Buff sailor man Popeye arrives in an awkward seaside town called Sweethaven. There he meets Wimpy, a hamburger-loving man; Olive Oyl, the soon-to-be love of his life; and Bluto, a huge, mean pirate who is out to make Sweethaven pay for no good reason. Popeye also discovers his long-lost Pappy in the middle of it all, so with a band of his new friends, Popeye heads off to stop Bluto, and he's got the power of spinach, which Popeye detests, to bust Bluto right in the mush. Watch as Popeye mops the floor with punks in a burger joint, stops a greedy taxman, takes down a champion boxer, and even finds abandoned baby Swee'pea. He's strong to the finish 'cause he eats his spinach.Written by
Dylan Self <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Popeye's arrival in Sweethaven and Popeye getting into a fight with the gang at the burger bar, when the gang insults him is a nod to the western genre. See more »
When Popeye finds his pappy tied to the chair hanging from the ceiling in Bluto's ship, he takes his pipe out of his mouth before he hugs his pappy. Seconds later, the pipe is back in his mouth. See more »
Friendly here. A little scary too. I think I'll spend a year.
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The film begins in black-and-white, showing a vintage Paramount logo and the opening credits for the 1930s Paramount-Fleischer Studios Popeye cartoons. However, an animated Popeye appears and sees this is the wrong opening. The movie then cuts to full color, and the opening credits continue. See more »
A recent television version is altered in at least one way. Bluto's song "I'm Mean" is eliminated from the soundtrack as he trashes the Oyls' family home waiting for Olive Oyl. See more »
Newspaper comic strip makes for outdated but charming film.
Highly underrated film version of the original comic strip. That's right, Popeye's purpose was to sell newspapers long before he hit the theaters as an animated short subject star, and this movie brings to life those characters such as Rough House the cook and Bill Barnacle the town drunk that appeared in the Thimble Town Theater strip (and then later, Popeye comic strip). It also brings along some of the subject matter usually handled in daily newspaper comics such as tariffs and land barons. Perhaps this is why Robert Altman, not a director known for family films, was brought onto the project. (Screenwriter Jules Pfeifer incidently started out as a comic strip writer before venturing into adult film projects such as Carnal Knowledge and Oh! Calcutta.) The problem is that the film should have been made, could have been made, in the early forties. The audience would have at least understood the subject matter (For example, the delightful Blondie film series is now great nostalgic slapstick fun but younger audiences don't have enough understanding of WW2 family life to appreciate it fully). Most audiences who watch the live action version of Popeye are expecting the cartoon series of the fifties (or egad, the 70's!). The contemporary newspaper crowd (who is the usual intended target of Altman) grew up with Popeye on TV, not in the comic strip, not on the silver screen sandwiched between newsreels of battleships and the latest W.C. Fields comedy! Would they even understand the appropriateness of sweet sea chanties? Some sort of concession was made by having the actors mimic the characters as portrayed in the film cartoons. They do a really good job with it too. Robin Williams has the under-his-breath mumble, the hick-upy laughter, the stance, walk, bulging arms that do helicopter blade turns in a fight. Shelly Duvall (a former Robert Altman protege) pegs Olive Oyl perfectly, especially with her waving of arms and pretzel twisting of legs as she tries to turn around in confusion. Just watch her walk out of a room and it seems like your watching a cartoon. Together, Williams and Duvall have real chemistry and are a delight. Swee'Pea is one of the most enduring infants ever (and so little is ever said about him). His facial expressions are just magical (and without today's computer generated effects!). Incidently, he's Robert Altman's grandson. I don't know how many takes it took to get some of those reactions, but it was well worth it. Finally, to answer the harshest critics, was the plot slow and unfunny? Yes to both. The production values, sets, actors, and songs were excellent. The script could have worked under the direction of someone more suited to family-style slapstick comedy which was Paramount's (and Disney's) intention. The pratfalls were too pedestrian, seeming like rehearsals (remember the dance scene from Speilberg's own flop 1942?). Though the film really has heart, the pace of all the comedy bits failed. Acrobats were hired to play many of the non-speaking townsfolks and it looks it. This film needed a director who understood the comedy timing of slapstick routines (from Buster Keaton to Jerry Lewis). Then it could have been the laugh fest it's audience wanted instead of a sweet film with heart and charm. It's a time capsule buried in 1930, unearthed in 1980, and misunderstood in the year 2000. Perhaps Popeye's answer to film historians would be this: "I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam."
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