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Underwhelmed By The Opening Ceremony


kevzz
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I was underwhelmed. A few good elements and some spectacular fireworks but things were overdone. The scroll concept resulted in a lack of the full space being used, even if the roof was used. The use of space was far from ideal.

and where is the bloody dragon?

some scenes were just dull or dead.

athens was better and sydney was better than athens. therefore sydney still holds the number 1 spot.

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I felt it was a 110% Chinese ceremony which incorporates all the stereotypical Chinese elements eg. thousands of dancers in formation. In this sense, they totally succeed in representing what the world thought about China. And yes it was great to see all these on a much grander scale. Maybe I was expecting something different, a different side of China to show the world, something that focus more on the simple, confucius aesthetic of peace. Maybe I kept having the image of the ceremony as a real life Zhang Yi Mou's House of Flying Dagger/ Heroes film which are truly beautiful and a side of Chinese arts we never seen before.

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The scroll concept resulted in a lack of the full space being used, even if the roof was used.

They used the whole stadium a lot more than Athens did. I loved the Athens Opening but Beijing made better use of space. Much of the Athens ceremony stuck to the track area for a parade through their history - the water scenes at the beginning of the 2004 show wasn't a lengthy segment.

In my opinion Beijing is the best I've seen - closely followed by Barcelona, Athens and Seoul.

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Something that was interesting though, and something which the BBC alluded to, the ceremony completely ignored the last hundred years of Chinese history - I know China has had some rough times over the 20th century but they are still supposedly 'communist' - Mao Zedong was not mentioned at all!

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There is no such thing as "best ever." It's a matter of preference.

I found this ceremony to be a long snooze. I think I was border with Athens ceremony tho.

Frankly I thought the lighting of the cauldron was the second best ever, following Barcelona. Imaginative, good choice of lighter - very impressive.

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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.

Hoe could he slow down? He was being dragged in the air along the roof :lol:

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You know what we've missed?

No tribute for the former cities at all.

All the lights for China!

I think the Ceremonies templates are morphing.

- Maybe the past cities got projected on the screen at some time or other? But once we get to the XXXVth or XXXX Games, it would really be a drag to be naming all the previous host cities.

- The whole dove thing has now been replaced by "dove" formations. After Beijing, that too is getting stale.

- And unless it was muffled by all the fireworks, but was there an "Ode to Joy" last night?

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I won't go so far as to say I was underwhelmed, the ceremony was an impressive achievement. I won't even say they were soulless and cold... perhaps a little contrived, but not soulless. It's not like I didn't believe those performers were thrilled to be there, I did... it's just their smiling and waving didn't seem like it was organic, rather it arrived on cue.

My main problem with Beijing's ceremony was that it focused so much on Chinese technological advancement, and not on its people. It's great that they gave us paper, movable type, etc but if you're going to devote a portion of your ceremony to those ideas, tell me WHY they are important and what impact they had on China and on its people. Now, with inventions that are used this widely, I understand it would be a challenge to demonstrate the impact paper had on the world because we all KNOW how important paper is. But, in the end, I just didn't feel a connection with any character or element of the ceremony other than it was nice to look at. It didn't hit me where I lived; it had no emotional impact for me. It was just... there.

But that said, when it was there, it was very, very nice to look at. :)

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The cauldron lighting did not seem to reach the level (no pun intended) that it hope to or could have. Surprising with such an unlimited budget it didn't achieve more impact.

How about if some sort of stiff metal spiral "scroll/fuse" was lowered from the cauldron to the arena floor, where the last torch bearer could ignite the flame that would travel up to meet and ignite the cauldron!

OR

The flame could be shot along a wire (like in the beginning of the ceremony) from the last torch bearer on the stadium floor to the rim where it could run around the entire opening rim of the stadium to the ignite the cauldron!

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Well after i saw the Opening Ceremony 2 times i will now (tada, tada...) express my opinion:

I have to say that i was negatively attuned before the Opening Cermony. So i tried to relax and to watch it with fun and open to what comes. And it was impressive. At least most of the segments of the artistic part. Did i like it? Well it didnt touch me. For me there was also no emotion there. It was extremely impressive, perfectly staged but with no emotion. And then i understood why. Because the intension of massperformances isnt to touch the soul but to impress the eye. And this was the intension of the organizing committee. I strongly believe that if Zhang Yimou could decide alone we would have seen a different Ceremony. Better i will quote Zhang Yimou's word (as he said in a interview on Olympic Magazine on Eurosport):

"The Opening Ceremony of Athens was a revolution of the aesthetic and the dramaturgy of Ceremonies. And it wold have been impossible to try to achieve the same. Chinas culture is the opposite of the hellenic. We dont have a connection to the Olympics as the Greeks do. No one has. So for me there will be pre and post-Athens Ceremonies."

What i thought was great was that Zhang Yimou achieved to bring an air of lightness in the normally very heavy and cold massperformances. If they only would have declined on the kitsch of tremendous Sarah Brightman... If you are making such a impressive ceremony then waive to things that dont fit. Little sweet children on the way to scool dont fit with 2008 soldiers presenting martial arts! It was very constrained.

And s the artistic part was ok for me, there was some other parts which miscarried. There was a break of 30 sec. directly after the fantastic countdown. This was totaly wrong! They should have gone on with the drummers prerformance.

