Friday, January 15, 2010
I ain't felt right ever since I heard that truly nauseating news about Robert Zemeckis' plans for a motion-capture remake of one of my favorite movies, the psychedelic cartoon classic The Yellow Submarine. The world felt gray and dreary, like I was one of those hopeless newspaper people in the original film's achingly and incongruously sad Eleanor Rigby sequence. Friends, the Internet can be a lonely place on a Saturday night. (And this is only Friday morning.)
But today I discovered something that put the spin back in my propeller. It seems that back in 2000, there was an actual Yellow Submarine theme park ride in Germany and Japan. Guests boarded the Yellow Submarine, where Old Fred took them on a journey to Pepperland, stopping off along the way for a visit to the Sea of Monsters, the Sea of Science or the Sea of Time. (Apparently it was totally random which sea you'd visit, but the Sea of Monsters was definitely the E-ticket acid trip of the bunch.)
The kind folks at Fab4Art have posted all of the ride's filmed material on YouTube. You won't get the full, immersive experience of the actual ride, but this footage is still a real treat. First, Jeremy the Nowhere Man and Old Fred prepare to bring us aboard, before those damn Blue Meanies arrive and totally screw everything up. (Ain't that just like them?)
As you can see, the ride's creators did a really good job of capturing the film's freewheeling spirit, and the CGI animation is rather startlingly effective, bringing the film's very stylized, 2D characters into the third dimension. But you ain't seen nothing yet, kids...
The Sea of Monsters! Complete with Kinky Boot Beasts! And the Vacuum Monster! And then off to Pepperland, where we defeat the Blue Meanies with music. Now I can die a happy geek. (If the Hey, Bulldog song doesn't sound familiar, that's because it was cut from the original film and wasn't re-inserted until the 1999 theatrical re-release.)
But we must sail on, we have other seas to see. Let's go for a dive in the Sea of Science. You can skip ahead to the 1:20 mark to avoid seeing the whole intro sequence again.
Impressive as it is, this is arguably the weakest of the three seas. It seems the least connected to the film itself, with various images and scenes just sort of floating around in a psychedelic void before we get involved in some strange business with a shrink ray.
Now, off to the Sea of Time! Again, fast forwarding to 1:20 will get you past the intro.
This sequence also feels like it could have benefited from sticking a little closer to the film, but it's impressive in its own right and must have been stunning as a ride. (Imagine zooming through those giant, churning clock parts!)
In this article one of the ride's creators talks about all the hard work that went into making the ride, and you can really see it. This thing is clearly the work of people who really understood the original film's weird appeal, and who piled on enough crazy details and inside jokes to keep fans coming back for years.
But sadly, the ride wasn't around for long. It's all gone now, leaving only these Youtube clips behind. But hey, at least we can re-watch them without having to stand in a long line, crossing our fingers in hopes that this will be the time we finally get to see the Sea of Monsters.
(Via Cartoon Brew.)
Got a tip for Monsters and Rockets? Want to contribute to the site? Send us an email.