Sunday, January 06, 2013

Next Popeye: Seasin's Greetinks!

The frozen lake.  Is there any other location more beloved in the world of cartoons and some movies?  Time for Popeye to stake his claim on Winter before global warming makes it a distant memory for good.


I think he's finally hitting the right note with his pipe.  We see Popeye ice skating to Olive's house.  No chin-high snow drift can hold him back.  He clears Olive's snow-covered porch with the last note of his theme.
And now, time to knock on the door... could it be?  Did the Stooges rip off Popeye as well?  Figures.  See, Popeye knocks on Olive's head when she opens the door.  Olive kicks Popeye in the ass, and calm is restored.  Popeye brought Olive a present, saying "I brung ya a Christmas prezink!"  Olive sheepishly says, "Oh, thank you!" even though her mouth doesn't reflect that.  He then opens the present to reveal ice skates for her, then proceeds to have them installed, like horseshoes on a horse, but without the nails.  Am I the only one who thought about the foot tickling scene in Bridge Ahoy!?  Probably.  We'll get to that one soon enough.  He has a little trouble with the second skate.  And so, with her new skates on, Olive proceeds to start flailing her legs around willy-nilly.
Cross-fade to the lake, where Olive is still flailing her legs.  After a while, Popeye finally helps her out.  Wotta guy!  She's gained her balance, and soon they're off... does Popeye have his hands on Olive's ass?  Anyway, ... oh, here comes Bluto.


What could ruin this serene scene?  Bluto, that's how.  And how!  His treachery has already begun with his entrance: he's being dragged by either a tiny puppy or a tiny bear cub.  Probably a puppy, huh?  He's using a giant whip on the puppy.  The whip seems to be about the same size as the one he used on the horse in... I forget the name.  I think it's Be Kind to Aminals.  God bless YouTube.  Meanwhile, Popeye lets Olive go to see how she does on her own.  As you'd expect, she does all right until she opens her eyes.  There but for the grace of God.  Somehow, she ended up behind Bluto.  Bluto lets his beast of burden go, and nabs Olive with his whip.  Clearly, Olive's gone from the frying pan to the fire here.  Fear not, Olive!  Popeye's on his way!  He skates the same way he gallops.
Bluto sees Popeye approaching and gives him a Christmas sock to the jaw.  Oh dude!  Popeye's letting it get to him.  He doesn't even get a comical shiner or nothin'.  But he takes a beat to recover, then says "This is a day for peace on Earth."  I'm sorry, "Oith."  Then, he hits Bluto, and Bluto goes flying into the snow, making a very deep snow angel.  "Happy New Year!" says Popeye, and Olive and he skate away.  Bluto has to climb his way out of the snow angel with a ladder.  Tee hee hee!!!  Oh, the mumbling's getting worse in these meshuggeh pics.
Back to Popeye and Olive.  Popeye supervises Olive's practice some more as she makes some awkward figure 8s.  She eventually falls, cracking the ice and getting dipped ass-first in the icy cold water.  Popeye pulls her out of the water and they both stand there, Olive visibly shivering until a cube of ice forms around her ass!  Popeye finds this hilarious and laughs.  Olive doesn't hit him back, even though he deserves it.  She takes the high road, and raises her nose and skates away with her ass ice cube.  All the while, snappy jazz music plays in the background.
Olive then falls on her ice-cubed ass and starts sliding merrily along.  That is, until she finds the lake's edge where the ice ends and the rushing river begins.  Don't think about it.  Fortunately, she signals and narrowly misses plunging right into the rushing water.  Just then, however, Bluto skates up to taunt Olive some more.  I mean, shows up on skates.  After Bluto does some showboating, he asks "Cantcha go for a guy like me?"  Olive turns up her nose right proper this time.  For Bluto, it's the last straw.  Time to take off the ice skates and put on the ice-cutting saws.


Bluto takes two ice-cutting saws out of his pockets and puts them on his shoes.  He saws the ice until the chunk with Olive on it breaks off, and she sails away down the river, much like that polar bear floating away... phooey.  I shoulda known that'd be hard to find.  Anyway, Olive's floating away, yelling for Popeye. Cut to Popeye, who's busy declaring his love by etching a heart with an arrow through it in the ice.  Note the use of perspective on the arrow!  Is there nothing that man can't do?  He admires his handiwork until he hears Olive's calls of distress.  He's off to save his goil!  Bluto, however, stands in his way, repeatedly punching him against a thin tree on the shore.  Even Nature seems to be against Popeye, but I can hardly blame it, seeing as how often Popeye does things like scaring clouds into submission, and drowning bolts of lightning.
Speaking of Nature being the enemy, the dramatic stakes are raised when Olive turns out to be heading for a waterfall.  She gets so scared, the ice cube around her pelvis quickly melts.  Meanwhile, Popeye's had enough of playing around with Bluto.  Without the aid of spinach, he gives Bluto a big punch anyway, sending him into the water.  There's two holes in the ice, and a giant ice cube with Bluto in it comes out the other hole.  "Well, I'll be seein' ya!" says Popeye as he pushes Bluto down the hill.  Reminds me of Betty Boop's take on Snow White.  Bluto slides until he hits an icebox.  Ice trays come out of the icebox, and fill up with perfectly square ice cubes.  Entropy has no place in Fleischer cartoons, especially when the now filled-up ice trays jump back into the ice box!
Back to Popeye, who's on his merry way to save Olive.  Olive's clinging to life at the absolute edge of the waterfall.  Popeye stops at the last second, realizing he's about to go over, and tries desperately to save his own damn self... and fails.  To be fair, he gets hit by a big stray piece of ice, and down the falls he goes.  He lands at the bottom of the waterfall but, without the aid of spinach, is able to swim all the way back up!  I guess it's the principle of the thing.  He tries to reach for Olive in much the same way he tried to free her from the railroad tracks in the first pic, but they cheat, and Olive climbs to safety using her own elongated legs... you just have to see it for yourself.
Popeye takes Olive to safety... or does he?  We pan up to the top of the hill that they're next to and... holy smokes!  Bluto's triumphant return!  He's getting a giant snowball ready to let loose on Popeye and Olive!  Bluto gives it one final push, but starts tumbling down the hill with it, eventually getting caught up inside the very snowball he wanted to push down the hill!  A third rate delivery job.  Back to Popeye, who realizes that a job like this calls for spinach.  The accompanying music, however, is much more patriotic this time instead of the usual version of Popeye's theme.  The very foundation of Christmas is at stake!


And so, the giant snowball with Bluto in it plops down in front of Popeye.  Bluto's head is exposed at first, but gets covered up by a bunch of snow, and... what else?  The snowman effect is complete.  No top hat or carrot nose, however.  One punch, and the snow is gone, and poor Bluto is left clutching his stomach.  Another punch, and stars begin circling around Bluto's head.  However, there is a rather Christmas tree-like tree in the background, and the stars migrate from Bluto's head to the tree, decorating the tree from the bottom up as they go.  There's a metaphor there someplace, probably something about the hard work of others being the gift that society depends upon, even though no one wants to admit it.  "Season's greetings to you all!" says Popeye, rather than his usual "Cuz I'm Popeye the Sailor Man."  If even Popeye can learn a little bit of selflessness, perhaps that's the true meaning of Christmas... I mean, the Winter Solstice.  This usually isn't one that I go to when I crack open the ol' Popeye DVDs, but maybe that will change.  Maybe that will change.

Good double bill with: Axe Me Another
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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