Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blog DVD Review: Popeye The Sailor: 1941-43, Volume 3

Welcome to another edition of the weekly Blog DVD Review. This week we take a look at Warner Home Video's Popeye The Sailor: 1941-43, Volume 3. Popeye is of course the classic TV sailor who eats his spinach and gets energy to save Olive Oyl from Bluto! See my Blog DVD Review of Popeye The Sailor: 1941-43, Volume 3:

Popeye The Sailor: 1941-43, Volume 3 (Warner, $34.98) brings 32 more classic unedited Popeye cartoons along with more bonus features to DVD on a classic 2-disc set! So far, we got the first 60 theatrical shorts (1933-38) on the volume one set on four-discs and then we got the next 31 Fleischer Popeye cartoons (1938-1940) on a two-disc set. We are now finished with the Fleischer Popeye cartoons after the episode "Baby Wants a Bottleship." We get that as the second episode on disc two. Then Popeye continued on with more cartoons from Famous Studios (1942-1957), so we have started those on this as well beginning with the infamous episode "You're a Sap, Mr. Jap." The War was going on in then and Popeye was going after the Japanese.
Each short on this set is in black & white and runs anywhere between 6-8 minutes. There are no chapter stops again, which is acceptable here because the episodes are very short. The video is remastered once again and it looks great! No editing of the episodes because of ethic reasons either...it is from the original masters. So you get to see Popeye battle those "Japs!" Well, blow me down! The audio is decent, nothing too bad about it.
Packaging has a nice light blue outer box this time with Popeye showing a big fist t Bruno and Bruno not backing down on the front cover...the back cover has information on the set and has some screen shots of the shorts along with a big photo of Popeye stepping on Bruno as he took him down. There is also a section detailing the special features, but it is more detailed inside the case. Inside the box is a digipak case, as we had on the last set. The front of the digipak has a full-body shot of Olive Oyl. Opening the case, we get a very nice disc-by-disc breakdown for disc one on the left side, which has lots of screen shots and artwork of Popeye's nephews below that. We also get the episode number, title, if it has commentary and by who, and the list of special features per disc. The two discs are on the right side, overlapping each other unfortunately, once again. The discs are all in that light blue color, matching the color scheme of the set. Disc one's artwork has Popeye with showing his muscles while holding a Spinach can and disc two has Bluto holding his hands together tightly. When we take out both discs, you can see more photos in the packaging itself. The back of the digipak case has the disc two breakdown (similar to disc one's), more screenshots, and artwork of Bruto holding Olive Oyl as Popeye creeps up from behind.
The menu screen has Play, Episodes, Special Features, and Languages. But before the main menu screen comes, we get auto trailers on both discs, disc one has the pirating is not good promo and disc two has trailers for other Warner Home Video products (Charlie Brown, Smurfs, Tiny Toons, Freakaoid!). The ethic message saying that these shorts were never intended to stereo-type, blah blah, are on this set like we saw on the volume one DVD. We didn't get that on the volume two DVD for some reason, though. The main menu has the theme playing in the background (and it loops), with the same color and artwork as the box cover. Languages section has us in English only and subtitles can be added for English or French as well. Special Features are on both discs, and are listed in a list form on the menu. Episodes is where we can choose the classic shorts. If it has commentary or a Popeye Popumentary, we can also select that from here, but we can also do that in the special features section. All very similar to the previous sets.
Moving on to those special features. As I mentioned, they are evenly placed on both discs. So, here we go, we have a lot once again: Disc one has three Popeye Popumentaries. The first is called "Directing the Sailor: The Art of Myron Waldman" (7:20), as we learn more about the art of the great Myron Waldman. Inteviewed are Mark Hayerson, Myron Waldman himself, wife Rosie Waldman, Steve Sanchfield, and Jery Beck. Then we have "Popeye: The Mighty Ensign" (7:47), as this feature they talk about the great Popeye. Interviewed are Glenn Mitchell, Frank Gladstone, Steve Sanchfield, Will Friedwald, Mark Kausler, Eric Goldberg, Myron Waldman, and Rosalie Waldman. The final Popumentary is about Popeye's nephews, "Pip-eye, Pup-eye, Poop-eye, and Peep-eye: Chips Off the Old Salt" (3:40), as we learn how they were developed. Originally they were Popeye's kids in a dream, but later were developed as his nephews. They look very much like Popeye, don't they? Interviewed here are Glen Mitchell, Bob Jaques, Frank Gladstone, Dan O'Shannon, Jorge Gutierrez, and Sandra Equihua. Then we have three classics from the Inkwell vaults. The first one is "The Clown's Little Brother" from 1920 running 4:50. Then we have "The Cartoon Factory" from 1924 running 7:20. And finally "Koko Needles the Boss" from 1927 running 6:21. None of these had sound, so some might find them boring. Finally we have three audio commentaries on this disc, they include commentaries from Historians: Jerry Beck and Steven Waldman and Director: Bob Jaques.
Moving on to disc two, it has a retrospective documentary titled "Forging the Frame: The Roots of Animation 1921-1930" (27:41). This is the best extra on this set and it details the animation in the '20s. So cool, but so old at the same time. There are a lot of interviews on this to list, but SOME include Donald Crafton, Michael Barrier, Leonard Maltin, Will Friedwald, Jim Healy, and many more. Then we have another classic from the vault from Western Electric titled "Finding His Voice" from 1929 that runs 10:46. Then finally, we have four more commentaries on this disc, they include commentaries from Historian: Jerry Beck; Cartoonist: Kali Fontecchio; Animator: Mark Kausler; and Directors: Bob Jaques, John Kricfalusi, and Eddie Fitzgerald.
I once again highly do recommend any fan of classic cartoons and Popeye to pick-up this set. If you have the first two volumes, then a no-brainer, you have to get this to continue the classic collection. If you haven't gotten those, get those first and then get this volume. It is well worth it! Let's hope we get a volume four very soon and it is packed with special features just like this set and the preceding sets. We are all done with the Fleischer cartoons and have started on the Famous Studios cartoons, those lasted 15 years, so we have a long way to go. I just hope we get four-disc sets again like volume one, as two-disc sets would take forever to get through. Anyway, watch Popeye go to war for America as he battles the "Japs." So all fans should be on deck to buy this set! So toot-toot your way in buying it!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(5/5 stars)

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