The Beatles Yellow Submarine (1968)
VIDEO_TS Folder = 6.5 GB | Scans incl. German Booklet 400 dpi jpg | RAR
DVD9 with digitally restored film & remixed sound released 1999 | MGM Apple | Animation · Rock | UK
Dolby Stereo · Dolby 5.1 Surround · DTS Surround AC3 | 4:3 MPEG2 720 x 576 px | 90 min.
Language: English, Français, Deutsch, Italiano, Castellano | Subtitles: English, Franais, Deutsch, Italiano, Castellano, Nederlands, Svenska, Suomi, Norsk, Dansk, Portuges, Polski
Documentary The Mod Odyssey
Soundtrack with music only, remixed Dolby 5.1 Surround or Stereo
3 storyboard sequences, of which 2 are not used in the film
Interviews with team and speakers
This restored, animated valentine to the Beatles offers viewers the rare chance to see a work that's been substantially improved by its technical facelift, not just supersized with extra footage. Recognizing that its song-studded soundtrack alone makes Yellow Submarine a video annuity, United Artists has lavished a frame-by-frame refurbishment of the original feature, while replacing its original monaural audio tracks with a meticulously reconstructed stereo mix that actually refines legendary original album versions.
What emerges is a vivid time capsule of the late '60s and a minor milestone in animation. The music represents the quartet's zenith--Rubber Soul, Revolver, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The story line, cobbled together by producer Al Brodax and a committee of writers, is a broad, feather-light allegory set in idyllic Pepperland, where the gentle citizens are threatened by the nasty, music-hating Blue Meanies and their surreal arsenal of henchmen, with the Beatles enlisted to thwart the bad guys. Visually, designer Heinz Edelmann mixes the biomorphic squiggles, day-glo palette, and Beardsley-esque portraits of Peter Max with rotoscoped still photographs and film; Edelmann's animated collages also nod to Andy Warhol and Magritte in properly psychedelic fashion, which works wonderfully with such terrific songs.
High orthodox Beatlemaniacs can still grouse that the animated Fab Four are (literally) flat archetypes, but that's missing the sheer bloom of the music or the giddy, campy fun of the visuals. Making sense of the story is second to submerging blissfully in the sights and sounds of this video treat. --Sam Sutherland
DVD features: The scope of Yellow Submarine's 1999 restoration is idealized on the DVD version, which beyond its slightly letterboxed original aspect adds a stunning 5.1 sound mix that showcases the audio team's wizardry; music fans can hear the entire score without dialogue, the better to focus on such revelations as "Nowhere Man," boasting a gorgeous, full-stereo chorus, and "Only a Northern Song," with a first-time-ever stereo mix that exploits the full surround array for appropriately mind-blowing effect. Other special features include three storyboarded sequences, two of which are not seen in the final film; behind-the-scenes photos and featurette; a full-length audio commentary; and the original theatrical trailer. --Sam Sutherland
Where the DVD really shines is in the newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 track. This sucker's terrific! Songs actively use all five channels, which really allows the various instruments and voices to spread out within the mix. The music is also very clear and clean; these songs have simply never sounded better! Even if I hated the movie itself, this DVD is worth owning for the musical remixes, especially since the disc includes an isolated music track that's also in 5.1; as such, you can listen to all the songs without any interruption from dialogue! Yay!
The music is not the only beneficiary of this new mix. Much of the rest of the soundtrack receives a nice boost from this work. What was originally apparently a mono mix has become a full surround piece, and it spreads out the action very nicely. Sounds pan across all five channels well, with examples such as the sub itself flitting from speaker to speaker as it putters along. The quality of the audio tends to be a little flat, which isn't surprising given the age of the recordings, but it's always completely acceptable. The sound actually packs a pretty decent sonic punch, with a much greater dynamic range than I expected; no, it won't give you subwoofer a workout, but highs and lows receive good treatment. Without question, this is the best 5.1 remix I've yet heard. (For the record, the DVD also includes the original mono mix.)