So many 1 star ratings! I swear, sometimes you people have no heart. Yes, the very idea of making this movie—and hiring Altman for it—is absurd. But absurdity has its place. This belongs in any festival of flawed experiments at recreating the aesthetic of animation as live action. Altman's direction is rich with details, and you have to admire the chutzpah of taking a Star Wars-sized budget and making an anachronism.
Robin Williams is brilliant as the title character and successfully brings this animated character to life. Shelley Duvall is also perfectly cast as Popeye's counterpart Olive Oyl. Altman brings this animated world to vibrant life in this enjoyable and entertaining film.
The acting, sets and atmosphere make a truly odd mix of naturalistic and cartoonish in reverence to its source material. I'm not a Williams fan but he has the mannerisms down but fleshed out a (comparatively) 3 dimensional character and Duval IS Olive Oil. Recalling Chaplin & Marx Bros in its humor, this is the most I've laughed recently at something that wouldn't offend my grandmother. One of Altman's best 80s.
Disappointingly downbeat music (and vibe) in the beginning, but this one recovers nicely from then on. I actually forgot that it was Robin Williams that I was watching playing Popeye. The sets and the details in the environment were incredible, especially the ship that they set sail on near the end. And this movie's got throwaway gag lines on par with most any of the Marx Brothers' movies. A fun time.
This film tends to be judged by the malicious press reports put out during its making rather than the sharp screenplay by Jules Feiffer, the wondrous songs by Harry Nilsson (and Van Dyke Parks' contributions to the score,) the choreography and generally perfect stylization of movement, the characters created by the ensemble (especially Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall,) and of course Altman's masterful direction.