Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" is good, lightweight entertainment

Recently, a friend of mine surprised me when she rented the Beatles' animated film "Yellow Submarine" for me. Despite being a Beatles' fan, I had not seen this film since I was a boy, but I remembered having warm feelings about it. Animation has come a long way since this was made in 1968, but it holds up quite well.

The film was assembled under the supervision of German poster artist Heinz Edelmann, according to Beatles' biographer Nicholas Schaffner. It was assembled from five million separate sketches that were later sold. Given the value of Beatles' memorabilia, I wonder how much one of those original sketches would be worth now.

The efforts really paid off because the film is much more successful as a visual image than as a conventional, plot-driven piece. The plot is actually pretty flimsy. The people of Pepperland are attacked by the Blue Meanies and Apple Bonkers, and it is up to the Beatles to save them. A co-writer of the script was Erich Segal who later wrote "Love Story," which probably tells you all you need to know.

So, the script is not the film's strongest point. However, it is a visually beautiful and engaging film with, of course, lots of good music. In recent years, the original soundtrack has been altered to include all the Beatles' songs used in the film while discarding the orchestral score. To me, that is disappointing. Many of the Beatles' songs can be found on other albums while the orchestral score only appeared on the soundtrack. Keep that in mind if the chance to purchase the soundtrack arises.

This film is a good way to spend 90 minutes if a person is looking for some entertainment.

A person could find worse ways to spend a rainy afternoon.

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