Saturday, July 28, 2012

Revisiting the Opening Ceremonies

The 2012 Olympics got underway last night – we all gathered around the tube to watch the 4-hour spectacular until well past midnight.  I liked it a lot (even better on reruns when you could see a bit more of the detail in it): It was very quirky British fare,  good humored and self-important at the same time (juxtaposing The Tempest and Mr. Bean for a baffled worldwide audience).

The entire show can be seen on the BBC iPlayer and the Guardian has a good highlight reel.  Unfortunately they only work from within the UK so if you’re outside the country a proxy connection is cheap and worthwhile.

Okay, my favorite moments:2

The initial flyover / animation down the Thames from origin to park was a nice orientation to it all, followed by the bursting balloons countdown over the clusters of children waiting for the bang.

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Pastoral Britain was a bit Hobbit-like, until someone noted that it’s basically a duplicate of my base in Barrington – right down to the top hats and country skirts.  The emergence of the chimneys recalled the cement works outside of town, too.5

 

I really liked the industrial revolution sequence that led up to the forging of the rings: Very Tolkien.  The music, choreography, lighting was really the highlight of the opening ceremonies, apart from the athletes themselves.

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14 7

15Bond, Queen, Corgi’s was a nice smaller moment, and the helicopter was a calculated crowd-pleaser.  She really does need to smile, just a bit?

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I was lost during the tribute to the NHS: it didn’t feel like it paid tribute to the Service or the children, veering off into weird scariness.  And is Rowlings really the greatest living UK author (I know she won a magazine poll, but…)18

I felt similarly adrift during the music and media section – I did perk up at seeing Tim Berners-Lee, though.

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I’m a pushover for torch relay highlights, though, and the close with Beckham grinning maniacally at the helm of the speedboat was fun.  I hope it wasn’t CGI though.22 24

The Athletes Parade went on and on (and sometimes seemed to contain few athletes), but I enjoy the national uniforms, the tiny countries, and the enthusiasm of the participants. 25

The torch itself and the hillside of flags were both nicely done

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…and the butterflies and the final running off the torch were good caps for the ending.30 28

All in all, a nice evening start to finish, and, by the end, I could even understand the mysterious logo that has looked like some puzzle assembly of the London neighborhoods (squint and you’ll see the 2-0-1-2)

29  2012

olympic-mascots-london-2012Now if I could just figure out the mascots, nowhere seen during the ceremonies…

Captures from BBC iPlayer

2 comments:

LAURAAAAAA said...

It's your daughter. They mascot is supposed to represent a drop of steel because the British were so revolutionary with it or something like that.

David Hampton said...

'like I wouldn't know my beloved daughter :)

Supposedly it connects with the industrial revolution, also highlighted in the opening ceremonies, but I think you have to squint pretty hard to see it. Add to which, they didn't actually include the mascots in the opening ceremonies....oops.