Yellow Submarine: My Journey into science-fiction part 9.
Release date: 17 July 1968 (United Kingdom)
Released: January 1969
Before I get started, yes, I know this is more fantasy than science-fiction, but I really love the link between Children of Men, Yellow Submarine and John Lennon in part 8. If you would like to learn more about that or anything else to do with my journey into science-fiction, you can find the main link to the page below.
Once upon a time in Liverpool, less than thirty minutes away from where I live, the Beatles were formed and life would never be the same again. To be honest, I have heard most of the singles and could name most of their albums, but I’ve never really studied or followed them as a band. It’s not because I dislike them or anything, but it just seemed like quite an undertaking as they created so much content in so little time. So yeah, I have been a little selfish by choosing this of this film, but it has also set up my next review so perfectly. Do I regret that? Well, I guess you will find out by the end of this review.
There is a plot to the film I think. . . I hope? At the very start, you are transported to a technicolour dreamworld as the fun-hating Blue Meanies start to rid Pepperland of its music. Captain Fred has the task of recruiting the Beatles in his Yellow Submarine to help save the day, bringing joy back to his world. Next, you are brought back to Earth with a bang as Ringo Starr is depressingly walking the streets of Liverpool, I will admit this part of the film looked fantastic and dark, even though I knew it was animation, it felt like something that was familiar to me.
I love how the Beatles were playing with their status as pop stars as they show the decadence of fame by having more money and power than sense. I guess they look almost god-like apart from their accents as we are introduced to the remaining band members in significant style. I’m a little unsure who this film is actually made for? Is it a children’s film or aimed at adults on some psychedelic trip? I say a children’s film because I’m sure that I actually watched some of this at school and been confused ever since. It’s pretty far out and I’m pretty sure I was in my teens before I actually learnt what “far out” means.
There is always something about the Beatles story that’s left a bit of an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, and I just can’t put my finger on it! As the story continues, we are introduced to the sea of time and I actually think this has helped me understand why? In this amazing sequence, we watch the band members travel through time, resulting in the fab four growing older and younger throughout. One of the main reasons I feel a little uneasy is because their story is somewhat of a tragedy to me; because John Lennon never got to sixty-four. Now, I realise that this is a celebration of a band who brought a lot of joy and colour to the world. Who thought a film about a Yellow Submarine could be like therapy, eh?
Along the trip, we meet a little character called Jeremy Hilary Boob PhD and I’m not really sure what this guy is meant to represent in life but he did make me laugh. To be honest, I think this film is a demonstration of how wonderful animation can be and the results are spectacular. George Dunning did an amazing job. It would be pretty easy to watch this and say it looks dated but the influence this has had on modern culture makes it timeless. One that comes to mind is Julian House and I can see this film all over his work. He has created some beautiful artwork throughout the years and some really iconic album covers. Two of my favourite pieces of work by him are shown below with the link to his site, he is a wonderful artist and worth checking out. There are many more artists work I can find in there, it’s an absolute goldmine and a great testament to the film.
I can see how this film would be of interest to those looking into expanding their minds with mind-altering drugs, but I wouldn’t know nothing about that, personally! I say that as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is introduced so beautifully and timely, surely, we all know what that song is a reference too? Eventually, the Beatles get to Pepperland after travelling so many far-out and imaginative seas. You’re not going to get an ending like The Matrix here kids. In fact, there may have been better endings on a Flintstones episode. Basically, music and love is all you need to save Pepperland, and I’m guessing that’s for our real world as well, especially in today’s climate. There is a wonderful moment where the Beatles meet their doppelgangers, the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely-Hearts Club Band. Even more special is that we get the real-life Beatles at the end singing all together now and it’s those little moments that fill me with joy.
As wonderful as this film looks, the music is just magnificent. Eleanor Rigby is probably one of my favourite songs ever. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Yellow Submarine and When I’m Sixty-Four are songs we would sing in school daily and it’s really interesting to look at how those songs have become absorbed into the world so effortlessly. Now, I just know what album they actually come from.
Earlier I was wondering if I would regret my decision to cover this film and the answer is NO! In fact, it was so much fun and I really learnt a lot, about myself and the Beatles. Yes, it’s not hard sci-fi but sometimes that can be a bit heavy, Children of Men really took a lot out of me in that regard. This journey into science-fiction is also about self-discovery and my place in the world. This film reminded me of my music teacher, Miss Keo if I remember correctly, and she was always telling me to be creative in life and enjoy the moment, and somehow, I forgot that. I’m hoping that other films can help bring out other memories like that because it feels good and she was a great inspiration to me at that time of my life. How about my feelings for the Beatles? Well, I guess I should be looking at their story as a success and not a tragedy. I really like John Lennon as a person, and all that he stood for, his death was a terrible waste but at least his legacy lives on. I have always listened to their music but I’m going to start learning more about them, which brings me to my connection to the next film that I look at quite nicely.
I can’t believe I’m getting into double figures now in my journey into science-fiction, it’s turning out to be pretty interesting and wonderful. Where are we going to next! Well, the next film is 12 Monkeys, directed by Terry Gillian. Why? Well if you have watched Monty Python’s Flying Circus you can see Terry was influenced by the Yellow Submarine for his animated sections in that show. Next is his association with Hand-Made Films that was owned by George Harrison, the film company that made Time Bandits, The Long Good Friday and many other amazing British films. Thank you for reading and hopefully, you will return for part 10 of my Journey into science-fiction.