8 October 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
Bewaring of Bluto
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.
'Beware of Barnacle Bill' is one of the best Popeye cartoons from this period and one of my personal favourites actually of the whole series. 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 Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto (as the titular character of the cartoon's title). 'Beware of Barnacle Bill' has everything that makes the Popeye series so appealing in its prime era and does nothing to waste the three main characters or make them less interesting.
The story is an interesting and beautifully paced one, never being dull, if formulaic (not uncommon with the Popeye cartoons). It is a familiar premise, and wasn't new around then, but it is one of the best examples of it because of the fresh and funny execution and that there were characters worth caring for. The humour and gags make it even more entertaining, avoiding the trap of repetition. Its best moment is the riot that is the ending.
All three characters are great, though Olive Oyl is a bit underused and her material not as great as Popeye and Bluto's, though what happens to her is a rare change of pace. Popeye and Bluto are spot on and their chemistry drives 'Beware of Barnacle Bill' and has so much energy. Popeye is always amusing and likeable but for me Bluto is here the funnier and more interesting character.
Furthermore, the animation is beautifully drawn and with enough visual detail to not make it cluttered or static and lively and smooth movement. The 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/singing is dynamic and of very good quality.
Overall, wonderful classic Popeye. 9/10 Bethany Cox