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Underwhelmed By The Opening Ceremony


kevzz
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Frankly, I was expecting a lot from the Beijing's opening ceremony, and the more you expect the greater disappointment you will get.

Perhaps it's the impression that Zhang Yi Mou; with his tasteful elegance and timeless aesthetic of his films will be translated into a live event with cinematic quality. And it didn't.

The countdown started with full excitement and grandiosity, but quickly dragged on to become a dull segment of thousand drummers. The very first rhythm is lost and there never seemed to be a high point of the performance (except for the cauldron).

It all looks like a military parade with absolute precision. Individual qualities of its people are cast aside and each of them is made to perform like a machine. Intricate and gorgeous costume lost its uniqueness and appeal when 2,008 performers are all identical. No doubt the precision of the formation is admirable, but it took away the soul of the human performer behind it. It is breathtaking and grand yet suffocatingly controlled.

The floor/ roof video technology is impressively advanced, but they were overused to tell the story/ filled with images that at some points they became distracting and patronising at times for trying to explain too much.

The cauldron lighting is unexpected of course, but felt a bit too similar to Atlanta's. The cauldron lighter seems uncomfortably-hanged and is swallowed by the scale of the video and structure. The running is too long which culminates in an underwhelmed way of lighting the cauldron through a roughly made gutter.

But praise must be given to the Chinese for putting together such a well choreographed and disciplined performance. But I was expecting a ceremony which move away from the cliche China and presenting to the world a country is more advanced than we thought. In the end, they want the world to know that one world means one China.

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Frankly, I was expecting a lot from the Beijing's opening ceremony, and the more you expect the greater disappointment you will get.

Perhaps it's the impression that Zhang Yi Mou; with his tasteful elegance and timeless aesthetic of his films will be translated into a live event with cinematic quality. And it didn't.

The countdown started with full excitement and grandiosity, but quickly dragged on to become a dull segment of thousand drummers. The very first rhythm is lost and there never seemed to be a high point of the performance (except for the cauldron).

It all looks like a military parade with absolute precision. Individual qualities of its people are cast aside and each of them is made to perform like a machine. Intricate and gorgeous costume lost its uniqueness and appeal when 2,008 performers are all identical. No doubt the precision of the formation is admirable, but it took away the soul of the human performer behind it. It is breathtaking and grand yet suffocatingly controlled.

The floor/ roof video technology is impressively advanced, but they were overused to tell the story/ filled with images that at some points they became distracting and patronising at times for trying to explain too much.

The cauldron lighting is unexpected of course, but felt a bit too similar to Atlanta's. The cauldron lighter seems uncomfortably-hanged and is swallowed by the scale of the video and structure. The running is too long which culminates in an underwhelmed way of lighting the cauldron through a roughly made gutter.

But praise must be given to the Chinese for putting together such a well choreographed and disciplined performance. But I was expecting a ceremony which move away from the cliche China and presenting to the world a country is more advanced than we thought. In the end, they want the world to know that one world means one China.

We must have been watching different ceremonies, because I thought it was a triumph. The 'scroll & picture' narrative was wonderfully imaginative and very symbolic. Furthermore, the ceremony was that much better for not being just like a conventional Olympic ceremony. It was refreshing not to see a segment on the birth of the Games or Athenian culture. We've been there and done that at every ceremony already. This made a refreshing change.

Instead the Chinese offered us a slice of their past, present and future (albeit selective and santised). They stayed true to themselves and the theme, and for me, everything flowed perfectly. Indeed it didn't feel anyway as near as segmented or as confused as other ceremonies I've watched.

The lighting of the Torch was stunning. It was original, innovative and visually effective, and it wasn't a 'cauldron' on top of the stadium, but a Torch.

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the global contention is that the ceremony was the best yet. Indeed those were the words of ITV news in the UK.

If you ask me, London will do very well to even get close to what Beijing presented to the world.

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We must have been watching different ceremonies, because I thought it was a triumph. The 'scroll & picture' narrative was wonderfully imaginative and very symbolic. Furthermore, the ceremony was that much better for not being just like a conventional Olympic ceremony. It was refreshing not to see a segment on the birth of the Games or Athenian culture. We've been there and done that at every ceremony already. This made a refreshing change.