Where was a welcome to the audience? I will never forget the lovely voice of the woman saying directly after the countdown "Citizens of the World welcome to Athens. Olympic Games welcome home"

Also i missed the ceremonial atmosphere of the "Walk of the Presidents". Of course it is impossible to create the same charming elegance which Gianna shines without her :P but the music didnt fit.

And if we are talking about music: the music of the Parade of the Athletes was terrible. This musical loop was awful. No energy, no fun.. Those are young people full of energy. The best athletes of the world and they are playing "la cucaracha"????

Where was a majestetic presentation of the entrance of the Athletes? After the bombastic massperformances i would have expected also an impressive entrance. Remembering the anticipation that the music in Athens created in combination with the anouncement "Ladies and Gentlement, the Athletes of the World" i was very disappointed by the unimaginative start. And at the end, Chinas entrance again with mexican backround music?

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And if we are talking about music: the music of the Parade of the Athletes was terrible. This musical loop was awful.

I completely agree.

I read somewhere that their loop was music from all five continents (similar to Sydney, who played "A La Volante du Peuple" for France, American patriotic music for the USA, etc.), but I really only heard Mexican mariachis and some Irish or Scottish tune played more than once or twice. SO BIZZARE. Especially when China came in.

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Well after i saw the Opening Ceremony 2 times i will now (tada, tada...) express my opinion:

I have to say that i was negatively attuned before the Opening Cermony. So i tried to relax and to watch it with fun and open to what comes. And it was impressive. At least most of the segments of the artistic part. Did i like it? Well it didnt touch me. For me there was also no emotion there. It was extremely impressive, perfectly staged but with no emotion. And then i understood why. Because the intension of massperformances isnt to touch the soul but to impress the eye. And this was the intension of the organizing committee. I strongly believe that if Zhang Yimou could decide alone we would have seen a different Ceremony. Better i will quote Zhang Yimou's word (as he said in a interview on Olympic Magazine on Eurosport):

"The Opening Ceremony of Athens was a revolution of the aesthetic and the dramaturgy of Ceremonies. And it wold have been impossible to try to achieve the same. Chinas culture is the opposite of the hellenic. We dont have a connection to the Olympics as the Greeks do. No one has. So for me there will be pre and post-Athens Ceremonies."

What i thought was great was that Zhang Yimou achieved to bring an air of lightness in the normally very heavy and cold massperformances. If they only would have declined on the kitsch of tremendous Sarah Brightman... If you are making such a impressive ceremony then waive to things that dont fit. Little sweet children on the way to scool dont fit with 2008 soldiers presenting martial arts! It was very constrained.

And s the artistic part was ok for me, there was some other parts which miscarried. There was a break of 30 sec. directly after the fantastic countdown. This was totaly wrong! They should have gone on with the drummers prerformance.

Where was a welcome to the audience? I will never forget the lovely voice of the woman saying directly after the countdown "Citizens of the World welcome to Athens. Olympic Games welcome home"

Also i missed the ceremonial atmosphere of the "Walk of the Presidents". Of course it is impossible to create the same charming elegance which Gianna shines without her :P but the music didnt fit.

And if we are talking about music: the music of the Parade of the Athletes was terrible. This musical loop was awful. No energy, no fun.. Those are young people full of energy. The best athletes of the world and they are playing "la cucaracha"????

Where was a majestetic presentation of the entrance of the Athletes? After the bombastic massperformances i would have expected also an impressive entrance. Remembering the anticipation that the music in Athens created in combination with the anouncement "Ladies and Gentlement, the Athletes of the World" i was very disappointed by the unimaginative start. And at the end, Chinas entrance again with mexican backround music?

Now that you quoted Zhang on the Athens precedent, I'm glad that he acknowledged that Athens brought a different kind of aesthetic to an opening ceremony. Zhang was wise not to imitate what Athens did. But I reallly trusted him to bring his own style of aesthetic to the ceremony too. I dont know if his creative freedom is limited by what the central govt want to be presented. I somehow felt he has to compromised a lot. This is certainly not his best work, and I believe he can do so much better. Just look at his films!!! It was an out-of-this-world aesthetic and elegance that is the culminance of the most advanced humanity.

Yes I remembered the lady commentator voice in the Athens ceremony too! She has a great warm voice, sounds very epic-type.

But after watching it the second time, I realized there's some part I kind of like now. The drummers countdown is still my favourite with the thunderous noise, the Olympic ring peeling off the ground like some magic light, and somehow I think the fluorescent green men are quite elegant when they are illuminated looking from far (esp when the fade out when exiting the field, the silhoutte of tiny human body of light flickering out is quite ingenious). The dancing/ drawing on scroll is brilliant too and wished they continue with performances like this more.

And I still dont like the man singing in T-shirt and the cauldron ceremony. :(

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I completely agree.

I read somewhere that their loop was music from all five continents (similar to Sydney, who played "A La Volante du Peuple" for France, American patriotic music for the USA, etc.), but I really only heard Mexican mariachis and some Irish or Scottish tune played more than once or twice. SO BIZZARE. Especially when China came in.

I believe the music when China came in is actually a Chinese music with chinese instrument. It just sounds like Mexicans.

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