Dave Fleischer was responsible for many gems. Ones that were amusing and charming, though over-cuteness did come through in some efforts and the stories were always pretty thin, with appealing characters, outstanding music and visuals that were inventive and with innovative animation techniques.
'Shiver Me Timbers' is not quite one of the best Popeye cartoons to me. It is extremely well done though and has a lot going for it. Have always enjoyed many of the Popeye cartoons a good deal and like Popeye very much, Fleischer's efforts were always well animated and scored with lots of entertainment value and great chemistry between the characters. 'Shiver Me Timbers' has much of what makes the Popeye series so appealing in its prime era and does nothing to waste the three main characters or make them less interesting. Bluto is missed but Wimpy works well here.
The story is an interesting and beautifully paced one, never being dull, if formulaic (not uncommon with the Popeye cartoons). The material make it even more entertaining, 'Shiver Me Timbers' is non-stop fast-paced fun though very creepy, avoiding the trap of repetition. It has to be said though that there are parts that may be too frightening for youngsters and some of the torture and psychological elements have a lot of impact.
All the characters are great, though Olive Oyl is a bit underused and her material not as great as the rest. There is a lot of energy here and a spookiness that is suitably unsettling. Popeye is always amusing and likeable and Wimpy is good support but it's the truly spooky ghosts that steal the show. The ghost ship is like its own character too.
Furthermore, the animation is beautifully drawn and with enough visual detail to not make it cluttered or static and lively and smooth movement. Sammy Timberg's music is also outstanding, lots of merry energy and lush orchestration, adding a lot to the action and making the impact even better without being too cartoonish. Fleischer's direction is always accomplished and his style is all over it.
Voice acting is dynamic and of very good quality, Mae Questel is a good fit for Olive Oyl, the voice that most sticks in my mind for the character and who voiced her the best, but William Costello is even better.
Overall, very good. 8/10 Bethany Cox