SO, HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?
My morning began at 5.30am with rousing the kids from their sleep and wedging them in between hubby and me in the big bed.
You can’t miss the opening of the Olympic Games!
A highlight, the Satanic Mills. But where was the pomp? The ceremony?
My viewing ended with the youngest saying: “Mum, who is Paul McCartney?”
“He’s from The Beatles, dear.”
“Oh that’s right, I’ve heard of them.”
Groan! I am getting old.
In between was four hours of, well… hmmm.
We laughed a lot at Mr Bean!
As for the rest of it? Brilliant bits here and there, but, honestly I found it a mish mash of styles. I think Danny Boyle would have been lost without his pre-recorded grabs… and I’m not sure that’s how it should be done.
There wasn’t the use of the crowd in the way that Beijing did it. (OK it is a Communist regime and they’re good at that mass discipline stuff.) But who can forget how the Sydney 2000 ceremony opened with a lone horseman (it’s called “focus”, people). Then how Homebush stadium was used as a 3D canvas for a depiction of the Barrier Reef, then the extraordinary puppetry…Beautifully made giant fish, the acrobatic skin divers and twirling, whirling iridescent wildflowers…
David Atkins and Ric Birch delivered a stunningly beautiful opening that demonstrated a peerless artistic vision.
At London 2012, I would have liked to see more inclusion of the cultures that make Great Britain… well… great.
Where were the bagpipes? Where was the Welsh choir? The Morris dancers?(!!) The horse regiments and carriages? ( Perhaps I’m thinking of the Edinburgh Tattoo.)
It was almost as if all the pomp and pageantry had been done and dusted at the Golden Jubilee and, quite frankly, the Brits were over it. Fair enough, but I don’t think Boyle played to the universal understanding of British culture. Perhaps he thought that would be be kitsch, but I would say, in not employing the so-called “cliches” ( as in the massed 84 grand pianos from the L.A. 1984 Olympics playing Gershwin), he missed his mark.
I don’t have argument with his inclusion of modern British culture, at all.
Apparently many thought his take “subversive”. Maybe so. I’m not interested in the politics of it. I would still argue that his presentation was incoherent to a wider audience. And, on that basis, whatever his message and motive was, it failed.
The show (and it is a show, after all) was disappointing. Although the pyrotechnics were awesome.
What were your highlights and lowlights?
The opening was like a scene from The Shire in Hobbiton and rather underwhelming – too small in scale for the arena. I can always watch Sir Kenneth Branagh. The chimneys belching smoke were spectacular and the forged Olympic ring rising to the heavens… inspired. The National Health Service sequence… erm. ( Wonder what the Yanks made of that?) Voldemort was well daggy. And the whole bit with the house and the kids getting on the Tube to head for the city to a nightclub? The plot line of the lost mobile phone? Didn’t care for that much.( Maybe I am getting old.) The sequence with the Queen and James Bond was a tad cringe-worthy ( athough Her Maj was a good sport)…. and erm… struggling a bit now…
Did I mention we laughed a lot at Mr Bean?
The lighting of the cauldron was spectacular, I’ll say that.
And only one chime from that massive bell? I was SO hoping the thing would go off.
Can’t help thinking a full rendition of Tubular Bells, given that it is so familiar to so many (17 million sales we were told, more than once), would have made a brilliant soundtrack… finishing with Chariots of Fire or London Calling. Or, the marvellous The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams… surely that would have made out hearts beat out of our chests. (I should add that the Abide With Me segment with those extraordinary dancers was one moment when the ceremony reached the superlative artistic level one might expect of the Brits.)
Yes, I know, I know… I want to direct!
Some are saying that director of the show, Oscar-winning Danny Boyle – Trainspotting, Slum Dog Millionaire – deserves a knighthood. I wouldn’t award him one on this outing.
Although Sir Rowan Atkinson definitely deserves his!
All up, as I say, not one of the best opening to an Olympic games I’ve ever seen. Think I might get out my DVD of the opening of the Sydney games and show the kids how it’s really done…
PS: The kids have demanded that I mention that they didn’t like our Aussie uniforms. Too plain, they said. I think they would have preferred that our team all looked like that magnificent young man who lead the team from Fiji. But don’t you just love it when you are expected as a parent to know everything? “So where, EXACTLY, is Suriname, Mum?”
*Forgive me, but watch this video of the Sydney 2000 opening ceremony and tell me if it doesn’t have a sense of soul-stirring moment missing from the London 2012 games opening. And, I’ll argue, a real understanding of big scale “spectacle”.