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Saying "we were trying to be sloppy" doesn't cut it. The whole OC was that way. It really looked more like ineptitude from Danny Boyle than a considered artistic choice. If you simply can't deliver something clean and sharp you've got no choice but to offer something "casual" and try to pass it off as purposeful. That's what London 's OC looked like to me.

Exactly. The Olympics are all about being the best you can be -- not oh geez, we can't beat Beijing at this game, so let's try something loose and frazzled, like going dreadlocks over carefully groomed hair -- just to be cool and different. Not really a high enough aim.

It all comes down to -- if it's something you can do in your living room or backyard, then it really isn't of Olympic calibre. If you can't stage it at home -- like 897 printing blocks of Beijing or the human bridge of Moscow, or the synchronized Temple of Zeus of Atlanta...or the rising cauldron of Sydney...or the 84 pianos of LA -- then you got an Olympic show.

Who here was trying to learn the steps of Pandemonium for their living room and bathroom mirror?? That you shouldn't charge to see....

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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@JMarkSnow2012 [re the amazing Beijing printing block sequence]: "the same effect could easily have been achieved mechanically."
@baron-pierreIV: "the point and the punchline at the end revealed that it was NOT!! How corny and pointless would that have been?" ... "You diminish the Chinese's great efforts by that remark, JMark. THAT is what Olympic ceremonies are about -- "

Pausing only to note that this was a case where NBC did better than BBC (who revealed the "punchline" half-way through!)- my point, as indicated in the rest of that post by me, was that there's more to celebrating a nation's culture than training lots of people to make patterns which could more easily have been done by machine. Celebrating the host nation's culture is what the artistic sections of Olympic openings are supposed to be about. China celebrated order and discipline (try counting the number of different sequences which involved people moving in huge and precise patterns); Britain celebrated creativity and emotional connection.

@baron-pierreIV: "if it's something you can do in your living room or backyard, then it really isn't of Olympic calibre."

What, like forming the acronym "GOSH" with hospital beds? Or turning an entire farm, complete with animals, into an industrial landscape? Or simultaneously displaying formations of hundreds of people showing a "peace" symbol, a Smiley, and a nest of five five-pointed stars. Or representing doves as scores of cyclists with gently flapping, glowing wings? Or [insert favourite London Olympic moment here] ...

Others have already dealt with the "panic and hysteria" straw man. Really !...

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Londons ceremony, certainly wasn't an all fur coat and no knickers kind of ceremony.

The fact people are still discussing and disecting it nearly a year down the line is incredible. Watched it again Saturday, I still well up when it pauses to remember the dead of all wars. Incredible stuff.

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Exactly. The Olympics are all about being the best you can be -- not oh geez, we can't beat Beijing at this game, so let's try something loose and frazzled, like dreadlocks over carefully groomed hair -- just to be cool and different. Not really a high enough aim.

It all comes down to -- if it's something you can do in your living room or backyard, then it really isn't of Olympic calibre. If you can't stage it at home -- like 897 printing blocks of Beijing or the human bridge of Moscow, or the synchronized Temple of Zeus of Atlanta...or the rising cauldron of Sydney...or the 84 pianos of LA -- then you got an Olympic show.

Who here was trying to learn the steps of Pandemonium for their living room and bathroom mirror?? That you shouldn't charge to see....

i am and i still have not mastered the chisel hammer routine.

if a can turn my backyard into the a Victorian foundry in less than 15 minutes, we will not be chatting right now. because i'll be enslaving poor street eurchins to do my laundry.

also by your definition, the temple of Zeus sequence is not in the Olympic caliber, if i want shadow puppets i will buy a flashlight.

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@baron-pierreIV: "if it's something you can do in your living room or backyard, then it really isn't of Olympic calibre."

What, like forming the acronym "GOSH" with hospital beds? Or turning an entire farm, complete with animals, into an industrial landscape? Or simultaneously displaying formations of hundreds of people showing a "peace" symbol, a Smiley, and a nest of five five-pointed stars. Or representing doves as scores of cyclists with gently flapping, glowing wings? Or [insert favourite London Olympic moment here] ...

