Sunday, August 17, 2008

Looking back at the Animalympics

As we watch the 2008 Summer Olympics I can't help but think of an animated tribute to the Olympics that came out in 1980 that I had watched as a kid and my kids have just discovered this year. It was called the Animalympics. This was a great tribute/spoof of the modern Olympic games presented as the animals of the earth would approach the games. Voices were done by Gilda Radnor, Billy Crystal and Harry Shearrer. The writing is well done with a lot of great subtle humor. You will recognize a lot of classic stereotypes of Olympic athletes and commentators from the summer and winter games. Not Disney related at first glance, the studio that produced this was Lisberger Studios. However, when you see the credits you begin to see some pretty recognizable names.

This movie seemed to be the testing ground back then for a number of successful people today. Since TR2N is in the news let's start with Steven Lisberger. He directed and co-wrote Animalympics. One of the Art Directors is Roger Allen. He went on to work on Lion King 1 1/2, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast to name a couple. He also went on to direct a minor picture named the Lion King. Another of the art directors was John Norton. He went on to work on Tron and the Goofy Movie and he wrote Brother Bear and The Emperors New Groove. Bill Kroyer is listed as the Animation Director. Along with a number of animation credits in movies like, Garfield, Scooby Doo and the Green Mile he is listed as the animation director for the Making of Me, the Martin Short movie in the closed down Wonders of Life Pavilion in Epcot. One other name that stood out in the list of animators for Animalympics was the name of Brad Bird. He went on to direct two of the best Pixar movies in The Incredibles and Ratatouille. One last note, the music is done by Graham Gouldman from the band 10CC. The theme song is permanetly stuck in my head which is not really that bad a thing. it's pretty good. Below is a link to part of the movie that highlights the song 'We Made it to the Top'.
Here is a link to a nice site to give more information on the movie. Enjoy the movie and the Olympics!

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