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cormiermax

London 2012 Opening Ceremony - What did you think?

  

143 members have voted

  1. 1. What are your feelings on the Opening Ceremony?

    • It was fantastic, up there with the best if not the best!
      37
    • It was really good, maybe not one of the best but London did it's self proud!
      40
    • Was good, could have been better.
      34
    • Meh, did not like it.
      9
    • It was poor, was disappointed.
      14
    • Was really bad, one of the worst iv seen.
      9


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I selected "Was good, could have been better." Truthfully, I was charitable with my vote, but the other options seemed harsher than I wanted to be. I hoped London would succeed brilliantly -- if not in grandeur at least in tone and story-telling. I was disappointed. There were some wonderful moments, but overall I felt the show was very poorly conceived.

As for the wonderful moments, the Queen's entrance was to die for. No one else will ever be able to do anything similar. It was funny, endearing, surprising and unforgettable. By far the highlight of the show. The balloon countdown was a charming contrast to Beijing's drummers. A great way to go. Green and Pleasant was exquisite and the children's choirs were beautiful and moving. (However I did not understand the heavy reliance on football imagery -- I wish they'd just showed more of the lovely Green and Pleasant set.) The forging of the ring was impressive and creative as was the pyro-effect (though I don't understand why the middle ring was a different color). The Tor was used well. I liked the miners' entrance, the Union Jack looked stunning against the hill, the flags of the nations looked fantastic in place. They kept the parade of nations moving very successfully. I also really liked the human touches such as having the construction workers' honor guard.

As for the overall impression it seemed quite scattered. There was no clear arc or through-line. It was a random assemblage of ideas that seemed totally disconnected and lacking in meaningful transition. I also felt Danny Boyle failed to understand the medium in which he was working. He seemed to rely very heavily on film concepts that did not translate well to the scale of an OC. The result was a confusing, disorganized, underwhelming collage.

"Dark Satanic Mills" was confusing and slow. Suffragettes meet Seargeant Pepper? It was a bizarre cacophony of images that didn't tell a story. The smokestacks were spectacular and at this point I was willing to overlook a bit of confusion, but it got worse with the next segment....

"Second Star to the Right" left me totally cold. Of all the wonderful things that could've been showcased in this ceremony, Boyle chose a very tacky, underwhelming, poorly choreographed number with doctors and nurses. I liked the illuminated blankets, but it was hard to find anything else to praise. The villains didn't look much like themselves. The Mary Poppins weren't clearly a force for good since they were all in black. The story was bizarre and didn't make much sense for an Olympics. The music was bad and forgettable. Capping it off with what looked like a gigantic dead fetus was really appalling.

"Chariots of Fire" was just kind of ok. Again, the whole concept was ill-suited to the scale of the OC. It was faintly amusing, but then I've never been a big Rowan Atkinson fan. It went on too long. Danny Boyle's mini-movie was not particularly funny to me.

"Frankie and June" -- where do I start? I hated this segment. Really hated it. There was nothing to the supposed "love story." It was not told clearly or on a scale that would read in the OC. The music selections were incredibly anachronistic, which was odd because it had seemed like we were (sort of) moving chronologically. I love fun dance music, but it just made no sense. It looked sloppy. The choreography was underwhelming. More fitting for an OC, but even there I think it would need more structure. The house was a big boring block that again relied very heavily on Danny Boyle's filmed sequences. What did any of it have to do with the Olympic Games? I thought it was absolutely awful. By this point I was discouraged.

The cycling doves were interesting. They didn't seem connected to much of anything. It seemed a bit random. Kinda pretty, but totally random.

I liked the way the cauldron was brought into the stadium almost without people realizing it. I liked the way that the cauldron tied in to the tickets. (There's more I could say on THAT score, but I will restrain myself...) I understand what they were going for with the cauldron lighting moment. They wanted to spread the glory to scores of past Olympians and athletes of the future. I don't think it was BAD, but for me it lacked drama. It was a bit too diffuse. The cauldron itself is fascinating as a piece of sculpture, but it didn't strike me as particularly dramatic or exciting. It happened. It was nice, but it seemed quite over-hyped and the final event, while serviceable, felt anti-climactic. Again, the organizers didn't really seem to understand the medium they were working with.

Still don't understand concluding with Hey, Jude either. I guess it was ok, but it wasn't great.

I would rank recent OC's in the following way.

Tied at the top: Beijing and Athens.

Tied for second: Sydney and Barcelona.

