London kicked off the 2012 Olympics with an elaborate opening ceremony that told the story of the history of the host nation. Danny Boyle directed the ode to England that seemed to be met with mixed reviews. Personally, I liked it. Simply put, England did their own thing that had a special meaning to the people of the country. I know some expected something more extravagant, but I thought London played it smart considering we are in a global recession.
Overall, the ceremony was a superbly well choreographed history lesson with lots of moving parts, guest stars, funny moments, and great music. The history of England was well done. The forging of the Olympic rings was very cool. All the moving people to essentially change sets were superb. That takes a lot of timing and coordination to work as smoothly as it did.
I enjoyed the Rowan Atkinson skit as part of the London Symphony Orchestra as they performed Chariots of Fire. Atkinson played a repeated single note on a synthesizer. He began to daydream the iconic running sequence from the movie. He won the race by using a car and tripping runners. He awoke from the dream having missed his big finish. The James Bond skit with Queen Elizabeth II was also funny and well received. I also enjoyed the whole Frankie and June say thanks Tim skit. It was surrounded by a great history of British music. I’d have chosen a few other songs to add in there, but that’s just me.
I always enjoy the parade of athletes. I am extremely intrigued to see which countries sent athletes, how many athletes they sent, and their total population. For some athletes, that is their big moment and it is nice to see the pride and excitement on their faces. It is also interesting to see who the flag bearer is for each country as they tend to be either one of the country’s best athletes or have an interesting story as to why they are carrying in the flag. The outfits are always interesting to see as well as they help show a bit of the cultural background of the country.
The imagery of the doves was pretty cool. They rode bikes, an ode to the history England has with biking. The one that flew to the top of the stadium gave a very cool visual. Speaking of visuals, it was pretty cool to see all of the athletes from the parade of athletes in the center of the stadium. The flag setup on Glastonbury Tor was very cool as well. It was nice to see Muhammad Ali as a part of the Olympic flag ceremony.
I was not a big fan of the Olympic torch lighting. It was a nice nod to the future of Great Britain sport, but I would have preferred to see a parade of accomplished athletes get a chance to shine in the spotlight one last time. The fireworks that followed were amazing. If they looked that good on television, I can only imagine how awesome they looked in person. Amazing. I am glad they had Paul McCartney sing Hey Jude. It was nice to see how many of the athletes really enjoyed singing and dancing along.
Overall, I thought it was a great opening ceremony. Let the games begin!