Popeye Blu Ray Review (Paramount)
Popeye is a 1980 musical comedy film directed by Robert Altman (The Player, Short Cuts, Kansas City, & MASH). It’s based on the iconic cartoon character created by E.C. Segar. It was written by Jules Feiffer (Little Murders, Carnal Knowledge, I Want to Go Home, & Comedy Zone). It was a co-production with Paramount & Disney. It was produced by Robert Evans (Chinatown, The Two Jakes, The Godfather 1/2, Urban Cowboy, & The Cotton Club). The budget was $20 million & it grossed $60 million worldwide at the box office!!!!Popeye (played by: Robin Williams from Jumanji, Aladdin, Dead Poets Society, & Good Will Hunting) is a sailor that arrives at the small coastal town of Sweethaven while searching for his missing father (played by: Ray Walston from Galaxy of Terror, The Sting, Of Mice and Men, & Fast Times at Ridgemont High). He rents a room at the Oyl family’s boarding house where the Oyls plan to have their daughter Olive (played by: Shelley Duvall from The Shining, Annie Hall, Roxanne, & Time Bandits) become engaged to Captain Bluto (played by: Paul L. Smith from Pieces, Dune, Midnight Express, & Crimewave). However, on the night of the engagement party, Olive sneaks out & ends up connecting with Popeye. The two eventually come across an abandoned baby in a basket. Popeye & Olive adopt the child, naming him Swee’Pea after the town Sweethaven. Bluto is furious after being stood up so he declares heavy taxation for the Oyls’ property & possessions out of rage. Popeye helps the Oyls’ financial situation by winning a hefty prize from defeating a boxer named Oxblood Oxheart (played by: Peter Bray from Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story, Due South, & Popeye 98). J. Wellington Wimpy (played by: Paul Dooley from Sixteen Candles, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Stephen King’s Golden Tales, & Strange Brew) uses Swee’Pea for his own financial gain during some gambling. Popeye finds out about this & takes Swee’Pea away. Bluto kidnaps the child soon after for revenge. Popeye goes to the Commodore’s ship where he runs into someone from his past. He is forced to eat spinach which he hates during his fight with Bluto but it gives him more power. Can he save the ones that he loves from the evil bully????Popeye is an iconic cartoon character & you would think this would be more of a kid friendly feature but it’s really not. It’s not what you would expect from a live action Popeye film. This comedy musical hybrid is aimed more at adults. I haven’t seen it since it was originally released & it’s kinda of an odd one to be honest. This 1980’s version still feels a live action full length cartoon at times but a little more mature. This was one of Robert Altman’s biggest films & he definitely left his mark on it when it comes to it’s visual style. Robin Williams is perfect as the strong sailor that’s new in town who’s lost & looking for something. This was his first major starring role in a movie. Shelley Duvall steals the show as Olive & her musical scene/song for “He Needs Me” is amazing. It’s been sampled in other films & music. Paul L. Smith always played a great villain & this was no different. It had a solid supporting cast which included Ray Walston & Paul Dooley. It has a little bit of everything when it comes to script which includes drama, love, revenge, music, action, & humor. It’s been 40 years & still a very entertaining experience. It may not be faithful to what you typically expect from the classic cartoon character but it’s a fun version of it. RECOMMENDED!!!!Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Paramount! This 1080p (2.35:1) transfer looks stunning especially for a 40 year old comedy. The production design & locations stand out here. Robert Altman brought the Popeye cartoon world to life in this. It’s a massive upgrade compared to the older DVD & VHS home video releases. It’s the best it’s ever looked. It has a few different audio options which includes English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 & English: Dolby Digital 2.0 on this brand new 40th anniversary blu ray release. The audio is greatly improved here. All of the dialogue is crystal clear, all the action is elevated, & the music has a fantastic boost to it. The singing, the score, & everything else really shines on this. It also has English, English SDH, & French subtitles.Let’s discuss the special features from Paramount! “Return to Sweethaven: A Look Back with Robin and the Altmans” is a little over 13 minutes. It has interviews with director Robert Altman plus his son & lead actor Robin Williams. They go over their experience with Popeye. They chat about the locations & production design. It’s still there today & tourists visit it all the time. They talk about the movie going over budget & flopping at the box office. It ended up getting more life when it hit home video but it did bad in theaters. They go over the music for it & they bring up the actors weren’t trained singers so it took some work to get them to perform their songs in this. They mention special fx problems they had & what they had to do to cover it up until it was fixed. They made up on the ending on the spot. “The Popeye Company Players” is a little over 9 minutes. It has interviews with director Robert Altman plus his son & lead actor Robin Williams. They say the original lead choices were Dustin Hoffman & Gilda Radner. Altman went out to meet Williams after seeing him as Mork on TV. He claims that he was his only pick for the role when he got the job as the director for it. He tells a story where he put his job on the line to cast Shelley Duvall as Olive. He says she was perfect for it. They go over casting Paul L. Smith, Ray Walston, & Paul Dooley for their characters in this. They tell a hilarious story where Smith tells them he is hurting after a scene & they tell him he broke the real door instead of the prop one while filming. All involved have great memories about Popeye. “Popeye’s Premiere” is almost 3 minutes. It has still images from the December 6th, 1980 event set to music from the production. “The Sailor Man Medleys” is a little over 34 minutes. It features all the songs from the film which includes Sweethaven, Blow Me Down, Everything Is Food, He’s Large, Sailin’, I Yam What I Yam, He Needs Me, Swee’pea’s Lullaby, It’s Not Easy Being Me, Kids, & I’m Popeye the Sailor Man. It also has a “Theatrical Trailer” for Popeye. It comes with a digital code. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!