Director George Dunning, Dick Emery
Starring John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney (*singing only)
Scott’s Review #1,291
Reviewed August 18, 2022
By 1968 The Beatles, or the ‘Fab Four’, as they were commonly nicknamed, were household names and their music played all around the world.
Instead of their earlier 1960s pop and radio-ready songs, the band was beginning to branch out into far more daring and creative territory.
Yellow Submarine (1968), also a song, is a bright and colorful journey into the weird and wonderful psychedelic sensibilities the band had created. It’s fabulous and edgy though sometimes doesn’t make complete sense.
The target audience was likely adolescents but since ‘Yellow Submarine is a children’s song there is a Sesame Street educational factor to it which is hard to explain well but I felt that vibe.
A thought for adults might be to concoct a powerful libation for maximum enjoyment while watching Yellow Submarine. One’s mind must be kept open to the Blue Meanies and the odd world of Pepperland that are featured as the gang traverses the land in a Candy Land-like maze of events.
Adults might be best-suited foraging into the world of silly while watching.
The film is The Beatle’s only animated project.
The music-loving inhabitants of Pepperland are under siege by the Blue Meanies, an unpleasant group of music-hating creatures.
The Lord Mayor of Pepperland (Dick Emery) dispatches sailor Old Fred (Lance Percival) to Liverpool, England, where he is to recruit the help of the Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr).
The sympathetic Beatles ride a yellow submarine to the occupied Pepperland, where the Blue Meanies have no chance against the Fab Four’s charisma and groovy tunes.
As bizarre as Yellow Submarine is to an adult’s frame of mind, I can only imagine the joy and energy a child would take from the film though perhaps not understanding completely. I tried to keep this in mind while watching it.
The colors are dazzling and vibrant one of the biggest strengths of the film. The delightful and vivid greens and blues mix well with the lighter pinks and yellows of the famous submarine.
I confess to having had a difficult time with the plot of Yellow Submarine in the beginning and I struggled to make sense of what was going on. This might have been because of the distraction of the beautiful animation and color direction.
I finally began to piece together clues and characters from Beatles songs and my realization turned into one of pleasure and anticipation.
Once the band meets the lonely Jeremy Hillary Boob Ph.D., also known as the ‘Nowhere Man, I got the point of the film. I began to look for other characters like Eleanor Rigby and Lucy from the song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’.
The fun commences with salivation of what the famous Beatles tune could be next. Speaking of ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ this number is the trippiest and most interesting of them all as a spirit-like creature dances around with weird shapes and styles.
Other treats like the tremendous ‘All You Need Is Love, the charming ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’, and naturally ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and ‘Yellow Submarine’ are featured.
Yellow Submarine (1968) is a must-see for fans of The Beatles and those with an appreciation for the arthouse magic contained within the film. Intelligent kids allowed to be exposed to the project will surely fall in love with it and reminisce when watching it years later.