jamiehewlett_monkey.jpg jamiehewlett_monkey.jpg

Jamie Hewlett’s Olympics Short

Jamie Hewlett

Jamie Hewlett’s new BBC promo for the Olympics is damn impressive. Watch it on the BBC website. Also, there’s a new interview with Hewlett in the Guardian in which he talks a bit about working on this Olympics piece:

‘It looks wonderful and I’m really thrilled by it,’ says Hewlett. ‘It’s gone through so many changes because there are so many departments at the BBC, and the Olympics is their biggest gig of the year. Damon [Albarn] and I are used to having the luxury of doing exactly what we want, and we understand that this whole idea of using animated ancient Chinese characters is quite a wild-card for them. But somebody at the BBC had seen the Monkey opera and they put our name into the mix. And I think we’ve managed to keep the BBC happy, to tick every box, without ruining the original idea. I mean, the characters aren’t wearing running vests!’

(Thanks, Will Kane)

  • Tissa Tack

    God that’s a thing of beauty right there x.x

  • I like! Jamie Hewlett’s characters are great.

  • Beautiful ! Wow. The drawings are very engaging and overall art direction very appealing.

    I want to see a whole feature film done in that style.

  • ted

    Pretty cool, but the Gorillaz videos are head and shoulders above this.
    And was that Aku?

  • I hope they do more of these ^_^

  • cool.

    safe to say monkey could beat up 1996’s izzy in a fight.

  • jon

    the background animation was really clever. why dont they show stuff like that in the states.

  • Chuck R.

    Very nice piece! Unfortunately, the BBC put it on a pretty geeky “meet monkey” webpage that will probably be a turnoff to most of Hewlett’s fans.

  • Ray P

    It’s pretty good, but I agree with Ted. The Gorillaz videos are incredible, especially the character design.

  • Friggin awesome, I like this better then the Gorillaz

  • My word, this piece is abso-LUTELY stunning! :)

    I’m guessing that ‘Passion Pictures’ was involved with this gem?…

    TRULY inspiring work…
    SOOOOOO good!

  • maxeythecat

    Okay….how many of you out there remember “Alakazam the Great”? If you’re as old as I am, then it’s more than likely you’ve seen it during it’s frequent runs on television, and if your the same sort of animation nut as yours truly, I’ll just bet it was the film that first got you hooked on Anime.
    Released here in 1961, “Alakazam” told the tale of a young arrogant monkey king who, after being defeated by a great wizard, is forced to go on a quest to save the wizard’s son. Aided by two companions he meets along the way, The young king receives some very harsh lessons and ultimately learns that humility, honor and self sacrifice are the tools he needs to rule his kingdom as a true and just monarch.
    Culled from an ancient Chinese tale called “Journey into the West”, the film was a movie adaption of Osamu Tezuka’s Manga ( he was also listed as the director despite the fact that he hadn’t done any animation at the time, though this was the project that first got him interested in the medium) and one of the earliest animes ever shown in the United States.
    Sad to say it was “Americanized” with some pretty ridiculous names for the characters ( Sir Quigley Brokenbottom anyone?) a rather insipid new soundtrack, a few boring “American” tunes that have little to do with the plot and a few “name” actors including Frankie Avalon as the singing voice of the Monkey King. Despite all that however, it’s beautifully animated with breathtakingly rich color and a wonderful Eurasian look to the design that I absolutely love…all in all, it’s a pretty nice little film and remains one of my favourite animated movies.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I read his interview. I feel really sorry for Jamie about the TANK GIRL movie. That was my favorite comic, but the “movie” was embarrassing. I don’t blame him for being bitter after Hollywood royally screwed him over.

  • Clover

    This looks beautiful!

    But weren’t there other (Chinese created) mascots for the Olympics this year? What happened to those?

  • Marcus

    Gorgeous work. Well done Jamie Hewlett & Damon Albarn/Passion Pictures!

  • Like maxeythecat sez, this is from the same fable that inspired Alakazam . . . and I’m pretty sure the same story inspired Dragonball.

  • Very sweet, indeed. Although it feels a bit incoherent visually. A mix of styles that doesn’t fit completely. Also, I think a bit more abstraction would have helped in this specific case. But, of course, I so very much appreciate an animation approach like this from the BBC …

  • Ben

    Wow! I love the art style, and would love to see this flesh out to a series or a feature! The story is familiar, but it could go far on the looks, that’s for sure!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Being reminded of what Clover said. Since this is the BBC doing it their way, it probably doesn’t affect what the Beijing Olympics Committee has been doing with their own mascot creation/s but I could be wrong (even I had tinkered with the idea of submitting a drawing of a panda to them years back when they were taking submissions but the fine print bogged me down).

  • i’m really excited to finally see this on the web! i spent a month working on this spot in london which was directed by the ridiculously talented pete candeland at passion pictures. the animation was led up by robert valley and a host of talented artists, and the backgrounds were designed by myself and lukasz pazera. i hope you all really enjoy the animation, we had an amazing time working on it! thanks for the plug amid!

  • Barbara

    the way some characteristics of olympic events were worked into the action scenes is very clever..subtle, too. This is great, and a very pretty song too!

  • Anna

    Ah, the characters are so appealing and have lots of personality! The colors and backgrounds are beautiful too! I wish we had stuff like this on animated TV shows! Then, television would be a smorgasbord of joy and prettiness!

  • Simon

    We instantly recognised this as Jamies work, he has a unique style.
    I have always been a big fan of animation and Mr Hewlett is up there with the best of them.

  • Julie Bushell

    Jamie Hewlett’s Olympics Short is fantastic. A complete joy to watch, encapsulating tradition whilst conveying the sporting theme in such an entertaining and exciting manner. Such fun!!! Then finally arriving at The Birdsnest – so clever. I just had to go online to find out its origins and discovered I could “watch it again”. Great.

  • wow thats great! its obviously based of the classic book
    Journey to The West ^^