Step Into The Wonderful World of Pepperland

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Probably around 2009, I was a huge video game fanatic. I would mostly stick to Nintendo games as they were family friendly and all-around fun. I would go to “work” with my dad and he would give me a nice five dollars. I would save up and buy the newer Nintendo titles that I could afford. Another thing I would do is wait for E3,  an electronics show in LA. On top of electronics, video game companies would show of their new consoles and video games to accompany them. They would upload all their new game trailers onto YouTube, where my brother and I would gleefully watch them all. One trailer that caught my eye was from Activison. They showed off their newest installment of the Rock Band franchise, The Beatles Rock Band. For some reason, the music caught my attention and I had to know more about The Beatles. This is pretty much how I became a huge fan of The Beatles.

In my deep dive into all things Beatles, I would come across their films. A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, Yellow Submarine, Magical Mystery Tour, and Let it Be were all for free on YouTube (at the time YouTube was lax on uploading full movies). I watched a couple of them, but Yellow Submarine has stuck with me forever.

Yellow Submarine is based on a song of the same name, sung by Ringo Starr, from their LP Revolver. The lyrics and movie diverge a lot, they almost have no correlation. The only thing connecting the song and movie is the submarine. The movie itself is a psychedelic animated children’s movie with the worst dry British humor you will ever hear. The Beatles don’t really have a personality in the film and the Blue Meanies are just ridiculous. You don’t really watch it for the dialogue, it’s more about the animation and music that really get you invested.

In terms of music, obviously the movie is composed by Beatles’ songs, but it is also anchored down by the orchestral scores done by Sir George Martin. The soundtrack is a part of The Beatles discography. The album itself is half new Beatles’ songs and half Sir George Martin songs. I highly recommend a listen, mainly for the song “Hey Bulldog”, a hidden gem in this album. In the movie, there is a nice balance of songs motivating scenes and scenes motivating songs. All in all, the music is fantastic and already a great excuse to watch this film.

Another part of the movie to look forward to is the animation itself. Visually, it is vastly different than anything made before. The animation team was not afraid to use colors in anyway. Not only does the film work with light colors but it also can transition into dark colors flawlessly. While this film makes use of limited animations, it’s influence can be seen in shows like Sesame Street, the Electric Company and School House Rock. The movement in the animation is also something to look for. While it is not the smoothest animation, whenever a character moves, there personality and emotions are shown. For example, the character of Jeremy Hilary Boob PhD (yes that is his name) is always busy and very erratic. So when he walks, he is always walking on his toes and is always shown in a different pose or position. The emotions are shown to the audience instead of just being told to them.

I was lucky to find this movie at a young age but looking at it now, I can really appreciate this film more. I recommend a watch if you are into great color palettes, psychedelic visuals and great music. Yellow Submarine is available for purchase or rent in the iTunes movie section.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Hales

    I loved this post. I grew up with The Beatles, my father being a die-hard fan of theirs since he was a child. I did not watch The Yellow Submarine until I was older, though. I much preferred the experience of The Magical Mystery Tour because of the personality the band-members had. English irreverence is PALPABLE throughout their music and the other creative pursuits they indulged while together, and I am glad you appreciate that.

    • David Rubio

      Magical Mystery Tour was awesome. When the military general started yelling gibberish at everyone and John just says “why?”, hilarious. I have to re-watching sometime soon.

  • Sofia

    I, too, grew up listening to The Beatles because of my father, so this was a fun read. If you haven’t already seen them, you should check out Across the Universe (2007) and Yesterday (2019). Not sure if you’re into musicals like that, but the whole soundtrack is The Beatles so it’s still enjoyable even if you don’t really like musicals.

    • David Rubio

      I’ve seen bits and piece of Across the Universe for sure. I love how the movie brings the songs to live. My favorite scene is probably “Strawberry Fields Forever”. They was the scene combines the imagery of the strawberries on the canvas and the Vietnam War is really good. I haven’t heard to many good things about Yesterday, so I’ve kinda avoided it but I may look into it.

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