Hollywood somehow thinks "live-action Popeye" is worth trying again

A man dressed as Popeye
A man dressed as Popeye

You know when something barely works one time, and it is only by the grace of god that everyone involved is not permanently financially ruined? Well, would it make sense to try that thing a second time, willingly subjecting yourself to the obvious risks a second time? Like, if you decided to try and jump your car over a ravine and you manage to just barely pull it off, would you then turn around and do it again? Or would you count your blessings and go do something more reasonable with your life?

Anyway, Hollywood wants to make another live-action Popeye movie, even though we as a society just barely survived the first one—which starred Robin Williams and Shelly Duvall, was directed by Robert Altman, and miraculously more than doubled its budget at the box office despite largely terrible reviews. Everyone thought it would be an industry-shattering flop that would ruin filmmaking forever, but it did okay, and now it is mostly just remembered as a curiosity (unless you live in Malta and can regularly visit the remains of its set).

Chernin Entertainment and King Features are behind the plan to make a new Popeye, with screenwriter Michael Caleo (of Sexy Beast, The Family, and one Sopranos episode) on board to type up all the times Popeye is going to say “I yam what I yam” or “that’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more” or “this spinach slaps” or “this spinach is lit” or whatever other things he says about spinach. Variety suggests that the plan may be to cast someone Dwayne Johnson-esque in the title role, as opposed to Robin Williams’ attempt to approximate the actual aesthetic of the old comic strips, but that seems like an immensely boring choice.

If people wanted a movie about a big sailor man who looks like The Rock, they would’ve seen Jungle Cruise. People like Popeye because he’s kind of scrawny and then gets giant arms when he eats spinach. The Rock doesn’t even need spinach.

Speaking of things that are a boring choice, why are we doing another live-action Popeye when Genndy Tartakovsky made it clear that he really, really wanted to make an animated Popeye movie? He made a whole heartfelt “I’m doing a Popeye movie!” video a decade ago where he talked about how much the character means to him, complete with a short animation test that looked like a lot of fun. But no, we’ve gotta tempt fate by doing it in live-action again.