Instead the Chinese offered us a slice of their past, present and future (albeit selective and santised). They stayed true to themselves and the theme, and for me, everything flowed perfectly. Indeed it didn't feel anyway as near as segmented or as confused as other ceremonies I've watched.

The lighting of the Torch was stunning. It was original, innovative and visually effective, and it wasn't a 'cauldron' on top of the stadium, but a Torch.

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the global contention is that the ceremony was the best yet. Indeed those were the words of ITV news in the UK.

If you ask me, London will do very well to even get close to what Beijing presented to the world.

Yes it was good the whole show is very 'Chinese' and no reference to the Athens past. But to me, the whole show doesnt celebrate the Olympics as an event that binds people together. It is purely a propaganda tool to showcase the Chinese culture and history. They forgot to create a joyful, happy atmosphere for the athletes. It all felt very cold and soul-less to me.

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It is purely a propaganda tool to showcase the Chinese culture and history. They forgot to create a joyful, happy atmosphere for the athletes. It all felt very cold and soul-less to me.

agree...a little disapointed.

Maybe closing ceremony.

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I really wished I can say I like Beijings ceremony. But Athens' still is the best to me, where it was a truly magical, inspiring and generous ceremony, dedicating it's theme to humanity. The beauty lies in its simplicity which manages to touch so many hearts. It shows how we have evolved as a species, and how ceremonies like this can be conducted in a more humane scale. To me, it changed my perception of how an opening ceremony could be done. And Beijing seemed to take us back to the '80s era style of ceremony, just more lavish and high-tech.

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They forgot to create a joyful, happy atmosphere for the athletes. It all felt very cold and soul-less to me.

That's what I thought of the Athens show.

Now re keeping true to a 'Chinese' vision. Well, Chinese civilization I believe is older, AND continuing than -- and I know some people will start hyperventilating at the thought of this... than Greek culture.

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The beauty lies in its simplicity which manages to touch so many hearts. It shows how we have evolved as a species, and how ceremonies like this can be conducted in a more humane scale. To me, it changed my perception of how an opening ceremony could be done.

Uhmmm, yeah. But it really wasn't "Large Stadium" spectacle.

And Beijing seemed to take us back to the '80s era style of ceremony, just more lavish and high-tech.

Of course, if I'm paying $500.00 - US$1,000 a ticket, I want to see my 3,000 dancing ladies, 4,000 lords a-leaping, 5,000 pipers pipng ... and a cauldron in a BIrds Nest -- not some hokey "DNA" light-&-holograph show developed in a lab.

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I really wished I can say I like Beijings ceremony. But Athens' still is the best to me, where it was a truly magical, inspiring and generous ceremony, dedicating it's theme to humanity. The beauty lies in its simplicity which manages to touch so many hearts. It shows how we have evolved as a species, and how ceremonies like this can be conducted in a more humane scale. To me, it changed my perception of how an opening ceremony could be done. And Beijing seemed to take us back to the '80s era style of ceremony, just more lavish and high-tech.

I have to say that Athens Opening Ceremony was perfect on TV . But many people in the stadium felt boring.

Beijing want to make a ceremony for both stadium audience and TV audience.

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Oh and I must say well done to those cheerleader girls during the nation parade!!

They had been dancing clapping for 2 hours non stop. They deserve some medal for their effort!

:) Those kids will be absolutly knackered this morning!

Still I have to admit that it was a good effort by China, but I feel that these ceremonies are fast becomming more nationalistic as time goes on. The last ceremony of this type was in Sydney2000, just too over the top!

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Perhaps it looked overacted? In particular:

- the girl singing the national anthem

- the grand piano players

- that guy singing with Brightman

- the dancing cheerleaders with the horrible uniforms

In contrast, I thought those post-performance shots of the giddy drummers and box-men put in that much-needed 'soul', albeit inadequate.

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Perhaps it looked overacted? In particular:

- the girl singing the national anthem

- the grand piano players

- that guy singing with Brightman

- the dancing cheerleaders with the horrible uniforms

In contrast, I thought those post-performance shots of the giddy drummers and box-men put in that much-needed 'soul', albeit inadequate.

Beijing organizers probably forced performers to rehearse 10x more than what previous host cities have rehearsed. The Chinese really believe in "practice makes perfect". You can't blaim the performers if it looks 'overacted'.

