Friday, February 09, 2007

Popeye Village

Do you remember the film version of Popeye? It's an odd film with a rather good pedigree. It starred Robin Williams and was Directed by Robert Altman. It also features music by Harry Nilsson.

The film is a notorious flop... but not financially. It actually returned double the production money, but something was really wrong.

It's just not a good film.

It's a musical version of Popeye's life and it is bizarre from start to finish. Popeye mumbles the whole film and although it's charming in the cartoons it's downright annoying for two hours of film.

They also stuck to some of the rules of the comic (like Popeye hating spinach) rather than the animated shorts and this confused everyone in the audience.

Yeah. It's a mess.

The set is really cool, however. The film was made on the island of Malta and for production crews worked for 7 months to create an amazing village.

Now here's the cool part.

Are you sitting down?

The set still stands today as a family entertainment complex and museum. Man, I gotta go to Malta.

Popeye Village, also known as Sweethaven Village, is a group of wooden buildings located at Anchor Bay in the north-west corner of the Mediterranean island of Malta, two miles from the village of Mellie─ža. A construction crew of 165 constructed the set using tree trunks from Holland, wood shingles from Canada, eight tons of nails and 2,000 gallons of paint. It's the exact same list of supplies needed to make Joan Rivers face look normal on TV.

Sweethaven consisted of 19 buildings including a fake hotel, a fake school-house, a fake store, a do I have to type fake again post office, a fake tavern and a fake church (that doesn't mean Unitarian - it means it was a set.)

Sweethaven or Popeye Village is one of Malta's most popular tourist attractions.
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Popeye Village is open to the public seven days a week and, in addition to the film set itself, it has a number of family attractions. There are shows, rides and museums. You can also meet costumed characters of Popeye, Olive Oyl, Bluto and Wimpy.

Also, if the weather is good you can take a Each boat trip around Anchor Bay where one can take photos of the beautiful scenery and see Popeye Village from the sea.

One of the highlights of Popeye Village is the cinema where visitors can watch a twenty minute film on the making of the film set. Sure, it's probably in Maltanese, but that is still pretty freakin' cool!

There is also a variety of shows and carnival rides based around Popeye.

Sadly Malta is somewhere between Africa and Europe and as cool as this all sounds I can't imagine 10 hours on a plane would be worth it just to see "the bar where Popeye smacked down Bluto."

So I will have to stay in the U.S. where the closest thing I can find is the Popeye raft ride at Universal Studios Island of Adventure in Orlando.

That and the Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits down the street.

I guess I could always consider Cajun rice a vacation in a cup.

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