How do we love thee, Beatles? Let us count the ways. Among the myriad gifts bestowed by the moptop milieu, Yellow Submarine merits a special place in the pantheon for exposing mainstream cinema-going families to a high fibre diet of context-free surrealism, cornea-peeling op art and benignly subversive pop culture. All this, and a “love conquers all” message: irresistible.
The frame-by-frame restoration of this 1968 masterpiece reaffirms its luminous beauty, the flamboyant audacity of Heinz Edelmann’s art design – however dismissive of the film he might later have become – and its radical animation techniques, suffused with a sense of wonder worthy of Georges Méliès. The Eleanor Rigby set-piece in particular remains an extraordinarily affecting interlude of Magritte melancholia, while the Sea Of Monsters is a miraculous map of the id.
George Martin’s exquisitely illustrative but unobtrusive score is a tour de force in its own right, while the Fabs themselves offer up some of their most cherished odds and ends – the bleeping, frazzled and fragmentary psych of It’s Only A Northern Song; Hey Bulldog, with its tightly symmetrical riff; and the optimistic sunstorm of It’s All Too Much. Extras include Mod Odyssey – a short, contemporaneous making-of documentary.