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Opening Ceremony


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  • 3 weeks later...

Just wanted to share with readers here one significant description of a British author, historian and journalist about the recent 2012 Closing, in private correspondence I had with him:

I think that the ceremonial is very important and got the distinct feeling that particularly at the London Closing it was almost thrown out with the bath water.

My correspondent here is the author of a book on the Olympic flame--and is my fellow guest interviewee on a speculative film project about the same subject.

P.S. Whoops; I meant to post this in the "Closing Ceremony" thread; but no matter, no big deal.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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I'm sure that also regular TV watchers noticed the "continuity problem". And don't forget that there's a whole bunch of people out there looking for any goofs in movies.

I almost wonder if the Queen requested such breaks in continuity. I can imagine a situation where she might say, "Ok, I'll play along, but we've got to make absolutely certain that there's no chance anyone believes its actually me jumping out of a helicopter." Obviously I don't know. It's just an idea.

The whole stunt required a certain suspension of disbelief. Personally, I didn't have a problem with that.

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I almost wonder if the Queen requested such breaks in continuity. I can imagine a situation where she might say, "Ok, I'll play along, but we've got to make absolutely certain that there's no chance anyone believes its actually me jumping out of a helicopter." Obviously I don't know. It's just an idea.

The whole stunt required a certain suspension of disbelief. Personally, I didn't have a problem with that.

Lol...I doubt there was anyone watching this sequence who seriously thought the 86 year-old monarch actually donned a parachute and leapt from a helicopter right down into the Olympic Stadium and I doubt said monarch seriously thought anyone would believe she did either!! :P

Edited by Mainad
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Lol...I doubt there was anyone watching this sequence who seriously thought the 86 year-old monarch actually donned a parachute and leapt from a helicopter right down into the Olympic Stadium and I doubt said monarch seriously thought anyone would believe she did either!! :P

Right. Of course. I'm just saying that I can imagine a scenario where she requested that the sequence be frankly fake. In that context, the continuity problems that others have complained about are basically irrelevant. The purpose of continuity in film is to preserve the suspension of disbelief. In this case it just didn't matter.

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Right. Of course. I'm just saying that I can imagine a scenario where she requested that the sequence be frankly fake. In that context, the continuity problems that others have complained about are basically irrelevant. The purpose of continuity in film is to preserve the suspension of disbelief. In this case it just didn't matter.

To you it didn't matter, to me it did. I think that the continuity error made it more obvious than necessary that the scene was fake.

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To you it didn't matter, to me it did. I think that the continuity error made it more obvious than necessary that the scene was fake.

As Mainad said, no one was ever going to believe it was real. And as I sai,d I think it's possible that Buckingham Palace requested a frankly fake approach.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If anyone is interested, this is a link to the first of several videos I filmed and posted whilst at the Opening Ceremony.

This one shows the Pandemonium section of the Ceremony at the point at which the rings come together.

Edited by mjb22
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Seriously amazing footage. The segment really lives up to its name. I just wish (from a television viewers perspective) that the Ceremony maintained that spark. Overall the London Opening Ceremony isn't my favourite - but I have to say Pandemonium has got to be one of the best segments ever in the history of stadium theatre.

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It was a very special experience because during the segment, they pumped cordite into the Stadium as well, so the whole thing smelled like an industrial manufacturing area.

Apparently - although I couldn't see it and the TV directors choose not to show it - there were things taking place underground as well. Seams of coal being dug by miners, apparently. It is shown in the DVD release of the Ceremony.

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Apparently - although I couldn't see it and the TV directors choose not to show it - there were things taking place underground as well. Seams of coal being dug by miners, apparently. It is shown in the DVD release of the Ceremony.

Gosh, that must have been one of the worst ceremonial jobs ever. How depressing must it be to do your act and no one (not even the audience in the stadium) actually sees it? And what sense does it make to include such an act when one doesn't even want to show it?

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Gosh, that must have been one of the worst ceremonial jobs ever. How depressing must it be to do your act and no one (not even the audience in the stadium) actually sees it? And what sense does it make to include such an act when one doesn't even want to show it?

Obviously some people in the audience could see it as a segment of the ground was cut away.

I think it's quite well-known that Danny Boyle had some pre-transmission spats with the OBS directors. He more or less says on the DVD that the underground shots were the subject of some of the disputes.

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I'm not doubting you, but I have to wonder why they would bother staging underground sequences that weren't visible to live spectators and weren't broadcast on tv either.

