October 7, 2009

But it's Popeye

Apparently, a live-action version of Popeye was released in 1980. That’s right. Everyone’s favorite cartoon sailor came to life. And who was there to step into this role? None other than Robin Williams. A young, blond Robin Williams with one squinty eye, elephantiasis of the forearms and that special way of croaking out the side of his mouth.
The film opens with a punt floating helplessly on the open sea in the midst of a storm with dramatic lightning and a few waves. Cut to morning in a sleepy fishing village with cartoonish sloping roofs and townspeople bursting from their houses into song. That’s right. It’s a musical. Popeye rolls in anticlimactically and begins to croak his way through town, ending up at the boarding house occupied by Olive Oyl. Miss Oyl is played by Shelley Duvall wearing a cartoon-accurate dress and these awkward boots that resemble Ugg prototypes.
It’s all weak slapstick with pictures falling off walls, guy trying to pick up his hat and kicking it away every time, breaking beds, well-timed ducking and lots of shots of Popeye’s bandy sailor legs jitterbugging around on the cobble stones. And he’s always muttering mildly humorous asides in his croaking little voice which reminded me of Mr. Magoo, another horrible example of cartoon come to life.

My father will always receive ridicule for the day that he returned from the video store, in complete despair, with Mr. Magoo in hand. Always.

Back to Popeye, day two breaks about ten minutes in, and the townspeople begin a dolorous song about food and I’ll admit it, I turned it off. I just couldn’t do it. Apologies. This isn’t a review so much as a warning. This is one of those childhood favorites that shouldn’t be shared with others.



huy said...

this movie is much better if you think about how high on cocaine robin williams was during the filming

Rachel Wrong said...

Thanks Huy. I never thought of it that way.