I NEVER said I disliked the show as much as Athensfan did. I really do like Pandemonium, the NHS sequence, Pastoral....yes, the glowing wings. If you will dig up (since u are wont to do anyway) my earlier evaluations, I gave it a 65 per cent. It's just that with you & volshy keep bringing out the post-show clips w/ Danny Boyle, I have just become more super-analytical about it. These post-show clips just reveal that Boyle's got feet of hardened concrete to me. There's just something about Boyle that has failed to convince me that he was the right man to do the job. There were great moments but the bad points of the show could've been so much better. And finally, the excuse being bandied about now on this very thread: it was meant to be "disorderly" as the new Olympic ceremonial mantra is the poorest excuse for despoiling a whole mise en scene since the Industrial revolution. Perhaps Danny's next film should be: How to Waste 11 Weeks. ;)

Londons ceremony, certainly wasn't an all fur coat and no knickers kind of ceremony.

The fact people are still discussing and disecting it nearly a year down the line is incredible. Watched it again Saturday, I still well up when it pauses to remember the dead of all wars. Incredible stuff.

Well, Davey, we don't have much to discuss until February next year. And of course, I understand your feeling. You were part of it, as I was with Atlanta 1996. But as more and more of the creative thinking behind the show comes out, I am really more puzzled about the whole process. From what I can piece together -- Danny tried to bring his cinematic vision, expertise to the affair and take it in a new direction but it was the choice of some of the basic material that I found questionable. And contrasted with the Closing (which was a big pop-rock-star affair, of which I am not a big fan of) which I found surprisingly enjoyable, it becomes even more of a conundrum.

Maybe that's it. There's a whole shift of the Ceremonial paradigm: Boyle tried to make the Opening discomfiting, thought-provoking and purposely jagged while turning the Closing into a joyful breeze. Not that I agree with it, but if that were 2012's only contribution to the evolution of the genre, then I acknowledge and accept it. But didn't Athens 2004 already do that? :blink::wacko: .

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1. i am and i still have not mastered the chisel hammer routine.

2. if a can turn my backyard into the a Victorian foundry in less than 15 minutes, we will not be chatting right now. because i'll be enslaving poor street eurchins to do my laundry.

3. also by your definition, the temple of Zeus sequence is not in the Olympic caliber, if i want shadow puppets i will buy a flashlight.

1. Should I even bother?

2. That's precisely my point. (See above.)

3. I thought u might nitpick on that point. U probably could but can you employ 8 "athletes" and 6 "Nike" goddesses to perform a similar routine that was shown that night? The concept was simple but it took master showmanship to bring it off as excellently as it was done that night. I doubt your "shadow puppets" would take the breath away of 80,000 people like it did that August night 17 years ago. And of course, since u haven't read my book, let me then share a passage about the reaction to that particular sequence from someone who would've been Atlanta 1996's harshest critic since they lost the honor to stage the Centennial Games...

(A few days after the ceremony, I got the chance to visit the Athens 2004 hospitality suite at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. When the Greek hostess learned that I was with Ceremonies, she gushed on endlessly to me about this sequence. She became quite animated and expressed her great approval of the “Greek Temple/Urn” moment (as if in the presence of someone who could manipulate the upcoming 2004 selection site vote). Nonetheless, the appreciation was very gratifying.)

Watch it -- masyado kang ma-kulit!! ;)

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For the record, I found moments to enjoy in London's show as well. The Green and Pleasant set was magnificent. Parts of Pandemonium (the parts focused on the Industrial Revolution) were awesome. Happy and Glorious (the segment that gave Rogge the adjectives for London's Games) was my favorite. The Churchill statue made me cry and the Queen's entrance was a 100% original delight.

However...

The bell was a dud. I did not like the rugby plastered anachronistically all over Green and Pleasant. The transition to Pademonium was too long and messy and the parade around the perimeter was a confusing historical hodge-podge that was, once again, very anachronistic.

Unlike Baron, I thought the NHS section was terrible. Cheesy, bad choreography and really added nothing meaningful. The fetus was awful. Exactly the sort of thing I would expect of a bad Anerican OC -- not the Brits.

