(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from 1980's Popeye. The film's theme song plays in the background)
Doug (vo): Did you know that "Popeye" is technically a Disney film? Yeah, it's one of the few times that Disney actually worked with another studio [Paramount] to get a film made. And I'm here to talk about it today. Why? Because, in my opinion, I think too many people hate on this movie. Okay, it's not great, okay, it almost destroyed Robin Williams' career, and...okay, maybe it is a completely pointless film to have around. But with all those factors taken in... (sighs) Let's just look at the story.
Doug (vo): Robin Williams is Popeye the Sailor Man. He comes into town just looking to make a living for himself, and he ends up in a giant house with a giant family, one of them being Olive Oyl, played by Shelley Duvall. And if you know the Popeye cartoon, you kind of know the other characters he's gonna come across. There's a character obsessed with hamburgers named Weepy*, a cute little baby named Swee'pea, and a giant bully named Bluto, who always wants Olive Oyl, but Popeye is always there to fight for her.
*Note: Popeye's hamburger loving pal is actually named Wimpy, not Weepy
Doug (vo): Well, that's all fair and good, but is that enough to make an actual story on it? The answer is...not really. So this story sort of goes all over the place. One minute, it's about him fitting in and getting annoyed with this tax collector, another minute, it's about him entering a fight and trying to win this big cash prize, another minute, it's about the baby and how he can predict the future guessing what's gonna win what race, and another point, it's about him trying to find his long-lost father, and at another point, it's about Bluto wanting to marry Olive Oyl while also looking for buried treasure, it's...holy smokes, what isn't going on in this movie?! This isn't Popeye the Movie, this is Popeye the five or six cartoons thrown into one. But, strangely enough, for all the stuff that is going on in the movie, it has a very laidback tone. And I think that's sort of what throws people off, but in my opinion, I think it's kinda delightful.
[The characters are shown]
Doug (vo): All the actors, for what they have to do, portray their parts fine. A lot of it is just them living in this town, interacting off each other and just trying to make a living. And once in a while, I don't mind seeing a movie like that. In fact, I actually would've maybe liked it a little bit more if it was more on the town and they didn't have to go looking for treasure and all that stuff. But on the other hand, it is a Popeye movie and you kind of gotta do something similar to that, you know, rock 'em, sock 'em, eat the spinach, all that stuff.
[The film's slapstick is shown]
Doug (vo): There is a lot of slapstick and, granted, a lot of it is kinda slow because, well, you're always gonna be comparing it to the cartoon and it's not gonna be as fast as the cartoon, because back then, technology wasn't good enough to do that. But, I think it's okay, because, once again, it is so laidback. That's Robert Altman who directed this, and if you know anything about his work, you know that he usually directs very slow atmospheric movies, and this movie does have a lot of atmosphere. The Popeye cartoons, when you really think about it, are kind of quiet cartoons, at least when thinking of the older ones. Yeah, there's the song in the beginning and end, but they're usually very quiet and a lot of it is sort of lazily dubbed over, but it kind of didn't matter. It just sort of had its own feel to it, and that's kinda what I think of with this movie. It's just kind of its own weird thing. And I think if it was trying too hard to have so much action and adventure and too many jokes, then maybe it couldn't have worked, but I think because it is so slow paced and it does sort of go at its own rate, it doesn't bother me. At the very least, it's an artist just sort of having fun with his version of something that was really popular. And it didn't feel like it was compromised, he was just sort of telling it the way that he saw it.
Doug (vo): But, does that technically make it a good film? Eh...probably not. Like I said, it is all over the place, it is pointless for existing, and, well, the slapstick can't match with the original animation. But I think for me, there's just sort of this nice environment to it, and it has some nice songs, some actual catchy songs. If you're looking for this great big grand adventure that has a lot of comedy that you're gonna be laughing your ass off to, this definitely isn't the movie, but I don't know. If you're a person who likes to spend some days just sitting back and chatting with some friends and doing nothing much else, this is kinda like the cinematic version of that. You know, with a few goofy moments thrown in, but, hey, that happens a lot in laidback conversations, too, right? I can't help it, I have a soft spot for this movie. And if you don't like it, I'm not gonna act like I don't understand. I do. A lot of people can find it boring, they can see it as not very funny. But for me, I see it as just kind of a nice film to pop in to relax to. It's got a few funny visuals, some fun performances, some enjoyable songs, and a lot a good atmosphere. Yeah, it's cheesy and corny, but for making Popeye into a movie, what did you expect? I actually think it's a lot better than what they could have had, at least, for the time period and what technology would allow. Now you can probably make it all CG with a lot of in-jokes and adult jokes and stuff, but for back then, I don't think this is half-bad. From my point of view, it's tough to the finish.
[The final scene of the film, showing Popeye dancing in the water, is shown as a chorus sings]
Chorus: Popeye the Sailor Man!