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Ok, i'll leave my toughts about the opening ceremony. So please, i hope Athens 2004 fangirls dont get angry with me (dont get me wrong, i still think Athens 2004 OC was an outstanding show, but the past is the past, lets focus on the present)

COUNTDOWN

Something you dont see every day. That futuristic countdown with the neon glowing drums was. Altough it became somwhat repetitive and dull at the end. The idea of the footprint fireworks which ''walked'' to the stadium was pretty interesting.

The matrix olympic rings are indeed the response to Athens 2004 fire olympic rings. The effect was very well done 8D

CHINESE ANTHEM

The OC had to contain a little propagandistic segment, considering we're talking of a commie country. The ''Praise a song to the Motherland'' was really emotive (even better than the national anthem), altough this song was composed conmemorating the foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949 when Mao Zedong said ''From now on, the chinese people will stand tall''. The anthem was average, but nice.

PERFORMANCES

Well, the scroll theme was a good idea. They connected each segment very well and it seemed as a chinese way to tell us their history. Dont get dissapointed if they dont showed all the chinese history, is VERY VERY HARD to condense all of that on one hour, specially if we include the modern China part.

The way the performers moved above the scroll and painted it was too much Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon to me (in other words, AWESOME 8D). The Confucious disciples costumes (i think that was their name) were very detailed. The raising blocks was a very futuristic and well coordinated part, like a giant keyboard. Altough i wasnt much convinced on the way they tried to represent the chinese wall there, i think much of the people didn't get that part. Anyway, for people who trained for 10 months on doing this segment, they did a good job

The chinese opera segment was very beautiful, i dont have much objections on this segment, i loved the way the pillars rised. The Maritime Silk Route was nice too, altough it didnt' impressed me that much :P

Lang Lang and the little girl at the Piano was somewhat moving. The star dressed performers formed the well know dove of peace (it reminded me a little of Torino 2006 closing D8 ). For a moment i tought that kids receiving lessons was a hidden propagandistic segment, but i was wrong (they painted the smiling sun and mountains on the canvas).

Last but not least. Sarah Brigthman and Liu Huan...what a way to close the show. The smilies fireworks were emotive as funny at the same time xD

PARADE OF NATIONS

Ok...the ONLY thing i liked of the parade of nations was the usage (again) of the chinese roll, when people walked above it, leaving their footprints and completing the image 8D. The placard girls were very elegant altough the placards were crap, but anyway, almost nobody cares of this little detail.

The parade of athletes music was AWFUL. Seriously, the same musics over and over (bagpipes and mariachis, WTF?? O_o)

OLYMPIC FLAG / ANTHEM

The anthem was nice, altough i was surprised that those chinese kids learned to sing it on greek, which made it somewhat amazing. For a moment i reminded me of Athens 2004 anthem when it was performed by that orpheus choir, ala Montreal 76.

FIRST SE

LIGHTING OF THE CAULDRON

Ok, the entrance was boring and for a moment i tought i would not see something awesome on the torch segment. I was wrong. The way how Ni Li (thats his name right O__O?) flied on the skies and walked through the Bird Nest roof (while the giant scroll with images of the global relay were shown) was trully outstanding and moving. The cauldron looked the best way possible, considering the difficult structure of the Bird nest (the cauldron seemed to be a part of the same stadum, continuing with the scroll theme). Better than Athens 2004, but still doesnt beat Sydney and Barcelona, i would put Beijing 2008 cauldron as my third favorite of all time.

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Ok, i'll leave my toughts about the opening ceremony. So please, i hope Athens 2004 fangirls dont get angry with me (dont get me wrong, i still think Athens 2004 OC was an outstanding show, but the past is the past, lets focus on the present)

COUNTDOWN

Something you dont see every day. That futuristic countdown with the neon glowing drums was. Altough it became somwhat repetitive and dull at the end. The idea of the footprint fireworks which ''walked'' to the stadium was pretty interesting.

The matrix olympic rings are indeed the response to Athens 2004 fire olympic rings. The effect was very well done 8D

CHINESE ANTHEM

The OC had to contain a little propagandistic segment, considering we're talking of a commie country. The ''Praise a song to the Motherland'' was really emotive (even better than the national anthem), altough this song was composed conmemorating the foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949 when Mao Zedong said ''From now on, the chinese people will stand tall''. The anthem was average, but nice.

