Runtime: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66 : 1
Director: George Dunning
Release Date: 11/13/68
Animated feature film
Are you ready to join the fight to save music and beauty? Named after the Beatles song, Yellow Submarine is an adventure in psychedelic music with a kaleidoscope of colors. In this story, the Blue Meanies have taken the magical underworld Pepperland hostage. Now, the Beatles are on the job to rescue all that is beautiful and lovely in the world. Captain Fred of Pepperland escapes from the Blue Meanies on a yellow submarine and travels to Liverpool. There he finds the Beatles. Fred sneaks around and confuses Ringo but then Ringo understands him and agrees to help unfreeze the magical Pepperland. The other Beatles are recruited and hop onto the yellow submarine to save Pepperland. Dressed as Sergeant Pepper’s Band, they sneak past the Blue Meanies to retrieve stolen instruments and succeed in freeing Pepperland from the clutches of the Blue Meanies, thereby saving all things musical, peaceful and beautiful.
Yellow Submarine was released in November 1968 with a symphony of Beatles songs. The Beatles only appear as caricatures of themselves and you never hear their real voices. The absence of the actual Beatles physically and audibly is transcended by a beautiful fantasy world of colors and movement. Yellow Submarine is as beautiful as it is grotesque. The Blue Meanies are creatures from the underworld. The name and the first impression of these characters is something from an after-school special. Later you see the depth of the animation when Blue Meanies reach out with machine gun hands. A fact that trippers of long-ago had visions on.
Influenced by the surrealist art and psychedelic trends of the sixties, Yellow Submarine is eye-candy for adults and has artful puns to stimulate all your senses. The soundtrack is placed well with the cartoon and montage scenes alike. “A Day in The Life” swells as the Beatles lift off in the yellow submarine. Real-life shots of Liverpool zoom by in a montage in one of the favorite scenes from Yellow Submarine.
Over forty years later, the film isn’t as innovative as it was when first released. The technology that has taken over the world of animation is, of course, not present in Yellow Submarine. Heinz Edlemann was the man of charge of the art direction for this movie. This was said to be the only animated film released in the 60s not produced by the Disney Corporation that enjoyed any commercial success. For that, you have a movie that feels like no movie ever produced before or since. Yellow Submarine has been a staple for Beatles fans since its release. Now there are new fans that are nostalgic for the feel of beautiful hand-drawn animation.
Critics of Yellow Submarine will say that this is a movie of little significance. The story is simple, if not simplistic. Just reading the synopsis will make you roll your eyes. What can this movie aesthetically offer those of us not binging on goodies of the 60s? Maybe nothing whatsoever, but Yellow Submarine is a movie with a different purpose altogether. It is a chance to enter a beautiful fantasy world of light and color. The Yellow Submarine fantasy is the canvas and the Beatles soundtrack is your guide through this mysterious maze. In a time of fast-paced modern technology, hand-drawn musical fantasy animation may be a lost art. However, Yellow Submarine, now digitally re-mastered offers this generation a view into the past excess and just a little window of escape.