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Opening Ceremony


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@paul: "Too much source material is not the problem, it didn’t hamper Beijing or Athens from conceiving brilliantly executed shows."

You may have misunderstood the nature of the "source material" we're discussing here. Neither Athens nor Beijing could do much in the way of showing people around the world things which were familiar to them in their everyday liives, and sending the message "you got that from us".

Ummmmm...no. The history was not confusing, the execution of the show was. But thanks for trying to explain the messy show so often.

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I totally disagree.

It was one of the very few Olympic Opening Ceremonies WITH a consistent thread!

The unifying theme was revolutions: industrial and technological. The event programme (and media guide) explain this very well and the audience were then dependent upon their commentators for explanation, if they hadn't appreciated the overriding theme themselves.

I don't want to get into dissing the Beijing OC because I loved it but there really wasn't an overarching theme to the narrative, other than perhaps, "We're a very big international player now and we can do BIG things!"

You and I are on a different planet. That's all I can say.

Athens and Beijing are tops in my book for Opening Ceremonies, followed by Barcelona.

London was a very disjointed, messy post-modern collage that seemed utterly lost.

Ummmmm...no. The history was not confusing, the execution of the show was. But thanks for trying to explain the messy show so often.

Precisely.

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@LOUIS [in response to JMarkSnow's analyses of the "additional" messages of OCs]: "To put it politely, that was a lopsided comment, if not xenophobic..."

There's no point having nations if they're going to do everything the same!


@paul: "The history was not confusing, the execution of the show was. But thanks for trying to explain the messy show so often. "

Umm- actually, ALL history is confusing, and it only seems otherwise if you're not being told enough.

However, what we're talking about here is not history per se, but the presentation of national cultural highlights, which, as a general principle, tend in Olympic OCs to be highlights recognisable by other nations (perhaps most blatantly and humorously in Sydney- "Hey look, we're really a lot like the USA"). Britain really can claim a huge variety of developments from the Industrial Revolution to the World Wide Web, via the Welfare State and the Beatles; Greece and China can't.

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How could 2012 OC not have been confusing? You had Islamabad, Kingdom of Brunei, coming out. Didn't know he was an industrialist before the show. So he comes out and then spouts the lines of Prospero.

1. So, who is that guy?

2. Was he a famous Shakespearean actor?

3. Was he the first Englishman convert to islam?

4. Now, why is he stepping into that (which I learned afterwards) 'zoetrope' contraption?

5. DId he invent that?

6. Is he going to clone himself like Dolly the sheep?

That's the kind of compounded confusion that Boyle's show created. Why add the multiple layers to a portrayal of a rather little known figure to the rest of the world?

And also, another Brit who, BTW, was blown over by my book, intimated to me in a personal email: "The Pandemonium sequence was Boyle’s best part, though jumbled. What concerned me more than anything is that Boyle declared to the world that the UK is responsible for the Industrial Revolution, which led to global industrial pollution, the exploitation of natural resources, and the ability to destroy the world. The Tim Berners-Lee segment was irrelevant (where was Alan Turing, the true source of Berners-Lee’s global influence?)."

Sort of had heard of Alan Turing's name before...but as far as the US is concerned, it was the U.S. Dept of Defense that developed the internet. ;)

It's called overload. Anywho...

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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How could 2012 OC not have been confusing? You had Islamabad, Kingdom of Brunei, coming out. Didn't know he was an industrialist before the show. So he comes out and then spouts the lines of Prospero.

1. So, who is that guy?

2. Was he a famous Shakespearean actor?

3. Was he the first Englishman convert to islam?

4. Now, why is he stepping into that (which I learned afterwards) 'zoetrope' contraption?

5. DId he invent that?

6. Is he going to clone himself like Dolly the sheep?

That's the kind of compounded confusion that Boyle's show created. Why add the multiple layers to a portrayal of a rather little known figure to the rest of the world?

And also, another Brit who, BTW, was blown over by my book, intimated to me in a personal email: "The Pandemonium sequence was Boyle’s best part, though jumbled. What concerned me more than anything is that Boyle declared to the world that the UK is responsible for the Industrial Revolution, which led to global industrial pollution, the exploitation of natural resources, and the ability to destroy the world. The Tim Berners-Lee segment was irrelevant (where was Alan Turing, the true source of Berners-Lee’s global influence?)."

