howard on a planet
similar to the earth inhabited by
walking and talking ducks. In almost
no time, Howie is whisked through the
cosmics to Cleveland-yes,
Cleveland-because of a super energy
machine goes awry. Predictably, ear-
thlings are quizzical and hostile about
the bird with the cynical attitude and
cigar, but down-and-out rock singer
Beverly (Thompson) finds him the
cutest duck since Donald. Howie and
Bev fight off Cleveland's low lifes as
well as a scientist (Jeffrey Jones)
whose body is possessed by the evil
alien, The Dark Lord.
Jones's transformation into a

Friday, August 8, 1986

The Michigan Daily

Icy romance
Tyson to create the enigmatic
By Mark FreitaS mystery of her character, and for
Caine to reveal the slick evil of his.
THE problem with being a hope- Previously seen in such films as The
less romantic is that real life Long Good Friday and Cotton Club,
usually just isn't that way and things this is the role Bob Hoskins has
don't always turn out as they were needed to firmly establish his
planned. In Mona Lisa our hero, reputation as one of the best in the
George (Bob Hoskins), has to find this business. In this film he finally gets a
out the hard way. Having just finished chance to use his full dynamic range,
a seven year jail term for the crimes going from the raging anger he is
of his gangster boss (Michael Caine), already famous for to moments of
he returns home only to have his wife wistful sorrow as he sees his dreams
refuse him at the door. He is thrown shattered.
s into a fit of rage, the kind which only Hoskins is a righteous criminal,
Bob Hoskins can pull off. Crawling whom we can root for wholeheartedly
back to his boss hoping for a favor he even as he sets himself up for a fall.
finds the gangster is nowhere to be He is shocked at the violence he sees
seen. He is, however, given a lowly- and becomes further disillusioned
job driving the high-class call girl about his boss. And he wonders in-
Simone (Cathy Tyson, Cicely's niece) cessantly about what his beloved
to her appointments. To say they Simone must do for other men on her
3 "don't hit it off would be an under- job.
statement. She hates his tacky clothes While the character George is at
and loud manners while he despises heart sentimental, this never spills
an arresting moment of the movie of her for her profession and aloofness. over onto the rest of the film. One of
But soon Simone, in an effort to the most emotional scenes in the
felled in battle, the viewer's heart make the best of things, begins to movie occurs with George and
does not go out to him; Howie lacks transform him from an ugly frog into Simone wearing ridiculous star and
the charm of an E.T. In the comic a prince by buying him a new war- heart shaped sunglasses, proving that
book, Howard is a spunky duck with a drobe and softening his manners. And true emotion doesn't need to be soppy,
snappy sense of humor, but the film- he, with perfect galantry, decides and in George's case it can be
makers haven't captured any of the that she is indeed a lady. She becomes downright tacky. The picture is
comic's magic. his Mona Lisa, the mysterious woman filmed with a cool stylishness which
There is one bright spot: a large of the old Nat King Cole tune. He falls helps even more to set off the gruff,
portion of Lucas' millions appear to for Simone and becomes her knight, all too human George.
have been poured into the special ef- off on a quest to search out her lost Throughout, this film gives Bob
fects department, because they are friend. This leads him on an in- Hoskins everything he needs to make
superb. The costume for Howard is vestigative crawl through the London his angry sentimentalist character
perfect in its semi-realistic, yet underground scene of drugs and come to life. Making the best of this
comical quality. As for the villians, prostitution (shades of the Meese perfect role Hoskins gives us the per-
the Dark Lord in both its human and commission). While he is horrified by formance of a lifetime. The viewer is
monster forms is a figure of for- the cruelty of this world, the image of taken in completely, falling for the
midable beastliness. Simone drives him on. mysterious Mona Lisa right through
But Howard the Duck is a project Throughout this story Bob Hoskins to the end where his dreams are shat-
requiring the magic of a Star Wars or is sensational as the gruff, tacky tered. We believe in George like we
Gremlins. Unfortunately, that magic George. The entire story centers upon believe in few other characters. Keep
isn't here. him allowing just enough room for an eye out for Bob Hoskins, an ex-
cellent actor who we can hope to see a
Acc AU lot more of in the future.

the same name.
ghastly, glowing agent of destruction
increases the film's pace. The Dark
Lord's demented determination to do
in all of the earthly life makes him
one of the baddest baddies ever to
taint the silver screen. But, alas, this
essence of evil doesn't appear until
the movie is half over. During the fir-
st 15 minutes Howard has nothing to
do besides cracking flat jokes and
engaging in "quack-fu."
Pervading the entire film is a
paucity of intelligent dialogue. The
lines seem to have been improvised,
but there is no trace of spontaneity.
Howard's wit is so dull and his actions
are so humdrum that when he is

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