Exactly; and most of the stage was already taken up hiding the cauldron, those smokestacks and other props. So I don't see where they would've included 'underground sequences' and why they even bothered with them? Or was this another amateurish trick of Danny Boyle?

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  • 4 weeks later...

My understanding is that "Miners" were simply a class of worker-performer in the Industrial sequence of the 2012 Opening, doing heavier work than the basic "Working Men and Women". The "underground" moment added for the BBC DVD showed part of the below-stage assembly of a flywheel for one of the big "steam engines" which were shown working before the flying rings became the focus of attention.

All of which is by way of an introduction to my very rambling notes on the London 2012 Opening, which I've now put on Google Docs as a strange Christmas treat:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dXvJuyEA5myAFbprXnUdYbu4r8jthsUCN54IChkgxdA/edit

Season's Greetings!

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My understanding is that "Miners" were simply a class of worker-performer in the Industrial sequence of the 2012 Opening, doing heavier work than the basic "Working Men and Women". The "underground" moment added for the BBC DVD showed part of the below-stage assembly of a flywheel for one of the big "steam engines" which were shown working before the flying rings became the focus of attention.

All of which is by way of an introduction to my very rambling notes on the London 2012 Opening, which I've now put on Google Docs as a strange Christmas treat:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dXvJuyEA5myAFbprXnUdYbu4r8jthsUCN54IChkgxdA/edit

Season's Greetings!

Hello, Mark. Welcome to GamesBids.

Had a sneak at your attachment. A lot of interesting stuff but very difficult to follow since it seems to be all over the place.

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:mellow: I think what threw alot of people was it (the industrial squences) was piling soooo much history into so short of time. It just looked messy and thats where I tuned out.

Made for an average Opening Ceremony saved by the Games themselves and the outstanding Closing Ceremony.

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:mellow: I think what threw alot of people was it (the industrial squences) was piling soooo much history into so short of time. It just looked messy and thats where I tuned out.

Made for an average Opening Ceremony saved by the Games themselves and the outstanding Closing Ceremony.

My sentiments exactly. To which I would add that the Opening was very ambitious -- but unfortunately fell flat in a few places (the texting sequence) -- and the mixing of Tempest/Prospero and Isambard didn't exactly catch fire. But overall, a grand British Games.

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I must say, though, that the industrial segment (or "Pandemonium", as it was officially called) was stunning. Yes, it was maybe slightly too packed with historical references and I suppose that for the stadium audience it could have been a bit tiresome how long it took until all the grass was removed on the stage (while we TV viewers were distracted by the different detail shots of the action on and around the stage), but the overall execution was excellent, the imagery was very strong and it was all topped by those amazing glowing and "burning" Olympic Rings in the air. In my opinion, it was one of the best segments in an Olympic ceremony (opening or closing) ever.

I agree, though, that quite a lot of the other segments weren't able to match the impression the Pandemonium segment left. They were done in a mostly charming and entertaining way, yes; and there were wonderful, funny and clever surprises like Mr. Bean's performance and the famous parachute jump by the "Queen". It was a creative ceremony - but it goofed up a bit too often to make it a "top of the heap" Olympic opening ceremony:

  • The strange and anti-climatic two countdowns,
  • the poor camerawork (for the global audience) during most of the ceremony - starting already with the stadium not being shown clad in those blue sheets of cloth in the prologue
  • the subobtimal "God Save The Queen" performance by that children's choir
  • the lengthy and random pop culture/world wide web segment (Frankie and June say... thanks Tim)
  • the awkward and completely unnecessary moment when Muhammad Ali was included in the "carrying" of the Olympic Flag
  • the too parenthetic introduction of the 260 British Olympians on the final leg of the torch relay in the stadium
  • the strangely low usage of that much-anticipated Olympic bell
  • the shrieky female announcer which wasn't spared the embarrassment of being kicked out for the other three Olympic and Paralympic ceremonies.

On the other hand, they had great and very meaningful ideas, including the transformation of the stage and setting, the "pixels" all around the stadium, the design of the cauldron, the seven billion pieces of paper dropped during the entrance of Team GB, the Olympic Rings rising to space over the course of the ceremony and of course the many elements of typical British humour.

So all in all, in retrospect it was a good ceremony - but still quite a far cry from being the best ever. And it's true: The Games themselves (including the Paralympics) and the closing ceremony completely made up for all the weaker points of the opening ceremony. London proved that even if you don't deliver a completely outstanding opening ceremony, you still can become the best Olympic and Paralympic host ever. So that must be quite comforting for future Olympic hosts. That said, I don't hope that they'll put less efforts into their opening ceremonies now. ;)

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