New online animated shorts starring classic characters looks to be a trend. Universal announced last month that they’re making new Woody Woodpecker cartoons, and now King Features is trying the same with E.C. Segar’s comic creation Popeye, in anticipation of the character’s 90th birthday next year. The series, Popeye’s Island Adventures, is available on the official Popeye Youtube channel.
Unfortunately there’s not much positive to say about this miserable misguided attempt at resurrecting the character, though one can’t help but be impressed by how wildly they’ve failed at capturing the spirit of the character. It’s almost as if King Features sat down and wrote a list of everything that makes Popeye fun and entertaining to watch, and then systematically eliminated those elements one by one from this new production.
Popeye is now younger, though King Features doesn’t seem to be exactly clear on how many years they’ve shaved off, which is not a good sign considering that they’ve commissioned Wildbrain to make 25 two-minute shorts. “He’s younger, but you can’t tell how old he is,” C. J. Kettler, president of King Features, told the New York Times. “He’s not an old guy, he’s not a young guy, he’s somewhere in between.”