Yellow Submarine, based upon a song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is a fantastic tale brimming with peace, love, and hope, propelled by Beatles songs, including “Eleanor Rigby,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “All You Need Is Love,” and “It’s All Too Much.” When the film debuted in 1968, it was instantly recognized as a landmark achievement, revolutionizing a genre by integrating the freestyle approach of the era with innovative animation techniques.
Inspired by the generation’s new trends in art, the film resides with the dazzling Pop Art styles of Andy Warhol, Martin Sharp, Alan Aldridge and Peter Blake. With art direction and production design by Heinz Edelmann, Yellow Submarine is a classic of animated cinema, featuring the creative work of animation directors Robert Balser and Jack Stokes with a team of animators and technical artists.
Yellow Submarine is an animated meandering journey filled with puns and dry British humor, where psychedelic music videos take precedent over any linear story. What little there is of a plot, however, concerns a vibrantly colored place called Pepperland that resembles the album cover for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band come to life. The swirling animation is a mixture of pop-culture images and modern artistic styles brought loosely together with a naïve antiwar message and some clever political commentary. The Blue Meanies take over Pepperland, draining it of all its color and music, firing anti-music missiles, bonking people with green apples, and turning the inhabitants to stone by way of the pointed finger of a giant white glove. As the only survivor, the Lord Admiral escapes in the yellow submarine and goes to London to enlist the help of the Beatles (voiced by actors). The charming and innocent boys travel through strange worlds and meet bizarre characters, including the tagalong Nowhere Man. Several blissed-filled musical sequences and drug references later, the Beatles drive out the Blue Meanies and restore Pepperland to tranquility armed with only music, love, and witty remarks. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi