Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Wrong Stuff.... The very VERY Wrong Stuff

Maybe I'm just in a rush this week, but Pest Pilot is ... meh.  Still, there's a couple points worth noting.  So let's note those!
Well, first of all, the famous Popeye doors have disappeared before... I think.  But they're gone for good this time!  It's almost as though they were prepping these to be shown on that new invention called TV.  It's framed much like the Famous Studios Popeyes and, to a lesser extent, the Gene Deitch ones.
But back to the plot.  It's a pretty simple setup, really.  Popeye the sailor has apparently grown tired of boats and now wants to try out this new invention called a plane.  I guess that's not hard to imagine.  Well, they were relatively new way back then, and constantly being improved and further weaponized.  Of course, Popeye's a mere humble artisan in comparison to, say, McDonnell-Douglas.  We see him "whittling" a propeller out of a big ol' hunk of wood.  Quaint in a way!
But then... life gets in the way.  Reminds me of the time Bart Simpson got into that book called "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Pre-Teens."  Lisa balked at the phrase "time vampires," I believe it was... forgive me!  I stand corrected.  "Time burglar."  I must have vampires on the brain or something.  Probably alone on that, too.  What I was trying to say is that, as you can see from the snapshot, Pappy comes in, making annoying plane noises, no less.  Ah, family.  Well, it's the old case of "Monkey See, Monkey WANNA Do" in this case.  Pappy wants to get in on the ground floor of this fun.  "I wanna be a pilot!" he tells Popeye.  Similar thing happened in that one where they're building boats... oh, crap, I gotta look it up myself, don't I?  My Pop, My Pop it's called!!!  Pappy, once again, is too old to be young enough to be flyin' planes.  Everything's a young man's game these days... back then, too.  Popeye tries to convince Pappy the answer is no, and gets some help from a sign on the wall.  I think this is supposed to be a joke: the sign says, amongst other things, that pilots have to "see well and look good."  You mean, like, be photogenic?  That might rule out some talented pilots!
But Pappy's not giving up yet.  He's got some engraved images of his own to use as proof.  He takes out a couple pictures from his wallet.  Popeye laughed at them, and damn it, I did too.  Popeye gets so annoyed at Pappy's persnickety persistence that he shuts himself inside of a plane.  Pappy decides to try some waterworks to change Popeye's mind.  Alas, Pappy chuckles to himself a little too long and a little too loudly.  Popeye catches it and kicks Pappy out of the hangar.
ACT TWO - Oh, this is so an act break.  Normally, this would be the part where the character drifts off to sleep and has a dream, and gets what they want that way... but it comes with a price!  Nothing less than YOUR MORTAL SOUL.  MWAHAHAHAA... Anyway, Pappy accidentally kicks the propeller of a plane next to him there on the tarmacadam, and... lo and behold!  It starts!  Well, time to climb inside and take off!  Cue the series of plane-related gags!  Pappy punches a hole in a cloud, flies out of a subway entrance, melts an igloo, what have you... boy!  I think they've finally insulted every ethnic group at this point!  Of course, after Pearl Harbor... hoh boy.
And so, Pappy's been around the world in this plane by now and done everything except give the Egyptian Sphinx a mustache, but everything ends up back where we started, at Popeye's Plane Ranch... I'm sorry, his air conditioned airport.  BTW, love that sign out front: "Airplanes is the safest thing in the world."  Yup, them and lawn darts.  And so, having traveled the world in an "air-boat," it's time for his greatest feat of piloting yet: hanging on to the plane as it tries to leave Earth's gravitational pull.  Pappy turns around and sees the whole damn planet fading away fast... boy!  Check out the North Pole and Antarctica.  Were they ever so tall?  Man, global warming's done quite a bit of damage!  Pappy crawls back into the cockpit and plummets back to Earth.
ACT THREE - Scene: Popeye's cleaning up in the locker room, when Jack Mercer's regular voice comes over the P.A. system and says "Attention!  Attention!  Whiskery old man in runaway plane is about to crash!"  The voice messes with Popeye's head a bit, as often happens in comedic short films like this, but then he runs out to see if it's true!  Did Pappy crash and burn?  Is he hurt?  The spinach music plays, but there is no spinach today.  Not this day.  Popeye looks through the rubble of the downed plane.  I've never heard him so verklemt before, and I don't like it!  ...oh, wait.  There's Pappy hanging off that water tower off to the left.  Hah!  The animators took the easy way out and just used one cutout of a water tower, and moved it Terry Gilliam Monty Python style.
EPILOGUE - Now that Pappy's safe, Popeye reprimands him anew.  Pappy cries anew, but his tears are real this time.  Popeye relents and makes Pappy a pilot... or does he?  I'll let you decide... okay, I'll just go ahead and spoil the surprise.  At first, it looks like Pappy's flying, but it's just an extreme close-up.  We pull back to see that all Pappy's piloting is a riding lawn mower.  They used the same gag in Car-Azy Drivers, at the very least.  Love that lame-ass Popeye cartoon... and besides!  Spider Man stopped a train the same way in the second one!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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