It is more than faint praise to say that Popeye is far, far better than it might have been, considering the treacherous challenge it presented. But avoiding disaster is not necessarily the same as success.
To the eye, Robin Williams is terrifically transposed into the squinting sailor with the bulging arms. But to the ear, his mutterings are not always comprehensible.
Popeye comes to the quaint village of Sweethaven in search of a father who abandoned him and this is his underlying motivation as he first meets Olive Oyl and acquires his own abandoned baby, Swee’pea.
That’s just too much for a cartoon to carry, even with some generally good songs and a wacky, colorfully created town. Shelley Duvall makes a delightful Olive Oyl and Paul L. Smith a perfectly jealous Bluto.