Sort of had heard of Alan Turing's name before...but as far as the US is concerned, it was the U.S. Dept of Defense that developed the internet. ;)

It's called overload. Anywho...

ok, let me just answer your questions from your general ignorance and maybe a bit of a insult to the British people.

1) here is the wiki link to the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel. read and learn

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isambard_Kingdom_Brunel

2) the actor, kenneth branagh, has dome some film adaptations of Shakespeare works like Much Ado About Nothing with alex kingston. again here's a link read and learn. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Branagh

3) he's not muslim. blame his parent for that name.

4) he's trying to get a picture. i know was not explained in actual OC but it was to commemorate another invention of the industrial revolution, photography.

5) 'an English mechanical and civil engineer who built dockyards, the Great Western Railway, a series of steamships including the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship and numerous important bridges and tunnels. His designs revolutionised public transport and modern engineering.' so basically, everything you see around you and the modern world.

6) this does not justify an answer.

also, the 'be not afeard' speech is not a lines be prospero but by caliban.

you say you are the expert, with your book and your participation in the atlanta Olympics, but your general ignorance kinda proves otherwise.

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^^Ok, I take your point about the 'time and progress' theme and perhaps that was not made clear in the BBC coverage which i will have watched.

I'm obviously not going to agree with your points about the 'very, very boring' elements of the London ceremony after the forging of the rings, however?

Was the Head of State in a James Bond-skit boring?

Was the Mr Bean sketch boring?

Did not London attempt to liven up the - traditionally boring - athletes' parade with a soundtrack including 'Mr Blue Sky' and 'Stayin' Alive?'

What did you find 'boring' about the NHS/children's literature segment? Was J. K. Rowling's reading not long enough? Was Voldemort too short? Weren't there enough Mary Poppinses?

Was the lighting of the Cauldron 'boring?' From where I was sitting, all I heard were gasps of astonishment. The Chinese woman net to me turned to me and said: "That's amazing," as the petals rose up and the woman from Texas on the other side of me couldn't say anything because she was in tears.

Were the fireworks at the end to the strains of Pink Floyd, 'boring?'

You may not have liked what happened after the forging of the rings sequence but I find the use of the word 'boring' to describe much of what happened afterwards, very curious indeed.

-James Bond sketch: funny, although slightly bizarre at first viewing. Gold star for originality, but on a completely different beat to the intense emotion and spectacle of the preceding 30 minutes.

-Mr. Bean sketch: again, funny, offbeat, etc.. but I started to become tired of the undercurrent of sarcasm on the ceremony. It was perhaps more of a Closing ceremony moment.

-Athletes parade was fantastic, but London is not alone in "livening things up". Sydney, Athens and Beijing all put their own spin on the parade that has giving it a fresh appeal each time. Beijing was more original in its use of the continental specific instruments -- London rehashed (and admittedly did a better job of) Athens initial idea of having a DJ in place of a brass band (which we saw at Sydney).

-NHS segment. Boring. All of it. I understand the importance and place of the NHS, but it was just so arbitrary. I understand the inclusion of the childrens stories - some of which are some that I grew up with, but it quite honestly was just downright boring. I get that it was targeted at children - but this is part of the reason why people have been left with this "mishmash" feeling about London's OC.

-Cauldron lighting was beautiful and original. I adored it and it is one of my favourites. I have been a staunch defender of London's cauldron through much of its criticism. But, despite its beauty and emotion, I don't think it hit that peak that the joining of the rings hit.

-Fireworks and Pink Flloyd. Not a PF fan, and fireworks are a staple of all Olympics of recent years.

Much of the perspective you have is relayed from your experience of being there. No doubt, it would have been an amazing experience - one that I in fact envy. However, you seem to ignore the fact that up to a BILLION people globally did not have this perspective. The view from home seems to have been different. It is fine to design a ceremony that gives the energy to the live audience- however you have to expect that the television experience of viewing it runs the risk of being underwhelmed. <br /> <br /> All this aside, I enjoyed London's opening ceremony, but for me personally, it wasn't my favourite. I'd still rate Athens, Sydney and Barcelona above it, with London in 4th, followed by Vancouver in 5th.

