I Yam What I Yam


Popeye (1980) – While I’ve been a fan of Popeye for some time, this was actually the first time I’d seen Robert Altman’s film about the spinach-eating sailor. I believe it was Robin Williams’ film debut, and while I can’t say I’m usually a particular fan of his, he did a good job Popeye’s voice and mannerisms, including the famous muttered asides. Overall, I think it was a pretty good live-action interpretation of the characters and style of humor from the comics and cartoons, but I’m not sure it succeeded so much simply as a movie. The pacing was slow in spots, and the plot not much to speak of. I also think it more or less assumed foreknowledge of the characters, but I don’t always see that as a bad thing. I enjoyed that we got a good amount of Geezil, who is fairly significant in the comics but only makes cameos in the cartoons. Shelley Duvall was a quite accurate Olive Oyl, but I’m not sure about the movie’s depiction of Bluto. As Beth said, he was more like a feral animal than the cartoon ever made him. And apparently the decision to give Swee’pea psychic powers was due to the fact that the Jeep, who was in the original script, didn’t make it to the finished film. So they transferred some of his power to the baby, and it came across as pretty weird. I guess they didn’t know how to portray the Jeep back in 1980, although I suppose now he’d be computer animated. The film is worth seeing, but there are things about it that could have been done better.

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This entry was posted in Cartoons, Comics, Popeye, VoVat Goes to the Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I Yam What I Yam

  1. Anthony Will says:

    are you familiar with the song “I Am What I Am” from the musical version of “La Cage Aux Folles”?? I believe it is the finale of the play, and the only standard to emerge from it. Your title reminded me of it, and made me think what if Popeye had played the role of the Drag Queen in the play. Hmmmmmmm….

    • Nathan says:

      There was a story in the early comics that had Popeye dress in drag to try to catch an outlaw. He probably did in the cartoons as well, but offhand I can only think of one where Bluto cross-dressed.

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