Animalympics

Well, the Olympics are winding down as I write this, and once again TV channels in the UK have missed yet another chance to show one of the most entertaining and apposite films they could have broadcast during the whole event. I refer, as you may have already guessed, to Animalympics.

animalympics-poster

First shown in 1980 to coincide with the Moscow Olympics (I mysef watched this during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games), Animalympics is very much of its time i.e. it’s a rather odd concept that is executed better than you’d think (see also: Heavy Metal and Rock & Rule). The premise is simple – anthropormorphic animals compete in the Animalympics, which are also covered by ZOO TV Network.

animalympicslunchbox

Yes, this is a lunchbox, but it’s also the best picture I can find for most of the ZOO commentators. Also, the turtle sounds exactly like Henry Kissinger, because this movie was commissioned in 1978.

There isn’t even really a plot as such, aside from two overarching stories; the first (and most popular with fans of the film) is of Rene Fromage and Kit Mambo, two marathon runners who are rivals but discover that the shared experience brings them closer together, even though they never exchange a word between them during the entire race.

renekit.jpg

The other reason I posted that picture of a lunchbox is because nearly all the screenshots of this movie I can find are bloody awful.

Then there’s the other story arc, which… how do I put this… is kinda shit. Kurt Wüffner, champion skiier, flies off the track during the slalom event and stumbles upon Dogri-La, a paradise filled with “beautiful” (the character designs for the Wüffner segments are terrible) women. I don’t remember much about this part of the movie, except that it was tedious but didn’t take up too much screentime.

waste of perfectly good animation cels

Aside from those two plots, the film is more a series of vignettes; animals compete in an Olympic sport, often with hilarious results and superb animation. Indeed, many of the people who worked on Animalympics went on to even better things in their careers: Roger Allers, Brad Bird and the guy who made Tron, to name but three.

Animalympics.mp4.00_46_46_02.Still002

The voice cast deserve a mention, if only because there were only four of them; Michael Fremer, who also wrote the much-loved soundtrack to this film, as well as Saturday Night Live alumni Billy Crystal, Harry Shearer and the late Gilda Radner. That said, I was very surprised to learn there were so few voice actors involved – a testament to the range of all four people.

fencing

As you may have guessed, this film is popular with people from a certain subculture.

I could go into further detail and overanalyse the other segments of the film, or bloviate about the great soundtrack but there’s honestly not much point. Like I said, this film shouldn’t really work as well as it does, but this is a great film that should be watched and enjoyed as a whole… except for the Wüffner segments. You should probably go make a sandwich while he’s on-screen.

renekit2

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s