Mr. Bean was just ok. An odd choice for a stadium where scale is so important.

Frankie and June was a trainwreck. Super sloppy choreography, very dull story. Some great music, but in ultra short clips.

The doves were kind of interesting, but seemed disembodied from the rest of the show.

The cauldron lighting was just ok for me and was definitely diminished by the fact that it had been built up so much by the secrecy. Way, way too many people. It was a quiet, intimate denouement rather than a rousing climax. Which I suppose is fine, if that's your cup of tea.

Don't get me started on what happened to the cauldron AFTER the OC....

I have huge respect for the arts in Britain. For me, despite great moments, the overall impact of London's OC was, at best, mediocre. That surprises me enormously when I think of the wealth of talent in the UK. I truly believe Danny Boyle was the wrong man for the job.

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"But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

Carl Sagan

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"But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

Carl Sagan

:lol::lol:

Aww jeez my nose hurts. You owe me a coke.

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@Athensfan: "The bell was a dud."

That's an interesting cultural thing. Britain is full of bells (the majority of pre-1914 Anglican churches have a tuned set of 6 or more), most of which are rung quite frequently, but you hardly ever see them, because belfries tend to have wooden slats keeping birds out of the openings. The Olympic bell (which I suspect was included partly to smash Berlin's 1936 size record) was mostly used in the same way- heard quite a lot, but hardly ever seen.

@Athensfan: "I did not like the rugby plastered anachronistically all over Green and Pleasant. "

It wasn't rugby (no H goals) and therefore it wasn't anachronistic- as I think I may have posted before, traditional football games permitting carrying and throwing of the ball have been played for centuries in Britain, and some local versions associated with particular festivals survive to the present day.

@Athensfan: "the parade around the perimeter was a confusing historical hodge-podge that was, once again, very anachronistic. "

Again, not anachronistic, if you accept that the Industrial Revolution had a fairly clear start (with the development of large-scale iron casting linked to the development of large machines), but a very diffuse end (a period of astonishing inventiveness, giving developments such as radar, jet engines, nuclear fission, electronic computing etc. was followed by a gradual decline, partly because the United States came out of World War 2 much better able to exploit such technologies commercially).

@Athensfan: "The fetus was awful."

I think we may be close to agreement on that one !

@Athensfan: "Mr. Bean was just ok. An odd choice for a stadium where scale is so important. "

I think that was part of the joke- setting a world record for the smallest activity to entertain a stadium, the 2cm movement of Rowan Atkinson's umbrella tip. And because the humour was almost entirely visual, if you closed your eyes, you got a mostly very nice orchestral performance of "Chariots of Fire" (the "Isles of Wonder" album version omits the ending). Win-win.

@Athensfan: "Frankie and June was a trainwreck"

I guess I can meet you half-way on that one; as I've said before, it was wildly over-ambitious, but to this day I can't bear to watch most of the Closing Ceremony, which had the opportunity to do the same sort of thing without the time pressure, and ended up being what most Brits were praying the Opening Ceremony wouldn't be.

@Athensfan: "The doves were kind of interesting, but seemed disembodied from the rest of the show. "

The symbolic release of doves is part of the fixed protocol, which must take place between the Parade of Nations and the cauldron lighting. Recent versions of the protocol state "Live animals should not be used." At least the section linked to sport AND British creativity (the rear-wheel drive "safety bicycle" from which most modern styles descend was developed in Britain, as was the pneumatic tire).

@Athensfan: "The cauldron lighting ... was a quiet, intimate denouement rather than a rousing climax."

As I noted in connection with the Ali appearance, that whole final section was "sober and reflective". I do suspect that's actually closer than most these days to the spirit Baron de Coubertin originally intended.

@Athensfan: "I truly believe Danny Boyle was the wrong man for the job."

