15 November 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
Popeye and the prisoner
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.
'Choose Your Weppins' for me is among my favourites from this particular period of the Fleischer output. Despite liking many of Popeye's cartoons almost all the best came from the Fleischer era, Fleischer's efforts were always well animated and scored with lots of entertainment value and great chemistry between Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto. 'Choose Your Weppins' has everything that makes the Popeye series so appealing in its prime era and does nothing to waste the main characters or make them less interesting. It is also a nice change of pace, being a cartoon (not the first or the last) where Bluto is absent, and the story is less reliant on formula.
The story is an interesting and beautifully paced one, never being dull, and due to being a change of pace for Popeye it is not as formulaic. Sense is not a strong suit but in all honesty nobody looks for that and it is so easy to overlook. The humour and gags make it even more entertaining, avoiding the trap of repetition and actually being deliciously wild and imaginative.
All the characters are great. Although Olive Oyl is a little underused as she did tend to be around this point she is fun to watch. Popeye is always amusing and likeable and his role here is imaginatively handled and Wimpy is enormously entertaining in his short appearance. It is the prisoner though who steals the cartoon, very amusing and equally menacing.
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 is dynamic and of very good quality. William Costello does a nice job as Popeye, have a preference for Jack Mercer though. It is hard to imagine anybody else as Olive Oyl other than Mae Questel while Gus Wickie brings a lot of amusing and imposing character to the prisoner.
Overall, a terrific Popeye cartoon as one can hope. 9/10 Bethany Cox