It was 1968 and the cultural revolution was in full swing. There were marches on campuses. In Paris, the barricades were up. Bras were burned. Draft cards were burned, and sadly, some cities were burning. The sense of change was palpable. Music was leading the way. An unpopular war sparked protest. The emerging economic power of the baby boomers was exploding and The Beatles lead the march. It was the year that ‘Yellow Submarine’ and Sgt Pepper hit the movie theaters.
Blue Meanies, Pepperland and the Beatles music made ‘Yellow Submarine’ a cultural touchstone. Created by King Features for United Artists, it had a distinctly non-Disney animated look to it. Many folks incorrectly assumed that the visual aesthetic was done by or inspired by pop artist Peter Max. The opposite is true. Peter Max’s art was inspired by the animator of ‘Yellow Submarine’, Heinz Edelmann’s and Milton Glaser’s earlier works. Interestingly, the style of ‘Yellow Submarine’ inspired Terry Gilliam’s animation he used with Monty Python.
The success of the film followed by rights issues over the ensuing years has given it a certain cult status. The music is still popular. Even the surviving Beatles consider the film ‘classic’ although their participation was minimal.
There was a planned remake to be done by Robert Zemeckis and Disney. It was going to be done in the motion capture style of Zemeckis’ earlier films, ‘Polar Express’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint, the whole project was scraped when Zemeckis’ “Mars Needs Moms” tanked so badly. Zemeckis has been banished.
Yet fear not, dear reader, ‘Yellow Submarine” will be released in a new carefully remastered DVD on May 28, 2012. It is 45 years after the fact and it still holds up.
And to be honest, every once in a while, I recall that there is a underlying philosophy that pervades this ground breaking film. And that is “All You Need is Love”. It is still true today.