For the international audience, that may be true. However, I see from old posts that when Boyle was first proposed as director back in 2010, the Baron dismissed him because he was only known for "Slumdog Millionaire". That may have been true in most of America, but to some moviegoers, Boyle had been known for years as one of the most crazily exciting directors around, right from his first features "Shallow Grave" and "Trainspotting". What made him in some ways more interesting was that he couldn't do Hollywood: "A Life Less Ordinary" and "The Beach" both felt wrong, whereas the British horror "28 Days Later" was a belting return to form.

So, there are plenty of British stage and film directors who could have done a good international show, but somehow LOCOG sensed that the Brits themselves might not want that, particularly after all the hassle around London to please the IOC, sponsors etc. Given the contrast between the spirit of Britain on 26 July 2012 and the spirit on 28 July 2012 which lasted throughout the Olympics and the Paralympics (brilliantly promoted in Britain as the climax to the summer, and easily living up to the hype) I think LOCOG made the right call. If some of the innovations from the London Opening start showing up, suitably tweaked to overcome the recognised problems, in future OCs, then Danny Boyle may even have the last laugh internationally.

@baron-pierreIV: "I doubt your "shadow puppets" would take the breath away of 80,000 people like it did that August night 17 years ago."

That raises the interesting point that imaginative devices like that shadow performance actually don't show up too much in later OC's because nobody wants to be seen as copyists!

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Folks, why is it still so difficult for you to accept different opinions? JMark is maybe very explicit in stating his support for the opening ceremony's concept, but that has the same justification as your critical comment above (which was quite lengthy itself, by the way), Athensfan. That bitching against each other leads to absolutely nothing.

Anyway: I'm sure that Boyle has set a new standard for opening ceremonies at least in one regard - in the way he dealt with the duration of the parade of nations. The idea of using drummers to speed the whole procedure up was so simple and yet so effective. Even if the parade took "only" 15 minutes less than, for example, Athens' parade, it really felt much shorter and less tedious than previous Summer Games parades. So I wouldn't be surprised at all if Rio (in a land famous for drumming as well) simply copied London's drummer concept for its own parade - or at least evolved that idea.



P.S. And there's no "truth" regarding the judgment on an Olympic opening ceremony. The way such a ceremony is perceived always depends on personal opinions and tastes. And just like you don't own the "truth" about London's OC, JMark doesn't either. No one owns that "truth", it's practically impossible.

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@baron-pierreIV: "The major reason LOCOG offered the job to Boyle was because Seb Coe liked SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and its Indian slant, and Coe has an Indian grandparent.."

That was certainly a reason- but significant enough for Coe, a rather "strait-laced" right-wing (by British standards) politician to demand that LOCOG hire Boyle, a leftfield, left-wing (by any standards you care to name) director?

I think it was more a case of LOCOG collectively recognising that Boyle's idiosyncratic vision and known genius for teamwork could provide the beginnings of an antidote to the corrupt Olympic feeding frenzy which was clearly in evidence by 2010.

@Olympian2004: "just like you don't own the "truth" about London's OC, JMark doesn't either."

That's correct- but the main reason for the length of my posts is that I try to publish the results of my research, rather than my opinions (my response to the Baron above, about LOCOG decision-making which will almost certainly never be publicly explained, being a notable exception, an opinion based mostly on the observation that, as Games time approached, the need for the "antidote" became more and more apparent).

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Folks, why is it still so difficult for you to accept different opinions? JMark is maybe very explicit in stating his support for the opening ceremony's concept, but that has the same justification as your critical comment above (which was quite lengthy itself, by the way), Athensfan. That bitching against each other leads to absolutely nothing.

Anyway: I'm sure that Boyle has set a new standard for opening ceremonies at least in one regard - in the way he dealt with the duration of the parade of nations. The idea of using drummers to speed the whole procedure up was so simple and yet so effective. Even if the parade took "only" 15 minutes less than, for example, Athens' parade, it really felt much shorter and less tedious than previous Summer Games parades. So I wouldn't be surprised at all if Rio (in a land famous for drumming as well) simply copied London's drummer concept for its own parade - or at least evolved that idea.

P.S. And there's no "truth" regarding the judgment on an Olympic opening ceremony. The way such a ceremony is perceived always depends on personal opinions and tastes. And just like you don't own the "truth" about London's OC, JMark doesn't either. No one owns that "truth", it's practically impossible.

