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.
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.
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.
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.
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…)
I felt similarly adrift during the music and media section – I did perk up at seeing Tim Berners-Lee, though.
The torch itself and the hillside of flags were both nicely done
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)
Captures from BBC iPlayer