OK just woke up and rewatched some bits. Here's my uncollected thoughts on last night's ceremony:
- The best opening video montage ever, even better than London's eccentric journey through the Thames. The drone footage depicting various sports in different places in Rio is super cool accompanied by bossa nova music. The opening shot of the green sea, waves on the beach and then people running into the sea will be my lasting memory of the ceremony.
- The opening segment seems to miss the momentum by not having the countdown right from the start. It didn't have the impact of a proper countdown. Metallic foil cushion concept is pretty neat esp paying tribute to the paving design pattern in Rio/ Copacabana (?).
- Break away from protocol with early national anthem. Love the rendition and kids draped in flags a nice touch. One of the best national anthems ever. After Sydney perhaps.
- The microbes segment a bit arbitrary with some skeletal creature crawling around and ends abruptly.
- Indigenous segment is my favourite and up there amongst one of my fave scenes in all Olympic ceremonies. It is truly beautiful, mesmerising and hypnotic. Perfect use of simple props, music, light and for once the floor projection really serves the concept well. It has the grandeur and simplicity of Athens. Was really excited and moved by this segment.
- Arrival section could do with more performers and props. Obvious comparison is with Sydney's, though it's more restrained and underwhelmed by it. Poignant slavery scene with African's chained to weighted feet. Nice touch to Japanese population as they were the last to exit the field with some nice circular formation. This is also the segment when the floor projection began to overwhelm and overload.
- Parkour segment was interesting for like 5 seconds and then becomes tired.
- Can see the point of the Favela boxes stage when parkour dancers climb up and down the boxes with images of the apartment behinds. The boxes look bigger than I thought and I like the juxtaposition of the scale between boxes and human.
- Gisele was fabulous. A fitting tribute to the iconic song. Wished there's more performers on the field emulating life on Ipanama beach while Gisele walks through them. But perhaps it's this simplicity that works.
- Airplane sequence pretty cute. The shot when the plane took off was quite illusional, mainly because of the moving floor projection and the crowd lighting. For few seconds trying to figure out what's going on with the perspective. Had me there and another occasion where the floor projection works well. First and only time I can see it's actually a film director in charge of the ceremony with the beautiful out of stadium flight sequence though Rio's night scene. Quite dreamy.
- Samba dancing and singing section just lost me. Was truly bored of it.
- Was sceptical about the athletes parade at first of them not going around the stadium but went straight into the middle of the field. But after a while can see the point, was clever they trying to emulate Rio carnival street procession. Love the trikes, very cute. And why not with the seed planting at least it gives the athletes something to do.
- Olympic ring formation was simple yet effective. Wished the lower right ring was formed better, it didn't make a complete circle. A move away from the usual grand gesture with Olympic ring and it works still.
- Don't like the climate change segment. It really is a kill joy. Feels like a science lecture out of nowhere. Very doom and gloom. Understand the opportunity for huge audience but this feels very much like a propaganda. A misstep by the organiser.
- Horrible speech. The organising committee head's speech was so OTT and annoying. Bach's not much better. The whole thing just went down ever more with that Laurel presentation and speech. Dull as ditchwater.
- Arrival of flame shows so much promise again when it arrives outside the stadium along the concrete columns.
- Cauldron lighting is the most anti-climax in history. Horrible music, no cresendo, no buildup. Just a guy limping up the stair, holding the torch with both hands (is he ill or something?), and then lighting the most uninspiring looking (witch's) cauldron (bowl). What was that? The gimmicky sun contraption doesn't impress me. Felt they are trying to hard and justify it with being sustainable. It's just some flame for goodness sake, how much energy can you save compared to building stadiums etc. The worst cauldron in my opinion, up there with Atlanta. A giant disco ball. I know Brazillians love to party but do they have to take it so literally?
All in all, theres some good bits which shows promises but mainly underwhelmed by it. Didn't get the feel that it's a film director at helm. Perhaps I need to acknowledge that due to budget constraint its unfair to compare this with other past ceremonies. Perhaps its time we start to learn to accept this level of ceremonies if we are to welcome more developing countries to host the Games. Hence I think for a country whos going through a tough time with limited resources, Brazil indeed did a good job that presents to us a ceremony that's quite innovative at parts but more important full of soul and human spirit. This should be encouraged more and it's about time we drop the expectation of big spectacle ceremony and start to accept this new approach.