POPEYE & FRIENDS Volume 1– DVD Review

     June 22, 2008

Reviewed by Joseph Agredano

Looking at the cover for “Popeye & Friends: Volume 1” I thought immediately of the classic theatrical cartoons that most people, I would think, associate with the “Popeye” name. This DVD does not contain those and instead is a packaging of Hanna Barbara’s “The All-New Popeye Hour,” which ran from 1978 to the early 80s. Following the trend of other cartoons made around this period, the “All-New” Popeye is made with less of a focus on a quality product than on simply creating a product.

If someone who had only heard about Popeye were asked to make an “All-New” cartoon serial based on the character, then maybe something similar to this series would have been the result. The entire cartoon has a sort of slow-pacing that gives off an aura of either laziness or unknowingness in relation to quality cartoons. The dialogue, action, and scenarios all bring nothing interesting, unique, or “All-New” and instead are extensions of what marked many cartoons of the time; which is, once again, a focus on simply creating a product without regard for quality.

The DVD comes with eight episodes: Abject Flying Object, Ship Ahoy, I Wouldn’t Take That Mare to the Fair on a Dare, Popeye Goes Sightseeing, Chips Off the Old Ice Block, Popeye the Plumber, Swee’pea Plagues a Parade, and Polly Wants Some Spinach. The plots are a jumbled mass of situations that project a disregard for what made the original cartoons entertaining: the absurd humor coupled with imaginative art design that is largely lost in post-Golden Age animation. “The All-New Popeye Hour” is an empty, soulless cartoon.

I wish I could say this was a great series that managed to recreate the magic present in the earlier cartoons… I can say that the DVD is at least successful in presenting these cartoons, and would probably be enjoyed by those with feelings of nostalgia for the series. So, for those who hold a tender place in their hearts for “The All-New Popeye Hour,” purchase “Popeye & Friends: Volume 1” for eight cartoons of your favorite animated series.

Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Thai. English, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, and Thai Subtitles.

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