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Film / Animal Games

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Animal Games is a BBC special that aired in 2004. It presents the Olympic Games where all the contestants are non-human animals, using footage of real animals modified digitally to set them in the same scenes. The contestants are divided into five teams, Herptiles, Insects, Fish, Mammals, and Birds. Due to the massive spectrum of sizes covered by the contestants, they are all resized to be the same size as humans. (Of course, Square-Cube Law is ignored.) The teams compete in various competitions just like in the real life Olympics, with often impressive (and sometimes hilarious) results. Amidst all the fun and games, the commentators (John Motson and Jonathan Pearce) discuss how each contestant accomplishes its feats.


It was followed up in 2006 by Animal Winter Olympics. Aside from the seasonal setting and the different competitions featured, this one had several differences from the original Animal Games. For one thing, it added a new team to the competition, one specifically for Humans that included Real Life athletes, allowing a comparison between human record breakers and other animals, while there was no Insect team. For another, the contestants were not resized this time around, so their performances reflected their actual capabilities in real life.


Animal Games provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Awesome, but Impractical: If it weren't for their imprecision, the abilities of the flea, whirligig beetle, and skipper butterfly caterpillar would have outshined most if not all of their competitors by a landslide. Similarly, the tiger beetle being blinded by its own Super Speed costs it a gold medal.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Due to all the contestants, including insects, being resized to human size.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Once everyone's the same size, the cheetah (in the 100-meter dash) and elephant (in weightlifting) do quite poorly in their respective fields. The elephant even gets disqualified, as it's not even able to lift 25kg!
  • Camera Abuse: The skipper butterfly caterpillar bumps into the camera, causing it to lose connection. The camera is fixed by a gorilla.
  • Carnivore Confusion: In spite of all the animals competing alongside one another regardless of diet, no problems of this sort occur. The dragonfly holding the shooting target for the archerfish does get a little nervous though.
    • In addition, there are signs saying "Please refrain from eating your neighbors" in the audience stands.
  • Clever Crows: A raven is seen supervising the events.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The sailfin water dragon is described as "hopelessly behind" in freestyle swimming... until it starts running on the water surface and steals the gold.
    • The fruit fly larva in high jump. Not only can it jump, it wins gold!
  • Determinator: The walking catfish in the 100 meter dash gets last place, but makes it to finish line in the end.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: The emperor penguin in long jump and the gentoo penguin in freestyle swimming. The gentoo penguin wins a bronze medal.
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Averted, the great white shark in weightlifting and mako shark in freestyle swimming don't really make anything worse for anyone. Neither of them win anything though.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: The sailfin water dragon is no match for the other contestants in freestyle swimming when it comes to actual swimming. Then it switches to running on the surface of the water and leaves all the others in the dust.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Most of the contestants in the shooting competition, though not the skipper butterfly caterpillar, which gets it disqualified.
  • Loophole Abuse: The sailfin water dragon gets away with running rather than swimming to victory because the competition is freestyle.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The Nile crocodile in weightlifting wins a bronze medal, though it averts this trope and doesn't pose a physical threat to anyone.
  • Noble Bird of Prey: Not only does a golden eagle bring in the Olympic torch and serve as a judge during the games, it participates in the weightlifting competition and flies away with an impressive silver medal.
  • No Sense of Direction: This is why the otherwise-impressive skipper butterfly caterpillar (in shooting), flea (in high jump), and whirligig beetle (in freestyle swimming) are disqualified from their respective competitions.
  • Not Quite Flight: The lesser florican in high jump is disqualified for flapping its wings as part of its jumping display, as they help it to "fly" higher.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: An owl supervises some of the events.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: At its original size, the rhinoceros beetle.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The lesser florican, walking catfish, rocket frog, spiny-tailed gecko, and sailfin water dragon, among others.
  • Smelly Skunk: The skunk uses its musk in the shooting competition and wins bronze.
  • Super Reflexes: The cockroach and tiger beetle have this, giving them an advantage in the 100-meter dash.
  • Super Speed: The resized animals in the 100-meter dash and freestyle swimming all have this, with the exception of the walking catfish and the sailfin water dragon (until it starts sprinting on the water surface).
  • Super Strength: After being rescaled, the rhinoceros beetle and golden eagle get this.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: See No Sense of Direction. Also, the tiger beetle runs so fast that it's unable to see, causing to to have to pause in the middle of its sprint. This costs it the gold medal.

Animal Winter Olympics provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Bears Are Bad News: Averted by the polar bears. If anything, they act as comic relief, doing poorly at all the events until finally managing to win a bronze in sledging (and that was because there were only three contestants to begin with).
  • Butt-Monkey: The polar bears.
  • Carnivore Confusion: In spite of all the animals competing alongside one another regardless of diet, no problems of this sort occur.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The tiny Siberian squirrel in the ski jump turns out to be a Siberian flying squirrel.
    • One might not expect the reindeer to perform spectacularly at sports, but not only does it do well, it gets gold in both of the competitions it enters.
    • Who'd have thought a baby painted turtle would win bronze for cold endurance?
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The ice hockey match between humans and polar bears turns out to be an easy win for the humans, as polar bears don't cooperate well.
  • Determinator: The polar bear in sledging, though it turns out to be no good at the event, manages to reach the finish line by the end of the games.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Emperor and gentoo penguins enter several competitions and earn medals in all but cross country.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Considering that there's only one contestant for the Fish and two for the Herptiles throughout the entire event, it's fairly obvious that the place for top three in total awards would be between the Mammals, Humans, and Birds.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: The penguins start out at a slow waddle in cross country, but then decide to get in the water and soon make up for lost ground. However, they are then impeded by a waterfall, which the salmon, which had previously been in last place, have no trouble jumping over. Ultimately though, neither the penguins nor the salmon win anything for that competition.
  • Left Hanging: Strangely, the results of the contestants not in the top 3 for cross country are not shown.
  • Noble Bird of Prey: A snowy owl brings in the Olympic torch.
  • Panthera Awesome: The tiger that serves as a judge during the event and the snow leopard in the ski jump, which wins bronze.
  • Playful Otter: The river otter puts its play behavior of sliding down slopes to good use in the grand slalom. Its friends nearly get it disqualified for messing up the terrain afterwards though.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Siberian squirrel.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The Siberian squirrel, Arctic ground squirrel, and barnacle goose.
  • Swans A-Swimming: The whooper swan in ice skating.
  • Turtle Power: The young painted turtle in cold endurance gets bronze.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The salmon in cross country are assumed to have come in last place, but are never shown passing the finish line.

Alternative Title(s): Animal Winter Games, Animal Winter Olympics