Popeye (1980) Reviewed

Popeye (1980)
POPEYE (1980)
Over-maligned and under-appreciated, Popeye may be considered a black mark on the late Robert Altman’s legacy, but lord knows Robin Williams would never be this endearing (or well cast) again. From the simple declarative song titles like “I’m Mean,” “He’s Large,” “I Yam What I Yam,” and “Blow Me Down” (all written and arranged by Harry Nilsson(!), to the amazing set designs that turned the island of Malta into the convincing shantytown Sweethaven, to Shelly Duvall as the very embodiment of Olive Oyl herself — there’s tons to love about this strange strange box office bomb. The timeless “moraliky” tale pushes a “be-true-to-yourself” agenda that goes down easily with lots of vaudeville-style physical comedy and some early choice fight scenes that go down with nary a can of spinach in site. Special props to Ray “Mr. My-Favorite-Martian Hand” Walston for a spot-on rendering of Pop’s gruff papa, Poopdeck Pappy. Cult fave, Paul L. Smith, makes for a menacing Bluto. And that’s Altman’s grandson as adorable “infink” Swee’ Pea. Though there’s a bit of a drag to the final reel and a octopus attack that’s a tad hokey, this is a cult-worthy flick deserving of your respect. A definite fave from the GillMan’s childhood — and yeah, I totally still have the soundtrack on vinyl. ***

~ by Number5ive on May 16, 2008.

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