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Saturday, July 28, 2012

So, Did You See The Olympic Opening Ceremony - What Did You Think?

WOW - I felt a bit baffled by the whole thing!  Our neighbor came down to eat a supper with us and then with a glass of homemade blueberry wine in hand we retired to the living room to watch the Olympic XXX Opening Ceremony. We missed probably the first fifteen minutes, and we started to watch as thousands of performers dressed in very drab/dreary period costume looked miserable as they rolled up turf, smoke stacks emerged from the floor, and depressed looking women kept pulling on large handles attached to some sort of cog wheel.  In the meantime a strange looking woman with long flowing locks played music with a look of extreme concentration on her face. No one appeared to be having a very good time. There was so much going on at all times it just looked confusing and murky. We found a bit boring, then it looked like Sgt. Pepper's Army marched through the middle of things, and another large trail of women suffragettes were marching around all that was going on. One gentleman in a top hat and tails with a cigar in his mouth kept appearing on camera as he stood around with a dozen or so other men similarly attired, but who he was I not sure. All of this was performed on a created grassy hill with a large tree at the top, we started referring to it as the giant compost hill! Once we moved through the working mans point of view of history through the industrial revolution we moved on to the next segment of the ceremony; a strange, nonsensical tribute to the NHS ( National Health Service), this included hundreds of giant hospital beds with supposedly ill children leaping up and down as if on a trampoline, and nurses dressed in period costume dancing around, the children then all settled down to sleep and close up shots showed loving nurses reading stories to the little dears. Then out of no where monsters appeared, enormous puppet monsters lurching all around, and then an ginormous baby appeared in the middle of the arena, and we are talking ginormous, way bigger than a school bus! Can you say BIZARRE.

Now for the parts that I really enjoyed, and that truly made up for the absurd parts described above. There was a great parody of the movie Chariots of Fire with Mr. Bean, it was funny and well done. Mr. Bean would have stolen the show, except for an even better stunt. A short film started to play starting off at Buckingham Palace, James Bond arrives to pick up the Queen, we get to see a few of her Corgi's running around (they kind of stole the moment they were so cute).  James Bond and the Queen fly off in the royal helicopter, we are treated to some magnificent aerial views of London, and then they are hovering over the Olympic Arena.  The classic James Bond music is booming away and suddenly it appears that the dear Queen is parachuting into the arena, we LOVED IT!!, and it appeared everyone there LOVED IT. The next shot was of the Queen with slightly windblown hair arriving with Prince Philip to sit in the royal box! I also really enjoyed all of the Mary Poppinses floating down over the hospital beds it was quite a vision to behold.
This was followed by a montage of British pop culture, it was enjoyable, clips of favorite pop music were played along with a montage video, included in the music, Queen, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, and many more, a little later a portion of Sweet Dreams by Annie Lennox, then a tribute to 80's rap music, (thankfully this was short and sweet).

After all of this came the parade of athletes from all over the world, they moved at a fast pace and were accompanied with continual drumming by hundreds of drummers lining the track. At this point the giant compost hill came into it's own, as each team ended their walk they planted their flag into the hill, by the end of the parade the hill was covered in flags from countries all over the world and it was a fantastic way to display them all. Once all the athletes were gathered in the center of the arena we were treated to Sir. Paul McCartney at the piano playing/singing Hey Jude. It was great, there were many shots of the athletes standing arm in arm swaying to the music and singing along, and Sir. Paul really seemed to be enjoying himself, it was a wonderful, warm, fuzzy, way to end the parade of athletes.

The lighting of the Olympic torches was spectacular as 200 lit torches all soared upwards to form the cauldron, it was an amazing spectacle.  Then came the fireworks, they were breathtakingly wonderful, truly a feat of design and implementation, AWESOME, AMAZING, and HUGELY ENJOYABLE.

So did I like the ceremonies or hate them? Overall I really enjoyed the show,  some of it was weird, even a tad incomprehensible, but for the most part it was a lot of fun and did not take itself too seriously, and I think it will be one of the most memorable openings for many years to come.



Rebecca said...

I think if I'd had a little of that homemade blueberry wine, I might have been able to find a tad bit more enjoyment out of the whole thing! :)

I DID enjoy the Chariots of Fire part...and wish I had not turned the TV off before Hey, Jude. That might have left me with a better perspective on the whole night.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad (as a Brit) that overall you enjoyed the show. I can see how some of it might have been confusing to non-Brits! Admittedly, some of it was very quirky!:)
The part that you first saw was a picture of how the industrial revolution really tore apart a lot of our 'green and pleasant land' and the drudgery people had to live through. Prior to that, there was a beautiful pastoral scene showing all the best of the English countryside.
The 'giant compost hill' was representative of Glastonbury Tor and the lady playing music with 'extreme concentration' was Dame Evelyn Glennie who is profoundly deaf and has to concentrate on the vibrations coming up through the floor and into her feet to be able to play. It's a shame you didn't have the BBC comentators because they explained the whole ceremony in great detail.
I hope the above helps explain some more of the opening ceremony to you.

Bean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bean said...

Thank you for the additional information, this certainly explains why the musician lady did looked so intense. I am glad to now know the relevance of the hill, (giant compost heap :))!
And although I would agree the industrial revolution certainly dramatically changed life for many we must never be deluded into thinking that it was all peaches and cream beforehand. We all live in the aftermath of the industrial revolution and because of it we have a standard of living our ancestors would never have dreamed of.
The NBC commentators were not particularly good, at times during the ceremony they seemed to be at a loss for words.
I would like to add that I was born and raised in England, born in Hearfodshire, raised in Suffolk and moved to the States with my family in 1978. I am seeing a lot of rebuttal to critical commentary about the opening ceremony being blamed on non-Brits not able to understand. To me this seems to be a quick way to brush of other opinions.
I am enjoying the Olympics being hosted in my home country. This opening ceremony is one that will talked about for a while. This is what is cool about the Olympics as each host country imbues their own spirit into the games.
As I said at the end of my post, overall I really enjoyed the show.
Blessings to you,


Emily said...

I saw a little bit of it and thought it was really weird, I only saw the part where the arctic monkeys were performing and the people had wings on and they were riding bikes, it thought it was weird.

this part wasn't aired on NBC so you probably didn't see it.