In Yellow Submarine, after Pepperland comes under attack by the music-hating Blue Meanies, Captain Fred takes the submarine to find The Beatles to help restore order.
Pepperland is a peaceful place full of love and music and Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, who protect the land. The Blue Meanies then attack Pepperland because they hate music and also seal away the band. The mayor sends Fred to find help and Fred takes off in a Yellow Submarine to find the Beatles.
It’s really difficult to dissect the story behind the basic premise because calling it “trippy” would be almost an understatement and the plot really isn’t the reason the watch this animated film. The star of the film, aside from the soundtrack, is really the animation itself. Many of the techniques used in Yellow Submarine were groundbreaking and it is still quite the visual treat. As with many (all?) musicals the plot is loosely tied to what songs come next but considering the quality of the songs that is not a negative point.
I had never seen Yellow Submarine from start to finish and was a bit shocked that it runs a full 90 minutes and after a while it really feels like it’s that long. Great animation and music can only get you so far before you just want to destroy the Blue Meanies and for the whole thing to be over with. One thing I was also shocked to learn is that The Beatles themselves do not voice their characters, they are all impersonations, though the group does appear in a live-action sequence at the very end.
As far as musicals go, I am not usually a fan, but Yellow Submarine is different. The quality and care taken with making Yellow Submarine is remarkable. Fans of The Beatles, the film, or animation should take note of the recently released Blu-Ray, which is how my wife and I viewed this. The set is incredibly well-made and the visuals and sound in Yellow Submarine are simply stunning as a result. While I can’t say I will be watching the film again any time soon, I’m very glad I finally took the time to watch it.
I give it 4 When I’m Sixty Fours out of 5.