"The Beatles' 1968 animated cult classic Yellow Submarine will be emerging from a sea of holes into the sea of green this May, when a remastered version of the film hits shelves," reports Matthew Wright at the National Post. "The original film took almost two years to make, as the production cycled through 40 animators, 140 technical artists and 14 different versions of the script. Accompanying its re-release will be a remastered soundtrack, and on April 24, a re-published version of the film's screenplay. The DVD and Blu-ray of Yellow Submarine, to include a behind-the-scenes documentary and audio commentary, will be released on May 28. The Blu-ray version will also have interviews, stickers, sketches and a 16-page essay on the film by Pixar founder John Lasseter."
In the Los Angeles Times, Randy Lewis reports that "the restoration for the 4K digital resolution was done completely by hand, frame by frame, without the use of any automated software because of the delicacy of the original hand-drawn animated artwork."
"Having seen the world premiere of the restored version at this year's SXSW," writes Marc Campbell at Dangerous Minds, "I can attest to its eye-searing intensity and lysergic beauty. While the story obviously remains the same, rather thin with a script comprised of surreal non sequiturs and bad puns, the overall experience of watching the film in a pristine digital format overwhelms the narrative with colors and artwork so you rich you can practically taste it." He also posts Mod Odyssey, "a groovy short documentary on the creation of Yellow Submarine. Enjoy."
A couple of related notes. The Daily Beast has asked the likes of Brad Pitt, James Taylor, Michael Caine, Jonathan Demme and Ryan Gosling for their favorite Beatles tunes.
And here's Ben Sachs in the Chicago Reader: "Out of print for several years, Richard Lester's grand-scale comedy How I Won the War (1967) is available on DVD again courtesy of the MGM Archive Collection (Facets has had it for rent for a couple of weeks). War may be remembered mainly for John Lennon's involvement — the movie provided him with the circle-frame glasses that became central to his image — despite the fact that he plays only a supporting character. If not for its connection to Lennon mythology, the movie most likely would be forgotten, as it's so steeped in the zeitgeist of 1967 that the jokes practically require footnotes today. And to make things more frustrating, the aggressively ramshackle style prevents the ideas from coalescing into any appreciable shape. Still, the movie betrays the energy and imagination of Lester's best work (A Hard Day's Night, Petulia), making it the sort of A-for-effort failure that reveals as much about a major artist as a genuine success might." And he links to Dave Kehr's capsule review.
Meantime, Lester's received a Fellowship from the British Film Institute. More from the BBC.