If you were traveling to the center of the Earth, what would you bring with you?
A good pair of hiking boots, perhaps. Maybe some snacks. Possibly one of those little personal fan things you see people using at the beach or amusement parks because, I don't know if you know this, but the center of the Earth is really hot.
Of all the things that were on that list, I bet one you didn't think of was "my pet duck, Gertrude."
Well, unless you were Icelandic adventurer Hans Bjelke from Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959).
Gertrude is less of a pet to Hans, I suppose, and more of a friend; an extension of himself, even. She would have to be pretty important to come along on this important and dangerous journey. Maybe she was his emotional support duck.
Actually, I think Gertrude may have had superpowers or been somehow more than just an average duck. How else do you explain how she manages to survive a trip into the hellish temperatures under the Earth's crust without being cooked alive? She also never flies away or tries to escape, and even comes along with Hans to free Sir Oliver Lindenbrook and Alec McEwan from captivity at the start of the film.
Hell, if the duck could talk, the movie might have even passed the Bechdel Test.
Of course, whatever her superpowers, they were not enough to keep her from her fate, as the film's villain, hungry enough to eat a live duck … eats a live duck.
I suppose if this film teaches us anything, it's to shoot the villain when we captured them in the first place. Or maybe just don't bring your pet duck on a wild and crazy adventure.