Friday, May 03, 2013
The Great Blutini
Who knew? Even Popeye gets sick of singing his theme song. Why, I can't even remember the last time he sung it. Like how Stephen Colbert and Jon Daly don't do the toss between their two shows anymore. Sigh... it is two separate shows, isn't it? Anyway, I guess Popeye's saving his chops for the big color two reelers. But back to the cartoon at hand. If there's one thing that Bluto knows, it's showmanship. And he's got a giant neon sign way at the top of the theater at which he's performing. The camera pans down, and twists a little bit. Unsettling! We see a cross-eyed theater patron buying a ticket. Oh, these Fleischer cartoons are all growed up now. No more county fair-type deals with lots of people buying tickets. Sigh. Popeye and Olive show up. Popeye's going to be a gentleman and buy the tickets and... wait a second! They flip for it! Olive loses and pays for the tickets. Ouch. Well, maybe that's a sign of maturity in their relationship. Maybe Olive will stay true to Popeye for a couple minutes this time, who knows. Also, they won't be able to cheat the box office this time, unlike at the county fair, for example.
Next scene: a wide shot of the theater. Popeye and Olive stroll up the aisle. As usual, Popeye hacks his way through the thicket of an aisle, clearing plenty of room for Olive to walk through. Only in a Fleischer toon. They end up taking a balcony seat. I'm telling you! American Imperialism! We zoom in to the stage, where the real action is. Bluto the Munificent makes a cane appear, literally growing it from the garden of the stage floor. Then, he makes the cane walk off the stage. The audience explodes with delight. Cut to Popeye, unimpressed. Olive claps away, not realizing how she hurts Popeye whenever she does stuff like that. "Isn't he wonderful?" says Olive. See what I mean? Popeye tries to be as big about it as he can, saying "I don't believes in such things." I want to make sure I get his grammatical mistakes right.
Now, for Bluto's next trick. He goes over to the orchestra. They all seem to be asleep! Either Bluto's just that good, or they're on lunch break. Either way, we can see that the bass drum isn't part of the painted background, so it's going to move. Bluto makes the drum rise. Hawt damn, he's Yoda, isn't he? The drum makes a sound like someone tuning a radio as it rises. Then, Bluto makes the tiny sleeping drummer's sticks rise. And then... even though the sticks don't wanna work, they start banging the drum all day. Is there nothing YouTube doesn't have?
Popeye, still unimpressed, starts emptying his pipe into his hand. Might as well make some use of the time if you're not going to enjoy yourself, right? Just for good measure, he blows and makes a musical note with his pipe. Olive tries to shush Popeye quiet, but to no avail. Repeat. This time, Bluto loses his concentration, and the drum falls on his head. Bluto's got a new drum collar now! The audience laughs. How quickly they turn. Popeye's laughing as well. And Olive's clapping... well, that just doesn't make any sense!
Before the drum fell, Bluto noticed where the interruption came from that broke his concentration, so, with eyes widened, he turns his attention in full towards where it came from...
"Will someone kindly step up on stage?" Bluto asks the audience. But I have a feeling he already knows who he wants for a volunteer. His eyes get some weird waves in them (Only the Fleischers!!), like something out of Men in Black, and he walks over to Popeye's and Olive's balcony seats. "Will you, Madame?" asks Bluto. Embarrassed, Olive politely refuses. She's just a regular gal, you see, and not some kind of Broadway Baby! You'll never guess how Bluto reacts to that. Bluto has a little trouble at first levitating Olive onto the stage, but he eventually lands this fish. Olive tries several times to run away (Lol), but it is of no use. Bluto overpowers Olive and starts this new stage of his act. "YOU ARE NOW A CHICKEN!" Bluto commands Olive. And sure enough... Olive starts walking around like a chicken, pecking at the ground and everything. Olive even cock-a-doodle-doos once. Now, you might think to yourself "But she's not a rooster!" Well, I can tell you from experience that every once in a while, if hens have lived with a rooster, they'll imitate the noise every now and again. We went through a chicken phase a long time ago, and we got a rooster by mistake. After we gave it away, the hens every now and then would make a rooster-type noise. They also really really loved earwigs, but no one cares. Trust me.
Eventually, Olive sits down with her legs folded under her, as though she had a mass of feathers to hide them. The audience erupts with thunderous applause. Maybe TV's not a bad thing nowadays! Meanwhile, we start hearing staccato corn cob pipe signals. We eventually see Popeye in his balcony seat, madly pacing back and forth, blowing on his pipe as if to alert the Navy. No, it's shore leave time, and it's every sailor for himself.
And... because it's a cartoon... yup, you guessed it. Bluto says "Abadabadabadabbadabba dabbadabbadabba BLEAH" as though he's eating a big piece of prime rib. Olive sits up and... voila! A giant egg has been laid. Looks more like ostrich than chicken, but who's splitting hairs other than me? Popeye paces and blows his pipe in double time now. He stops and says "That's all's I can stands, cuz I can't stands no more!!!" I should know if that's a first... but I don't think it is. Popeye takes to the stage and tries to shame Bluto for treating Olive that way. Then Popeye goes in for a punch. Bluto, however, freezes Popeye with his hypnotism powers, and turns Popeye's fist onto Popeye instead! Oh, the humanity. Popeye flies over to Stage Left in a heap on the stage floor. His chin is next to his buttocks; oh, it's the saddest thing I've ever seen. Popeye stands himself up like a gymnast might, and prepares for the next onslaught. And now, David Letterman's favorite part: Bluto is about to turn Popeye into a monkey. Fortunately, there's a mirror next to Popeye, and Popeye's able to summon enough strength to pull the mirror in front of him just before Bluto unleashes his hypnotism energy. Bluto lets the finger energy fly and... yup, before you know it, Bluto is transformed into a monkey-ish version of himself, and he waddles around stage eating bananas and flinging poo. Just kidding. Ah, the modern memes. Can't get enough of 'em.
