The singing group, The Beatles, at the height of their popularity, made this cartoon of a land that is taken over by the Blue Meanies. They are recruited by an escapee to come and bring joy (and music) back to the land. The techniques are quite psychedelic in the cartoons and much care was taken to have the walks and mannerisms of the individual Beatles cartoons match the originals. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
This film underwent restoration work in 1998 for release in 1999. Since it was the original British version that was restored, American audiences finally got to see the five minutes of footage that had been missing in the original 85-minute U.S. version, including the "Hey Bulldog" sequence, which was deleted for unknown reasons. See more »
In the closed captions during the George Harrison song "It's Only A Northern Song", the captions instead read "It's Only A NORMAL Song".
George used the word Northern because he wanted to complete his contract with Northern Songs. See more »
The music of the Beatles had galvanized an army of very creative artists who have accomplished the impossible, and created the movie that parallels the elegance and beauty of the music that inspired it. Many people feel that this film is a miracle, and I have the same feeling, especially when I'm watching it breathlessly from the beginning to its end.
Similar to the way the Beatles themselves have created many of their masterpieces, this film is the result of a "controlled chaos". Lennon remarked that many of his imagery and lyrics were just conceived off the top of his head, which is precisely the thing that gives them the freshness and spontaneity we adore. Same is with the rich and fulfilling imagery of this film -- it is obviously an outcome of the 'shoot from the hip' approach. It sounds unbelievable, but the film's ending (the most brilliant piece of all), was thrown in during one hectic weekend! Knowing this, it is not surprising to learn that the principal artist who designed the look and feel of the "Yellow Submarine" movie, almost went blind after finishing it (he set a grueling schedule of sleeping only four hours every other night during the making of the film! -- it took him several years to regain his health)
On a personal level, this film works as some kind of revelation for me. It is impossible to put it into words, but the film stirs the deepest, most contradictory emotions in me. It transcends space and time, and has the ability to bring me into the state where the regular, everyday thoughts do not apply. In that respect, it is as strong as the best Beatles songs.
Many criticisms of this movie are sadly missing the point. To criticise the animation as being jerky and unrealistic amounts to criticising Picasso for not painting more photo-realistic canvases. Misses the point entirely. To criticise the understatement-laden dialogue is to miss the finer points of comedy, insisting on the Three Stooges slapstick only. To say that the story line is incoherent is to betray the sitcom-infested mind in the sad state of commercial-induced eating disorder.
I must confess that I had approached the viewing of this film with a huge dose of skepticism. I thought it's going to look and feel lame, with a dated and naive hippy/psychedelia cliches. Boy, was I in for a shock!
My rating: 11 out of 10
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