However I need to stress my admiration of Pandemonium. Despite me ranking London as my 4th favourite ceremony, I'd have to say that is one of the best segments (if not THE best segment) ever in Olympic history. Easily. Perhaps thats why the bulk of the rest of the ceremony had little chance of maintaining that energy.

The music too, was the best ever.

Edited by runningrings
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I guess as a nation we do have far too many ideas and punch our weight in so many areas.

If only we had given the world less music, culture, inventions, creativity, poetry, art, ideas, literature... I could go on. It could have been a more simple ceremony.

Personally I wouldn't have had it any other way : )

This is absurd, and somewhat jingoistic. Much of that culture, creativity, art and IDEAS you speak of actually come from far older civilisations like the Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, Arabs, Chinese, etc... who were far more advanced and sophisticated at a time when we Anglo-Saxons were still immensely primitive and barbaric. The British merely continued where these civilisations left off, much later.

Furthermore, this culture and industrial power that Britain forged to have its industrial revolution (depicted on the Ceremony) was on the shoulders of imperialism and massive exploitation of parts of the world that still live with the consequences today.

I don't deny that the British (which, being an Anglo-Saxon Australian, is my ethnic culture) have much to be proud of in what they have given the world- a powerful force in democracy and civil culture - but it has also been the centre of an Empire that was an intimidating force that is partly responsible for many of the problems the world faces today.

Edited by runningrings
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This is absurd, and somewhat jingoistic. Much of that culture, creative, art and IDEAS you speak of actually come from far older civilisations like the Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, Arabs, Chinese, etc... who were far more advanced and sophisticated at a time when we Anglo-Saxons were still immensely primitive and barbaric.

Furthermore, this culture and industrial power that Britain forged to have its industrial revolution (depicted on the Ceremony) was on the shoulders of imperialism and massive exploitation of parts of the world that still live with the consequences today.

I think we Aussies have to be careful about flinging that accusation! (surprised you didn't pick up on Mr JMarkSnow's Aussie slight further up - I've been tempted to slam into him, but at the end of the day this whole topic is too exhausting and pedantic - on both sides of the divide - for me to want to weigh in too much).

And anyway, whether any or all of those aspects are derivative, there's no doubt that British culture, and in particular pop culture, has been among the most influential and widespread (only behind the US perhaps) of the last few hundred years.

Edited by Sir Rols
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I think we Aussies have to be careful about flinging that accusation! (surprised you didn't pick up on Mr JMarkSnow's Aussie slight further up - I've been tempted to slam into him, but at the end of the day this whole topic is too exhausting and pedantic - on both sides of the divide - for me to want to weigh in too much).

And anyway, whether any or all of those aspects are derivative, there's no doubt that British culture, and in particular pop culture, has been among the most influential and widespread (only behind the US perhaps) of the last few hundred years.

the jingoistic accusation... I used that word more for the effect, directed at that poster on here. I don't think London's ceremonies were jingoistic in the slightest, no more than any other ceremony in the past has been. In fact, they all are to some extent, its almost the point.

Edited by runningrings
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@runningrings: "I don't deny that the British (which, being an Anglo-Saxon Australian, is my ethnic culture) have much to be proud of in what they have given the world- a powerful force in democracy and civil culture - but it has also been the centre of an Empire that was an intimidating force that is partly responsible for many of the problems the world faces today."

Very true- so now check out "The Tempest" for the relationship between Caliban (source of the Branagh speech, and central figure in nearly all the London Opening's references to the play) and Prospero.

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Personally I wouldn't have had it any other way : )

I totally agree, Davey - I will always remember what I have seen on July 27th and August 12th 2012 in London Olympic Stadium!

I think this whole "discussion" is just an exchange of personal point of views - One man's meat is another man's poison (lol - I had to look this phrase up and I have to "admit" that I prefer the german version of the phrase: One man's owl is another man's nightingale)

Edited by Citius Altius Fortius
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Yeah, well, I just think this whole thread has degenerated into one of the most annoyingly pompous of all time on GBids. On both sides of the OC fan/foe divide.

Exactly. I think it's about time that Sochi comes - we need some distraction from the endless "How good/bad London's opening ceremony actually was" debate.

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