Once again, the audience is loyal to no one and, as Monkey Bluto sits on stage, scratching himself, they erupt with thunderous applause. Popeye laughs, then takes a long, luxurious bow. For Popeye's next trick, he takes a prop tree and moves it to the center of the stage. Monkey Bluto starts brachiating up to the upper branches of said tree. The band plays "Man on the Flying Trapeze," of course. Gosh, but they use that song an awful lot! Well, we've still got about two minutes left, so Bluto's overdue to come out of his self-hypnotic state. When Bluto reaches the top of the tree, he beats his chest and lets out a Tarzan-esque cry. The branch he's standing on breaks, and Bluto plummets to the stage floor, unfortunately for him. But fortunately, the force of the landing is enough to bring him out of the hypnotic state. He immediately gets to work on Popeye again, turning Popeye into a "jackass." Sheesh! I thought these were family-friendly cartoons. Say what you will about Disney cartoons: they're all family friendly, every last one of 'em. Sign the waivers, kids, and watch to your heart's content.
Lol. Popeye mumbles "I'm a jackass? Who, me?" Popeye's ears get long and point like a rabbit, and he starts whinnying like a mule. Holy chimera, Batman! Popeye does a bunch of donkey kicks, and the audience is delighted. Popeye kicks the pile of branches from the fake tree, then the tree, then Bluto! Bluto flies up into the air... but lands on soft Popeye this time. If that doesn't kill Popeye, nothing will. "Ahhhhh!" sneers Bluto. Popeye goes in for another punch, but gets frozen again. "Abba-dabba!" declares Bluto. And yes, as YouTube's SoxGrrl312 rightly points out, Popeye is frozen but is able to mumble to himself, "Ah, abba dabba yourself." Inspired by Popeye's fighting tactics, Bluto goes in for a punch himself! Bluto slugs Popeye, declaring "Smack-a!" Popeye flies towards Stage Right and bounces off the scenery; a phony Greek column, in fact. Or is it Roman? So much for that Art History class I took 20 years ago. Sheesh! The loop repeats, but Popeye doesn't bounce as far this time. Time for some damn spinach. Oh! And probably for Act Three as well! Forgot about that.
Well, Popeye's not able to put much hypnotist flair into it, but he reaches inside his shirt... eww! ... inside his shirt to get the world's thinnest can of spinach out of it. Meanwhile, Bluto's laughing quite sinisterly, if that's a word. Hmm! No red wavy lines under it. Then again, no red lines under "Hmm!" either. Popeye gives the can a good squeeze. The spinach does a 360 in the air before landing in Popeye's mouth.
And so, with the spinach swallowed, Popeye does a little rising himself, and maybe even a yoga move! He stretches his fingers to the ceiling and prepares for battle. No special costume for Popeye this time, he's just going in as a plain old sailor. But wait! Popeye's barely moved from his spot, when Bluto invades his space over on Stage Right. Oh, this guy deserves a beatin'. But not just any beatin', mind you! Popeye swings his hips back, then hits Bluto with his buttocks right in the face. Oh, the humili-grashkun of it all! Popeye stands there, looking contemplative and holding his pipe, while Bluto has to struggle to get to his feet. Bluto shakes his face and stands up to take on Popeye a second time (post-spinach). Bluto declares "Hocus pocus!" and aims his hands at Popeye. Big mistake. Popeye's hopped up on the spinach now, and is able to punch Bluto's hypnotism waves into submission; therefore, they have to be visible for that. Popeye walks towards Bluto, punching like a madman, then knocks Bluto plum right out of his shoes. Bluto goes flying into the air, and his shoes walk over to where Bluto's going to land. A perfect landing! Who's in the hypnotic state now, bitch?
For Popeye's next feat, he unravels Bluto's turban a little and ties the end of the cloth to his own head. Oh, this is going to be good. Popeye reorganizes his arm muscles slightly, then he unleashes a mighty punch on Bluto. Bluto twirls out over the audience like a giant yo-yo. Bluto returns to the stage, and Popeye gives him a second punch. "Abba dabba!" says Popeye. Ouch. Bluto lightly crash-lands in the balcony, and Bluto's magician hat reassembles itself on Popeye's head, crescent moon and all. Similar thing happened in I Yam what I Yam, if I recall correctly. The audience applauds, and a dazed Bluto can't help but applaud too.
Wait! We've still got about 30 seconds left. Oh, right! Olive. Popeye stands on stage, arms folded, looking almost as proud as Mussolini. Olive returns to the stage, still in chicken mode. Popeye looks confused, but he tries to help Olive the only way he knows how... no, he's not going to... yup, 'fraid so. A light punch, and Olive comes out of her trance. Good thing she didn't know about how Popeye woke her up! She's delighted to see Popeye and starts showering him with kisses on the cheek. Popeye sings "Cuz I'm Popeye the Sailor Man!"
For some reason, the "camera" zooms in on Popeye's pipe. Just to keep things fresh, I guess. This one's not one of the greats, IMHO. I give it a "meh," or three stars.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan