Videos > Yellow Submarine
Digitally restored and musically remixed, the Beatles' Yellow Submarine is a surrealistic head-trip without the chemical comedown. An enduring artifact of its era, the animated feature, directed by George Dunning, is a nonsensical journey through time and space that, while not always coherent (after all, it was made in the '60s), never fails as entrancing entertainment.
Your estimable guides through the film's setting of Pepperland: none other than John, Paul, George, and Ringo, the psychedelic apostles of the Vietnam generation. While the film's beginning tends to be a little slow and muddled (there are all these odd, colorful creatures running around mumbling and grumbling in virtually indecipherable English accents), the action really kicks into gear once the four lads from Liverpool come onto the scene.
The Fab Four (who are actually voiced by other actors) are called on to save their musical doppelgangers in the Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which has been zapped frozen by the Blue Meanies, a berry-colored tribe of evil creatures who do little else but snivel, gurgle, and groan. Along the way, they travel through a time machine, encounter various real and imagined pop icons and, of course, sing. The ingenious creativity of the animation (by Heinz Edelmann) aside, it's the music that makes this movie such a joy.
Soundtrack highlights include the title song, "Eleanor Rigby," "Nowhere Man," "When I'm Sixty Four," and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," which probably makes Yellow Submarine the only G-rated cartoon to include a reference to the drug LSD.
While the color restoration of Yellow Submarine is remarkable, those familiar with the technological prowess of contemporary cartoons may be a bit disappointed. It doesn't come close to achieving the spatial depth and detail of The Lion King, Princess Mononoke, or Toy Story. But Yellow Submarine's originality is indisputable, making it a cartoon classic to cherish through the next millennium.
The DVD includes storyboards; a few short interviews with people who worked on the film; The Mod Odyssey, a documentary that takes itself a bit too seriously as it compares the film to the paintings of Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso and the writings of Jonathan Swift and Lewis Carroll; and dry audio commentary by production supervisor John Coates, which only fans will be able to sit through.
David Bahr, CDNow