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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
    None Listed
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.66:1
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Polish, Dutch, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, German - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • Photo gallery - Original Pencil Drawings
  • Music video
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Interviews
  • Awards/Nominations
  • Storyboards

Yellow Submarine

Warner Bros./Warner Bros. . R4 . COLOR . 90 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Slowly but surely, I am finally ‘coming down’ from the past two hours that I have spent enveloped in brilliant, vivid colours and bizarre psychedelic imagery. With its additionally wondrous and capacious melodic sound-scapes, as well as surreal yet delightful periods of humour, you could very well be forgiven for thinking that what I’m talking about here was, more or less, a period under the care of the pharmaceutical industry. Well, yes and no. You see, I’ve just watched the fully restored version of Yellow Submarine, and whilst I can swear on my handsome collection of scouts badges that I watched the entire film sans hallucinogens, I certainly feel as though I haven’t. But that’s simply the pure experience of Yellow Submarine. Hippies and experimentalists have and always will hail it as one of the greatest trips ever. Animation enthusiasts know as basic lore about the film’s revolutionary animation techniques, which at the time, was one of the first high-profile animated features to completely ignore the world that Uncle Walt had previously shown us. But for those of us that lack either of the previous qualifications, the film simply remains a magical mystery tour that is a wonderfully entertaining and ageless tribute to one of the most carefree and love-filled periods in history.

In essence, Yellow Submarine is what many refer to as a ‘mod odyssey’. A journey of discovery through strange lands inhabited by bizarre and wonderful creatures. Once upon a time (“or maybe twice”), 40,000 leagues beneath the sea, lay (“or lie, I’m not quite sure”) the unearthly paradise called Pepperland. It was a place of beauty, love and happiness, abundant with music and colour, that is until the day the supremely evil army of the Blue Meanies decided to invade. As a lasting resort the (depending on who’s addressing him) young/old admiral Fred, the only Pepperland resident to remain uncaptured, was sent off in the Yellow Submarine to find help. He soon finds himself in Liverpool pleading his case to Ringo. After an extensive search for the rest of the team in the veritable circus that is Ringo’s mansion their arduous journey back to Pepperland begins.

Largely unavailable over the last few decades, it is a real treat to finally see Yellow Submarine available again. No matter what your background, there is much to enjoy in this animated feature. Beatles aficionados will of course delight in the playful animated portrayal of their favourite musicians. Despite actually being voiced by actors’ impersonations (the fact to which many people are still largely unaware of), these incarnations of John, Paul, George and Ringo are absolutely spot on, interacting with each other the way we all know and love. For everyone else, Yellow Submarine will remain an eye-popping animated adventure filled with bizarre creatures and ideas, wonderful musical numbers and off-the-wall one liners like “look, it’s a cyclops”, “it’s only got one eye though”, “hmm, must be a bi-cyclops then”.

  Video
Contract

Wow! Anyone who’s seen this film in its original form will be amazed in its restoration. The colours on display are absolutely superb, and whilst nowhere near as complex as some of the animated films we’re now used to, the palette certainly looks unbelievable on DVD. I simply can’t believe how much work has gone into this transfer. The only real faults here are tiny, blink and you’ll miss them, bits of dirt from the original print, and a fair amount of film grain, which is especially noticeable in the smog filled skies of Liverpool and some of the more complex musical numbers. Even so, it’s nitpicking, as they have done an amazing job from a print that must have been in alarmingly good condition, given its age. You only have to check out the theatrical trailer to see how far it has come. The film is presented in 1.66:1 widescreen that, while it’s no problem for me and my lack of a widescreen television, is non-anamorphic.

  Audio
Contract

I have read in many other reviews of this disc, that many consider this disc to be one of their showcase titles. Whilst considering this release’s age within the DVD market I can still agree somewhat with this claim. The new 5.1 mix is not only extremely dynamic in scenes like the attack of the Blue Meanies or the Sea of Monsters, which is mind-bending for a film of this age, it is also magnificent to hear all those Beatles classics presented in full surround sound. The harmonic choruses will fill the room, whilst in the middle section of the title song itself, you actually get full directionality as the sailors yell “full steam ahead” and other phrases from the rear, sides and any other direction. The original mono track has also been included here, although it’s baffling as to why someone, assuming they have 5.1 facilities, would bother to listen to this track. It is however, worth comparing the two tracks in order to further your amazement.

  Extras
Contract

Really quite a hefty load to sort through here.

“Hey Bulldog” Scene – Originally left out of the U.S. release of the film, this song was written by the Beatles at the last minute and was generally felt to be a rushed animated sequence. However, in hindsight, the scene works very well inserted back into the film and the song is absolutely awesome. The Beatles are really rockin’ out with this one.

Audio Commentary – This commentary with John Coates, Line Producer for Yellow Submarine is, whilst not really a running commentary of the film, filled with fascinating anecdotes and information about the people and atmosphere involved with the project. Designer Heinz Edlemann enters the commentary in the last ten minutes and offers some wonderful revelations about the production, including the fact that he originally wanted the Blue Meanies to be red to symbolise communism.

Music-Only Track – Self-explanatory, but presented in 5.1 and quite a nice thing to have on in the background. Also good for a closer listen to George Martin’s wonderful incidental score.

Behind the Scenes Featurette – Entitled “The Mod Oddysey”, this is an interesting 8 minute doco that shows The Beatles messing around in the animation studio, posing with their caricatures etc, whilst showcasing some of the cute female artists the studio was famous for. In the meantime, a voice-over discusses some of the animation techniques used for the film, including snippets of information from the likes of Heinz Edlemann himself. It is a bit of misinformation however, as from watching this, you’d get the impression that The Beatles were heavily involved with the production, whilst in fact, they were suspicious of the production being a “cartoon” and steered well clear of it up until the end, when they saw the film and realised how good it was. Thus their 2 minute live-action inclusion at the end of the film.

Interviews – A selection of short interviews with people involved with the project, including the animation director and a couple of the voice actors. Whilst these were obviously ‘take who we can get’, they are some informative moments, including a revealing section with Heinz Edlemann’s assistant.

Theatrical Trailer – Fairly poor quality, but interesting for a comparison nonetheless.

Storyboards – One is a motion, storyboard with film comparison of the Sea of Monsters segment, whilst the other two are in stills form and are of scenes not included in the film. Fairly extensive, but a little bland.

Original Pencil Drawings – A collection of incomplete drawings including artist’s instruction for colour usage, etc.

Behind the Scenes Photos – Pretty much all photos of The Beatles in the studio. Some nice images here, but like I said previously, a little misleading considering they had next to nothing to do with the film.

Collectible Booklet – A pleasantly designed booklet that contains some fairly interesting anecdotes and information about the film at a glance.

  Overall  
Contract

Yellow Submarine comes highly recommended for anyone with an enthusiasm for animation, music or fantasy films. It is a timeless piece of work that is just as witty and superb to look at as the day that it was released, and with its newly restored picture and sound is simply a must-see on DVD.

Paul: “It’s blue glass”. Ringo: “Must be from Kentucky then”.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=970
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      And I quote...
    "with its newly restored picture and sound is simply a must-see on DVD."
    - Ben Pollock
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Omni SL-P2000KD
    • TV:
          Panasonic 70cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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