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To make a perfect Blu-ray of Yellow Submarine

MGM fucked up with the DVD version of Yellow Submarine. Make no mistake about that. So how do we do it right next time? We already know how.

1. Present the movie in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. This movie was not animated in 1.66:1. It was animated full-frame 4:3. People who want the movie to be cropped in order to better fit their widescreen TV, or who are uneducated and think that all movies were made in 16:9, do not matter. Is that perfectly clear? These people do not matter. They should be shot in the streets and most certainly should not be catered to. The movie must be presented in its original aspect ratio. If you’re worried about what people will think, then put an explanation on the box and the disc that the movie was animated in 4:3 and that you are proud to present it in that aspect ratio so that audiences can enjoy the entire picture.

2. Include the original mono audio FOR REAL this time! MGM messed up the DVD, and for some reason, the “mono” track switched to stereo — REMIXED stereo, no less — for a whole real. This is just incompetence. Get it right this time.

3. For the surround mix, do it anew. The late 90s remixes deviate too much from the original George Martin versions. In EQ, compression, and other areas, the sound is simply too different from what was perfected in the ’65-’67 mixes. It’s not the way the music was meant to sound. For some reasons, it makes sense to mix anew. The stereo panning on “Eleanor Rigby,” for example, has always been problematic. It makes sense to get vocals centered and such. But the tonality should remain faithful to the original mixes.

4. Give us the option to watch the American cut. This does not mean you present a shoddy transfer of the American Only sequences in 480i as a bonus feature. It means you transfer those uniquely American sequences — from “All You Need is Love” to just before Jeremy’s confrontation with the head Blue Meanie — in 1080p, from the best possible source, with options for both original and remixed audio, and you branch these alternate scenes seamlessly with the original movie. A lot of people remember the movie in its American version, with the “Beatles to Battle” sequence and no “Hey Bulldog,” so you better give them the option to see it that way.

This is all simple stuff. Follow the list, and we won’t have any problems. Either get it right, or I will come to your houses and latch myself around your necks until you fix it. It’s an easy choice. Don’t fuck it up.

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