The Blue Meanies are the antagonists of the 1968 British animated film Yellow Submarine, which was based on the works of The Beatles. They are a group of fierce, if not buffoonish, music-hating creatures that allegorically represent all the bad people in the world. The film was extremely surreal and, as such, the general plot was whimsical at best. However, there was no denying of the malevolence of the Blue Meanies as they remained a solid threat up until the end of the film when they seemingly repented and became a much more pleasant society.
Role in the film
Taking over Pepperland
Their first appearance is right at the beginning, when they assemble their troops to take over the fictional, musical land of Pepperland, as they hate any kind of music. Assembled and ready, they attack using anti-music missiles and small guns that petrifies the citizens. To add insult to injury, they lock the land's biggest source of music, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, inside a huge glass sphere that neutralizes their music. The land soon becomes a big gray wasteland and every Pepperlander ends up petrified, except for one man called "Old Fred" that is told by Pepperland's mayor to seek help, moments before his own capture. Fred quickly sails his Yellow Submarine to Liverpool, where he asks for the Beatles' help. Gathered by Ringo, they all agree to help the land and drive the Meanies away.
Fighting the Beatles and redeemingAfter meeting the Nowhere Man Jeremy Hillary Boob Ph.D and having him captured by the Blue Meanies, the Beatles and Fred soon reach Pepperland, discovering that the whole land has become gray and devoid of color, and every citizen has been petrified and are now being used by the Meanies as a source of amusement. They quickly sight the Chief Blue Meanie between the crowd and wait until nighttime so they can act while the Meanies are asleep. As they rush to an old stage where the Lonely Hearts Club Band's instruments are impounded, one of the common Meanies sights them and tries to shoot them, only to miss every shot. The Beatles manage to recover the instruments and disguise themselves as the band. When the sun rises, they try to sneak past the sleeping Meanies, but Ringo accidentally steps on a bagpipe, causing one of the Countdown Clowns to awake and alert the other Meanies of their escape. As they finally gain a chance to hide, they begin to sing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" as they play the instruments, managing to revive Pepperland's citizens, as well as defeating a bunch of Blue Meanies as they sing.
The singing immediately angers the Chief Meanie, so he sends his most destructive "soldier", the "Dreadful Flying Glove", to take out the band before they can sing any other songs. However, John manages to single-handedly defeat it by discovering that without its "G", all that is left of "glove" is "love", thus inspiring him to sing "All You Need is Love". The song defeats the Glove and revives Pepperland to its fullest. The group also manages to free the Lonely Hearts Club Band from their prison, as they discover that the Band's members are alternate versions of themselves.
Not wanting to give up so easily, the Chief decides to send in his Four-Headed Bulldog to finish them, but the new union of the Beatles and the Club Band sing "Hey Bulldog" together, defeating the Meanies' final effort to enslave the population and causing them to retreat. Amongst the ruckus, Ringo frees Jeremy from the Meanies as the Nowhere Man faces the Chief Meanie himself, managing to conjure a magic spell that fills the Chief's body with flowers and causing him to have a breakdown. As they cheer on their victory, John asks if the Meanies want to join them, which they happily do as they all celebrate with "It's All Too Much" playing on the background.
The Meanies are supposed to represent every bad person in the world. As a result, they are all despicable creatures that hate any source of music and never accept "Yes" as an answer.
There are many types of Blue Meanies seen in the film. The only common trend between them is that they all have blue or at least bluish parts or garments on their bodies.
- Storm Bloopers: The most common variety, and the most seen. They wear navy-blue woolly coats, domino masks and Mickey Mouse-ear-like hats. Another common trend is that they have six claws on each hand, and wear a pair of yellow-and-orange striped tights. They are usually seen carrying weapons that fire pale-blue jagged arrows, which can petrify people (to an extent) and cause extreme sadness upon the victim, paralyzing them and draining them of color. The Chief Blue Meanie and his main henchman Max are variations of this type, but the Chief and Max wear jackboots with spurs instead of tights, and the left one is navy-blue while the right one is light-blue. Their hats are also different, as they resemble Bugs Bunny's ears.
- Butterfly Stompers: Wide cat-like Meanies carrying numbers on their woolly coats (like sports jerseys). Their name is due to their strange love of stomping butterflies.
- Apple Bonkers: These are towering, Abraham Lincoln-like Meanies that are extremely thin and use Baldwin apples as their primary weapon, which they use to hit people on the head and cause similar effects to the Meanies' jagged arrow guns. These Meanies are referenced in the 2007 film Across the Universe, when Mr. Kite introduces one of his circus' characters called the "Blue People".
- Countdown Clowns: Large, fat clown-like Meanies with no arms. They can generate loud shrieks that are used to alarm other Meanies of an enemy's presence, as well as announce their attacks. Their noses can be pressed to create big explosions wherever they look (it must be done by another Meanie, as the clowns have no arms). After they become good, their explosions are replaced by sounds of "Yes" and "OK".
- Snapping-Turtle Turks: Relatively short, fat Meanies dressed in stereotypical Turkish attire. Their stomachs are actually giant predatory faces with sharp-toothed mouths that consume whatever they see.
- Hidden-Persuader Men: Large gentleman Meanies that constantly smoke cigars and hold martinis in their hands, with what seems to be an eye on the glass. They hide two more arms beneath their shoes that hold concealed guns, which they use to threaten people who are close by. After their redeeming, they are seen prompting toasts to each other and using their extra hands to give friendly shakes.
- Jack-the-Nippers: The least seen variation. These Meanies resemble jazz musicians wearing green tailcoats and sunglasses with two reptilian heads for hands. These guys can be easily defeated by tricking their "hands" into biting their own tongues. Their name is a play on Jack the Ripper.
- The Four-Headed Bulldog: A large, light-blue Bulldog with four heads that is remarkably strong, each of its mouths having razor-sharp teeth. Only one of this variety is seen in the movie. Its very owner has no strength to contain this beast if it wants to walk in a particular direction. It is defeated when the Beatles and the Lonely Hearts Club Band sing "Hey Bulldog" to get its attention and then run in opposite directions to confuse it.
- The Dreadful Flying Glove: The fiercest of the Meanies. It is literally a giant glove sporting a stylized face, with the thumbnail acting as the eye and the index finger as the nose, constantly pointing forward. This creature is a force to be reckoned with; crushing and "o-blue-terating" anything its master orders it to. It is defeated when John sings "All You Need is Love" and covers it with the words that come out of his mouth.
- The term "Blue Meanies" is also a slang term in Britain for the police or traffic wardens, especially certain traffic wardens that were hired by private firms and thus earned money via distributing fees to motorists.
- The Bulldog was edited out of the American version so it wouldn't create an anti-climax after the "All You Need is Love" scene.
- The Meanie known as "Max" is a reference to the 1966 film The Blue Max.
- A Blue Meanie appears in the South Park episode "Imaginationland".
- Despite being the antagonists of the film, the Meanies have little screen time.
- The Meanies were originally going to be red, as a reference to the Cold War.