PERFORMANCES

Well, the scroll theme was a good idea. They connected each segment very well and it seemed as a chinese way to tell us their history. Dont get dissapointed if they dont showed all the chinese history, is VERY VERY HARD to condense all of that on one hour, specially if we include the modern China part.

The way the performers moved above the scroll and painted it was too much Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon to me (in other words, AWESOME 8D). The Confucious disciples costumes (i think that was their name) were very detailed. The raising blocks was a very futuristic and well coordinated part, like a giant keyboard. Altough i wasnt much convinced on the way they tried to represent the chinese wall there, i think much of the people didn't get that part. Anyway, for people who trained for 10 months on doing this segment, they did a good job

The chinese opera segment was very beautiful, i dont have much objections on this segment, i loved the way the pillars rised. The Maritime Silk Route was nice too, altough it didnt' impressed me that much :P

Lang Lang and the little girl at the Piano was somewhat moving. The star dressed performers formed the well know dove of peace (it reminded me a little of Torino 2006 closing D8 ). For a moment i tought that kids receiving lessons was a hidden propagandistic segment, but i was wrong (they painted the smiling sun and mountains on the canvas).

Last but not least. Sarah Brigthman and Liu Huan...what a way to close the show. The smilies fireworks were emotive as funny at the same time xD

PARADE OF NATIONS

Ok...the ONLY thing i liked of the parade of nations was the usage (again) of the chinese roll, when people walked above it, leaving their footprints and completing the image 8D. The placard girls were very elegant altough the placards were crap, but anyway, almost nobody cares of this little detail.

The parade of athletes music was AWFUL. Seriously, the same musics over and over (bagpipes and mariachis, WTF?? O_o)

OLYMPIC FLAG / ANTHEM

The anthem was nice, altough i was surprised that those chinese kids learned to sing it on greek, which made it somewhat amazing. For a moment i reminded me of Athens 2004 anthem when it was performed by that orpheus choir, ala Montreal 76.

FIRST SE

LIGHTING OF THE CAULDRON

Ok, the entrance was boring and for a moment i tought i would not see something awesome on the torch segment. I was wrong. The way how Ni Li (thats his name right O__O?) flied on the skies and walked through the Bird Nest roof (while the giant scroll with images of the global relay were shown) was trully outstanding and moving. The cauldron looked the best way possible, considering the difficult structure of the Bird nest (the cauldron seemed to be a part of the same stadum, continuing with the scroll theme). Better than Athens 2004, but still doesnt beat Sydney and Barcelona, i would put Beijing 2008 cauldron as my third favorite of all time.

Yes I agree. I don't think you'll ever see anything as simple and as effective as lighting of the cauldron in Barcelona. Genius. Also an extremely cheap option. Just goes to show that it doesn't have to be all bells and whistles either. My favourites are:

1_Barcleona 1992

2_Beijing 2008

3_Sydney 2000

4_Athens 2004

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Interesting to read the verdicts here. The title of the thread really sums up just about what I expected _ huge, spectacular, but with no soul.

In the end, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The artistic setpieces were brilliantly staged, vividly and beautifully colorful, and with an intriguing and in itself impressively presented linking theme in the scroll. And the painting, which no doubt will be "finished" and presented at the closing, is a lovely touch. It really presented a great image and impression of the host, which is what these ceremonies after all are meant to do, and mixed the technological tricks with the human well. Definitely state-of-the-art now for projection preentations. In the artistic segment, unlike some others here it seems, I really did feel a warmth and joy and pride that to me didn't come out in Athens' beautiful, but to my mind too clinical and trying too hard to be philosophic and arty ceremony.

The only points that really jarred where whenever the kids got involved. They seemed to contrived at best, like the kite flyer (the latest "Nikki Webster" incarnation), and at worst, in the case of the anthem, looked and felt like a classic Mao-era propganda poster.

Actually, where it did start to leave me cold was when the artistic stuff finished and the traditonal stuff began. I remembered how boring the March of Nations gets when you've already seen a handful before, but forgot how the rest dragged as well. Maybe it was the use of a language where I didn't understand or have some feel for the nuances or tone, but the speeches, oathes, flag raising etc just went on so excruciatingly long. The protocol stuff just dragged!

