Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Fleischer Popeyes: Seasin's Greetinks!

005-01Obviously, with a title like "Seasin's Greetinks," this is a Christmas-themed cartoon! Kind of unusual that they'd do that with the fifth entry, but there you go! As you might expect, when we iris out on Popeye singing his theme song, he's ice skating on a frozen pond, and not letting anything like a big snow drift get into his way. He gets out of the drift in front of a house, which has a lot of snow on it, but when he blows his pipe to finish his song, the wind he creates blows the snow off of the porch, and as he walks up to the door, we see this is Olive's house (guess after breaking that window, she got kicked out of her apartment after the last cartoon?). Popeye knocks on the door once, twice, then three times (without looking), and the third time, he knocks on Olive's head, as she'd opened the door! She gives Popeye a kick in the behind in exchange.

Popeye then tells Olive, "I brung ya's a Christmask presenkt!" It's a pair of ice skates, which Popeye puts on Olive as if he's shoeing a horse, even calling out "Whoa there!" once. Olive's hardly a natural when it comes to ice skating, as we see when she's on the ice and her legs are flailing every which way (to add to the effect, they animated at least three legs at the same time) as Popeye watches. Finally, he picks her up, and helps her to skate more smoothly, and as she starts to get it, we see Bluto arriving behind a snow drift, riding a dog sled and whipping his team... which we see is a tiny little dog... and it's pulling Bluto on his own skates! Bluto laughs with delight as he cracks his whip.

005-03Meanwhile, Olive's got the hang of skating, and Popeye lets go of her... but once Olive notices Popeye isn't holding her any more, she starts to panic! Just before she passes by Bluto, Bluto  lets his dog go, and uses his whip to grab hold of Olive, and he says, "Hello, baby! How about a little kiss?" Olive starts to fight him off as Popeye skates over. When Popeye arrives, Bluto says, "Merry Christmas!" and smacks him one on the jaw, leaving Popeye stunned.

Now, this is different -- usually Bluto doesn't get the advantage of Popeye so fast! Popeye puts his hat and pipe back in place, says, "This is a day for peace on Oith!" and hits Bluto back into a snow drift, saying, "Happy new year!" Bluto uses a ladder to climb out of the hole in the snow, mutters that Popeye can't get away with this, and stomps off. Meanwhile, Olive's back to struggling on the ice, and finally slips and falls, breaking through the ice! Popeye helps her out, and of course Olive's freezing (an ice cube forms around her middle, which was the only part of her submerged) and Popeye laughs. This makes Olive mad, and she skates away.

When Olive trips, she merely slides on the ice cube around her middle, mad at Popeye still. But then, she sees that ahead of her, the ice is gone, and there's a raging rapids river instead! She puts out her hand and makes a left turn, and stops, but then Bluto skates up and around her, showing off. Olive turns her nose up at him, so Bluto pulls out two large saws that he straps to his feet, and starts cutting off blocks of ice around Olive! When Olive's piece is cut loose, she calls for Popeye, who's just finished skating a heart shape in the ice, and adds an arrow going through it.

Then, he hears Olive, and skates off after her, but when he gets up to Bluto, Bluto punches Popeye off the ice, and into a tree, which bounces Popeye back for more. Olive's still floating downstream rapidly, and of course, there's a waterfall ahead! Worrying about this warms Olive up that the ice cube around her middle melts away. Popeye's still bouncing back, but finally ducks under Bluto's fist, and then hits Bluto himself, sending the bully into a hole in the ice near a sign marked "Danger." Bluto comes out a different hole, frozen in a block of ice, which Popeye pushes off, saying "Well, I'll be seein' ya!"

005-07But as Bluto skids away, he crashes into a convenient icebox someone left out, and the ice breaks up and flies into the air, landing as little cubes neatly in ice cube trays that pop out of the icebox, and then go back in! Bluto stands up and growls, "Oh, yeah?" Meanwhile, Popeye's leaping from ice floe to ice floe in pursuit of Olive, whose block of ice conveniently gets stuck on an outcropping of rock! She's slipping off of it, however, and when Popeye gets there, he slips right past her, and down to the bottom of the falls! He starts swimming back upstream ("Boy! This water's cold!") and up the waterfall (to a rousing rendition of "Yankee Doodle") and to the shore!

005-08Olive stretches a leg out to him, and then pulls herself from one foot to the other, sliding upon her leg (as if both legs were one long piece of rope, running through Olive's middle) and to safety. Popeye goes to warm her up, but Bluto has rolled himself up a huge snowball on a cliff above them, and laughing, pushes it over... but he himself falls inside the snowball himself (like Bullwinkle was to do, years later).

Popeye (with 30 seconds left in the cartoon) pulls out his spinach and eats it! Like in the last cartoon, there's a minor effect to show its invigorating effect, but nothing like we're accustomed to (no Popeye fanfare, either). He punches the snow off Bluto, then punches Bluto himself! The snow floats down in flakes, while the stars spinning around Bluto's head decorate a convenient tree, and Popeye sings, "Season's Greetings to you's all!" and we iris out.

005-10Well, that final blow was certainly the most impressive use of the Transformation Punch yet, wasn't it? Still, I'm bothered that it's taken so long for the spinach-eating sequence to get the "pop" I'm used to... and it almost seemed like an afterthought here, like someone said, "Hey! When is Popeye going to eat his spinach?" We haven't yet gone to Olive Oyl's final voice, but Popeye and Bluto's voices are the way I expect them to sound.

There's a couple of good gags in this, such as Olive pulling herself along her legs, and the ice cube bit... but you know what? I think Popeye should've had to eat his spinach after he went over the falls, and then swam up them -- otherwise, he just ate his spinach to knock out Bluto and decorate the tree, and he's already knocked out Bluto in this cartoon already!

So obviously, while it's a good cartoon, I'm still left feeling like I can only rate it three cans of spinach!

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