Yellow Submarine (Capitol)
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Aug. 31, 2012
The BeatlesYellow Submarine (Apple/Capitol)
After years adrift in the Sea of Indifference, Yellow Submarine rises anew. The Fab Four's third cinematic opus animates the band's droll screen persona and filters it through the psychedelic Sixties. With little involvement beyond a cameo appearance at the finale (actors voice the band), and songs from their vast catalog providing the film's backbone, the Beatles allowed director George Dunning and his squad to run wild in creating a satirical fantasia for all ages. Pepperland, where gentlefolk wander amongst string quartets and Pop Art flower arrangements, comes under attack by a bipolar tyrant and his gang of Blue Meanies, exploding clowns, apple-wielding gentlemen clubbers, and an aggressive flying glove. So, sailor Old Fred sets off in a flying yellow submersible to ally himself with the Beatles, and together they brave the acid-drenched Seas of Time, Monsters, Holes, and finally, Nothing, where they pick up Nowhere Man Jeremy Hillary Boob. Armed with "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Eleanor Rigby," and then-new tunes "Hey Bulldog," "Only a Northern Song," and "It's All Too Much," John, Paul, George, and Ringo eventually cross the Sea of Green to confront the Meanies. Can the mop-tops save the day with a few choruses of "All You Need Is Love?" Need one ask? Updated with handwrought digital refurbishment, audio commentaries, interviews, a vintage making-of, animation cells, and stickers, Yellow Submarine remains in a realm of its own: a riot of silliness, idealism, and melody that's less a time capsule than simply timeless.