Here is my 10 second animation of a similar scene. This time using Nonlinear Bend Deformer, Rigging with Smooth Bind, IK Handles and Keyframe Animation.

Camera is set at 2.1mm Focal Length, to give that wide angle with fish-eye effect.

Scene rendered in mental ray for 9 minutes (24fps - 240frames)
on Core i5 2500k 4.0Ghz (OC), 8GB RAM 1866mhz (OC), ZOTAC GTX560-ti AMP! Edition 1GB (OC to 1120mhz)
Autodesk Maya 2013 64-bit Education Edition

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