BLASPHEMY, F!!

j/k.

U're right. I do agree about shortening the Parade of Nations...but I hope they can do it without the drummers. Just limit the doggone sizes of the LARGER delegations of which there are only 15 or 16 anyway. That would cut an additional 20 minutes...w/o the use of drummers. I know why faster will pipe up..Just dump those extra athletes. Let them HOG the Closing instead!!

OK, we must now preserve our energies for the Sochi ceremonies. Oh wait...there will be the Moscow and Barcelona mini-ceremonies this summer. So Sochi is still far away... :lol::lol:

to the corrupt Olympic feeding frenzy which was clearly in evidence by 2010.

Huh? What r u talking about, JMark?? :blink:

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@JMarkSnow2012: "to the corrupt Olympic feeding frenzy which was clearly in evidence by 2010."
@baron-pierreIV: "Huh? What r u talking about, JMark??"

Comments in reports of the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts on the Games preparations, like these from 2008:
"There are over four years to go until the start of the Games but £500 million (18%) of the programme contingency has already been used."
"The Olympic Delivery Authority is having difficulty generating supplier competition for some venues."

Still, the good news is that the latest report (March 2013) found a £377 million underspend. Hooray.

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@JMarkSnow2012: "to the corrupt Olympic feeding frenzy which was clearly in evidence by 2010."

@baron-pierreIV: "Huh? What r u talking about, JMark??"

Comments in reports of the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts on the Games preparations, like these from 2008:

"There are over four years to go until the start of the Games but £500 million (18%) of the programme contingency has already been used."

"The Olympic Delivery Authority is having difficulty generating supplier competition for some venues."

Still, the good news is that the latest report (March 2013) found a £377 million underspend. Hooray.

And what on earth have those got 2 do with the quality/content of an Opening Ceremony??

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Olympian, the whole point is that we've already been over all this many times. Nobody's view will change. There's no point in rehashing everything. It was a mistake in my part to bother and I shouldn't be too surprised by the response. If you review this thread, however, I think you will note that JMark does have a predilection for extremely lengthy posts that attempt to justify his view with endless small details. His right, of course. I'm just finding the whole thing tedious now.

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@baron-pierreIV [re 2 quotes from UK Public Accounts Committee]: "what on earth have those got 2 do with the quality/content of an Opening Ceremony??"

In the UK, everything to do with the content.

Almost from the outset there was a perception that the Olympics would be an unstoppable cash-hoover, sucking in as much money from the British public as the usual big-business suspects could con out of the authorities. Add to that the certainty that the mood would get worse when the Olympic Laws kicked in, and a Beijing-style celebration of mass control, or even King Arthur on ice, really wasn't going to cut it. The London Olympics pretty much had to start with a celebration of the poor bloody infantry, and that needed somebody like Danny Boyle, with the usual OC suspects kept at arm's length as far as possible (the late request for a doubling of the total Olympic/Paralympic Ceremonies budget to 80 million quid nearly put a dent in even that simple plan).

@baron-pierreIV: "Wonder what JMark does in real life?? Answer only in THREE words, JMark."

BA, Dip. Lib.

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Whenever I see a giant baby I'll think of the London 2012 opening ceremony. It'll be fascinating to see if future ceremonies copy the giant baby idea, then and only then will we really know if Danny Boyle achieved a lasting legacy in ceremony style. No robotic hoard of Chinese performers could have ever unfolded that accordion head with such emotion unencumbered by in-your-face precision and accuracy.

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Olympian, the whole point is that we've already been over all this many times. Nobody's view will change. There's no point in rehashing everything. It was a mistake in my part to bother and I shouldn't be too surprised by the response. If you review this thread, however, I think you will note that JMark does have a predilection for extremely lengthy posts that attempt to justify his view with endless small details. His right, of course. I'm just finding the whole thing tedious now.

No, I haven't noted, and frankly: I couldn't care less. Why? Because you're right: The whole thing is getting extremely tedious now.

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