And the Cauldron lighting? I suppose that's where I do agre with the initial thread title's contention _ it looked great, and left a great everlasting image in the flying runer. But in the end that part didn't move me, it DID seem to me contrived. I'm probably biased a bit, but to me Sydney's is still the pace-setter in mixture of wow factor and emotion.

Overall, though, I'd say the ceremony reached its goal of being the "Best Ever" yet. Barcelona's probably remains my favourite in terms of immediate impact at the time, but I suspect it would look abit lame now if I watched it again. Beijing has surely set the new benchmark.

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Actually, where it did start to leave me cold was when the artistic stuff finished and the traditonal stuff began. I remembered how boring the March of Nations gets when you've already seen a handful before, but forgot how the rest dragged as well. Maybe it was the use of a language where I didn't understand or have some feel for the nuances or tone, but the speeches, oathes, flag raising etc just went on so excruciatingly long. The protocol stuff just dragged!

Yep, it's the Parade of Athletes which took too long, not the official stuff, had there been proper planning and estimation, heck even making the athletes march properly might have helped, then the parade could have easily been shaved off 30 mins to an hour.

And the Cauldron lighting? I suppose that's where I do agre with the initial thread title's contention _ it looked great, and left a great everlasting image in the flying runer. But in the end that part didn't move me, it DID seem to me contrived. I'm probably biased a bit, but to me Sydney's is still the pace-setter in mixture of wow factor and emotion.

I thought the cauldron lighting was great, though the athlete running a tad faster than the moving "scroll", may have put things outta pace, had he been wearing one of them headphones connected to a radio device like them performers, no doubt that he'd be getting commands barked at him to slow a little down. The actual lighting was impressive.

Yep best ever (if you discount the long parade), somewhat glad they didn't go to the obvious, such as a huge mosaic display, or mass and I mean mass dancers. No doubt we'll see this in a Pyongyang 2030's or what not Olympics Ceremony with Kim Jong Ill's successor to open the games. :P (50,000 mosiac mural, 100,000 performers, more precision than Beijing, though it has mostly been seen before)

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To me, the best part of the ceremony are the countdown (which starts spectacularly and dragged far too long), the ingenious idea of human painting (could do with less distraction of the surrounding floor video), and the recital of confucius's poem (it felt majestic reminding me of the ancient chinese palace with servants calling out commands when the emperors arrive). That's the closest cinematic expectation I found in the ceremony.

Worst part of the show is the ultra-cliche spaceman (that looks so 70s, and patronising, do they really assume the world still think 'spaceman' represents the future??) and the green man in generic fluorescent suit filled with bulbs which is very meaningless.

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To me, the best part of the ceremony are the countdown (which starts spectacularly and dragged far too long), the ingenious idea of human painting (could do with less distraction of the surrounding floor video), and the recital of confucius's poem (it felt majestic reminding me of the ancient chinese palace with servants calling out commands when the emperors arrive). That's the closest cinematic experience I found in the ceremony.

Worst part of the show is the ultra-cliche spaceman (that looks so 70s, and patronising, do they really assume the world still think 'spaceman' represents the future??) and the green man in generic fluorescent suit filled with bulbs which is very meaningless.

Oh not to mention the male singer wearing a bloody T-SHIRT singing the Olympic theme song next to a well-dressed Sarah Brightman. God, the very least he can do is tuck in his shirt with a nice belt!!!

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I'm completely unable to understand all of this needless hot air bit-by-bit criticism. Everything was AMAZING. Period. Just because you may not understand the cultural significance doesn't make them 'bad' and 'underwhelming'. How is thousands of people in sync doing amazing things uninspired and mechanic? It's not like they had guns! Of course, people have their own tastes, but tastes aside, it's immature to say that Beijing was anything but the best OC in our lifetime so far with the amount of effort in the performance and the production's whole effects (and if you're really a loyal fan of any past OC you could at least say it was a TIE.) :) I strongly suggest not being overtly argumentative for the sake of appearing smart and insightful. ;)

If anything is to be debated about the OC it is the segment structure. It seemed like the torch came in rather fast and unannounced. Or maybe it was just me waiting patiently for Bjork to come back. LOL.

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