With studios like Disney and Sony turning all their old cocktail napkin doodles into 120 minute long CGI movies, it's becoming harder and harder to remain excited about all this cartoon recycling. But if you're one of the many suffering from animation feature fatigue, I'm going to need you to reach into your non-existent breast pocket, pull out an oversized can of greens, pop it straight in your mouth, and get pumped up. Because a Popeye movie's a-brewing, and it might just blow us down.
King Features, the rights holders to the squinty sailor, is taking another comically wound-up swing at a Popeye animation movie. And according to Animation Magazine, they have brought back the only director right for the job: Genndy Tartakovsky.
For nearly a decade, the 2D visionary artist behind Samurai Jack, Dexter's Laboratory and, of course, Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal has been trying to make a Popeye animation movie, with the project having started over at Sony Pictures Animation. Things got serious enough that, in 2015, Tartakovsky released an animation teaser showing the ancient mariner in true HD CGI glory.
Between the clever cartoon violence, the digital animation maintaining that old school rubberiness, and the one bad The Weather Girls pun, there's a refreshing old school charm to the teaser without it looking tacky. A feat that even the Robert Altman's 1980 live-action Popeye, a movie as ambitious as Robin Williams jacked forearms, couldn't manage. It's a great showcase of Tartakovsky as the best action-animation director out there and the kind of true-to-the-material continuation that Disney's realistic cat hair department can only dream of.
So why didn't we get a fistful of Popeye years ago? Sony, who, when left to their own devices, will give us gems like The Emoji Movie, didn't want a Popeye whose only defining character traits are being strong to the finish, eating spinach, and being a sailor man (toot toot). So Tartakovsky left the project in 2015 after realizing that Sony was intent on making Popeye cooler to younger audiences, updating and revising a character whose catchphrase is literally: "I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam."
And that's not what Popeye yis all about. Luckily, neither's Tartakovsky, who knew the mumbling man with flexing flexors wouldn't work with "with sunglasses and a backwards hat." Popeye doesn't need that, or some convoluted origin story of how he was saved by a can of spinach from a pirate bullet. Popeye is a simple sailor, who just needs to chew chlorophyll and kick ass. So who better to make that happen than Tartakovsky, a man who can make a cartoon character say more with one stern squint and a flurry of blows than all the exposition filler in the world.
Cedric will gladly pay you Tuesday for a Twitter follow today.
Top Image: Sony Pictures Animation