One of my favourite parts of the whole thing is the opening ceremony. I never miss it. I still remember Sydney’s and Beijing’s ceremonies, and I couldn’t be more excited for this one. London 2012. This was supposed to be big. Beijing set the bar extremely high, and I wasn’t sure if London would come close. And you know what? They didn’t.
The ceremony started off beautifully with all the greenery, livestock and such. The ladies were looking all lovely in their poofy dresses, and the men looking smart with their top hats and whatnot. Everything was just so pleasant and happy. Cricket and maypoles, the whole bit. And then all of a sudden, the Industrial Revolution happened. I’m sorry is this supposed to be a good thing? Are we supposed to be happy about the Industrial Revolution? Don’t get me wrong, the transition was brilliantly done and the set was amazing for what it was. But I always thought of this as a dark time in the world’s history. I was disappointed. To me, it was all; "Look at what we destroyed with our machines and technology". Pause. I am not one of those people who completely rejects technology. I do realize that a lot of good came from the Industrial Revolution, but I also think that it made way for a lot of bad things in the future. I look at it as the beginning of the end.
Also, I was really disappointed that the rings didn’t change colour. But I’m just getting nitpicky.
James Bond and the Queen
I was waiting for Bond, but I wasn’t expecting the Queen to show up in the same bit as him. I am Canadian, but I am in no way shape or form a fan of the Queen. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing her in the show in any form, but I was actually really impressed and entertained by that little bit with her. From the group Brazilian children taking a tour of the palace, to the Churchill statue waving to Bond and finally “the Queen” jumping out of the helicopter. I thought it was fun and cute. I can’t complain.
GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital)
I don’t much about the history of this hospital, but from what I understand, it is very dear to the British people. Good times with J.K. Rowling. I was so impressed when all these different characters, from stories we all know, came into the show. The giant Voldemort… I can’t. It was too good. The old classics to the newer ones. It really opened my eyes to what Britain has given to the world in the form of children’s literature. And then I silently freaked out. Mary Poppins?!?! Are you kidding me right now? I was so happy to see all the Poppinses. (How do make Poppins plural?) Anywho, I just remember sitting with a big grin on my face wishing that I had a nanny. Mary Poppins to be specific. A definite highlight for me.
London Symphony Orchestra
Brilliant. I think we can all agree that this was one of the, if not the biggest highlight of the whole show. Everyone knows Mr. Bean. I don’t think I have ever in my life heard a bad thing about this character. It was the perfect choice for Boyle to put Rowan Atkinson in the show. I feel a little bad for the orchestra being overshadowed, but it would have been a little boring to just sit there for the duration of Chariots of Fire watching them play. It was a great way to put that piece in and keep people watching. (I also like that Mr. Bean has the same phone as me. ^_^) A+
The Family (TV) / Boy Meets Girl (Music)
I wasn’t too impressed with this part of the presentation. It went on for too long, but I lit up a little every time I saw a bit from a show I know. From Queen to Muse, the musical journey through the decades made me appreciate the music that has come out of Britain. I was actually kind of shocked that they would play Uprising by Muse, but very pleased at the same time. It’s such an epic song. And then the rapper. Who was that? And why? When I think British music, the last thing that would come to mind is rap or hip hop. Is this the direction they’re heading? Ah well.
Tim Berners-Lee typing away on the computer. All I can say is thank you. Not a single soul would be reading these words I’m typing if it weren’t for you. “This is For Everyone”
Abide with Me
Next to Mr. Bean, this next part is my favourite. The dance performance was great. The choreography was stunning, and I love that we got to just enjoy the dancers with a simple heartbeat drumming through the stadium for a good minute or two before the talented Emeli Sandé started to sing Abide with Me.
Parade of Nations
I’m amazed that I always manage to sit though the whole thing year after year. The outfits that the athletes were wearing seemed a little too conservative for my liking. There were some countries that wore traditional clothing, and I really appreciated that, because almost everyone else seemed to be wearing a blazer with a skirt or pair of pants. How boring is that? The designers don’t seem to have been very inspired this year.
The Arctic Monkeys were a pleasant surprise. Didn’t know they are an English band. Learn something new every day. The fact that they performed Come Together, the only Beatles song worth listening to in my opinion, was just great. I loved their performance, and the doves on bikes.
Then we have the Olympic flag entering the stadium followed by the speeches by Sebastian Coe and Jacques Rogge. Seeing Muhammad Ali there… Wow. Just wow. The greatest boxer of all time, right there. Emotional moment for me, and many I’m sure.
Lighting of the Olympic Cauldron
Can someone say “underwhelming”? By far, the biggest disappointment of the night. I was happy that Beckham was not going to light it. I can’t stand that smug look he has on his face all the time. Honestly though, I wanted to cry. It was the biggest flop I’ve seen when it comes to opening ceremonies. Beckham hands the flame to Steve Redgrave. Great. Redgrave hands it to a bunch of young athletes. Wonderful. And then, and then what? These seven youngsters light up seven of the pedals, and that’s it? That’s how you light the cauldron? The way the flame spread to all 202 pedals was beautiful, and all the nations symbolically join together. That’s all great. But the actual lighting of the cauldron? Awful, completely awful. And to top it off Paul McCartney goes on for what seems like forever. Somebody hold me.
Beijing set the standard way too high. No one's going to top what they pulled off four years ago. Still, I can't believe how awful the end of the show was. I complained about a lot of things in the show, but I also really appreciated most of it. The terrible unclimactic ending ruined the whole experience. All I can do now is hope to see Adele and Coldplay at the closing ceremony.
Overall, the show was good. Unfortunately, good isn't good enough when you're following something as epic as the Beijing opening ceremonies. And anyone who says that this was the best one ever, or that it was amazing or breathtaking, clearly wasn't tuned in four years ago.
How do you think it went?