Popeye and Olive pass a gym where an attractive woman is demonstrating boxing equipment. Popeye gets Olive to come in, where he teaches her to box. She has trouble at first, but when the pretty girl comes on to Popeye, she's inspired. They fight over Popeye, with Olive losing until she eats Popeye's spinach.Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
Dave Fleischer was responsible for many gems. Ones that were amusing and charming, though over-cuteness did come through in some efforts and the stories were always pretty thin, with appealing characters, outstanding music and visuals that were inventive and with innovative animation techniques.
'Never Kick a Woman' is one of the best Popeye cartoons to me. It is extremely well done and never less than very funny, its best parts being hilarious. Have always enjoyed many of the Popeye cartoons a good deal and like Popeye very much, Fleischer's efforts were always well animated and scored with lots of entertainment value and great chemistry between the characters. 'Never Kick a Woman' has everything that makes the Popeye series so appealing in its prime era and sees the characters on top form, didn't mind the absence of Bluto at all and feel that with the premise it was the right decision to not have him.
The story is an interesting and beautifully paced one, never being dull, if slightly formulaic (not uncommon with the Popeye cartoons). The humour and gags make it even more entertaining, 'Never Kick a Woman' is non-stop fast-paced wildness, boy is 'Never Kick a Woman' wild, and laughter, avoiding the trap of repetition.
All the characters are great, Olive Oyl is not underused and she charms and amuses. Those two are spot on and their chemistry drives 'Never Kick a Woman' and has so much energy. Popeye is always amusing and likeable and the woman is a great foil. Loved the role reversals here, which was refreshing, and a rare case of Olive not getting the upper hand, which set 'Never Kick a Woman' apart from other Popeye cartoons. The gym setting is used to great advantage, though it's the character interplay that is most memorable here.
Furthermore, the animation is beautifully drawn and with enough visual detail to not make it cluttered or static and lively and smooth movement. The music is also outstanding, lots of merry energy and lush orchestration, adding a lot to the action and making the impact even better without being too cartoonish. Fleischer's direction is always accomplished and his style is all over it.
Voice acting is dynamic and of very good quality, Mae Questel is a good fit for Olive Oyl, the voice that most sticks in my mind for the character and who voiced her the best. Jack Mercer is even better than William Costello.
Overall, great Popeye cartoon. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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