Tied for third: Atlanta and London.

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Can anyone explain what the shot of rings in outer-space was after the cauldron? Was it shot from the int space station?

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Can anyone explain what the shot of rings in outer-space was after the cauldron? Was it shot from the int space station?

According to the media manual/guide. It was the Olympic Rings attached to helium (I assume) balloons, which were released either at the start of the ceremony, or at some point during the pre-ceremony (with camera attached?), in which by the end of the ceremony would have gone to the stratosphere, which it did. A nice gesture, but there should have been some clarification as to them actually doing this and certainly some mention from broadcasters at the start.

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Can anyone explain what the shot of rings in outer-space was after the cauldron? Was it shot from the int space station?

No, they were released in a ballon right at the start of the ceremony. By the end, they were already in the stratosphere.

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Interesting, just watching bits of the ceremony again, and during the first video where they show the past Olympic posters, they skip Paris 1900 and Berlin 1936 for some reason. It's not like they could have started the posters earlier, or sped it up a bit... strange.

I see the use of the official logo (in the slightly acceptable but still horrid UK flag version), when they show London 2012's official posters.

I see the Olympic Ring balloons released.

The use of French should have been there from the start. I guess that's where my French critique comes in. Narrations sure, could be English, but announcements should be in French and English. The bell should have also been used several times, not just at the start and end, perhaps prior to the arrival of the athletes and the Olympic Flag.

Sargent Pepper characters shouldn't have been at the suffrage part, but rather at the music part.

Edited by Lord David

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Now that I have had time to reflect

First What I really liked

The meadow to Industrial revolution sequence 10/10

The Queens oo7 10/10

Athletes parade 10/10

The cauldron 11/10

However most of what followed the queens arrival slipped in to reading like a list and box ticking exercise

And masked off Political interfearance? And to many video cutaways detracted from its stature as a live event,

The NHS sequence had no real narrative

And the tribute to British pop music had no real point

Why play snippets from pop records like Queen when we could/should have have used the cast of we will rock you

And created a point and narrative

If it had all been as good as the best bits it would have been the best ever, but I felt it lost touch with its purpose.

For all these reason I find it hard to rate.,is it eccentric or something similar, a mess.

Danny boile does deserve to be congratulated for the best bits, I cant praise the meadow enough

And I cant helf feeling that the bit that will be remembered is the fantastic caldron

As the saying goes alls well that ends well

lets hope this is the case.

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Further watching, Chariots of Fire good. London Symphony Orchestra, I assume they were there the whole time, they could have performed the British National Anthem and perhaps an original composition specifically for the games. Mr Bean/Rowan Atkinson good. Though as mentioned earlier, the Mini which leads up to the family part could have surely had Mr Bean in his iconic green Mini behind it, complaining that he has to return his suit, beeping the only car there, getting disgruntled at the parking of the car, then zooming off around it.

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Watched the Opening again...You do need to watch it again...Just to take in the stuff you missed the first time.

I'd've loved to have seen a bit more Pomp! This is what London is about.

Some of this would've suited a Commonwealth Games really well. (I did notice some Manchester 02 ideas)

Most Americans wouldn't know who Isambard Brunel was?...Let alone Mr Bean. And of course the NHS is only known to the UK and other 'family' members who have a NHS such as NZ.

There were some accidental 'lite' moments such as the Duke and Duchess of Cornwell laughing at the German Official making a near Nazi salute while waving at his team walking by.

As usual...The Queen was her stoic self - did anyone else see Prince Phillip wake her up with a nudge! I was a bit dissapointed with her behaviour as I have a picture of King George VI standing and saluting Great Britain at Wembley in 1948.

Overall, it seemed too much to digest...until that amazing Cauldron!

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Most Americans wouldn't know who Isambard Brunel was?...Let alone Mr Bean.

Americans know Mr. Bean. He's had succesfull movies here.

Personally, I didn't like his bit. Not my type of humor at all. It's too easy and obvious. I can see why people liked it though, I guess. His movie was too much and like all of them, it took away from the stadium spectacle.

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Watched the Opening again...You do need to watch it again...Just to take in the stuff you missed the first time.

I'd've loved to have seen a bit more Pomp! This is what London is about.

Some of this would've suited a Commonwealth Games really well. (I did notice some Manchester 02 ideas)

Most Americans wouldn't know who Isambard Brunel was?...Let alone Mr Bean. And of course the NHS is only known to the UK and other 'family' members who have a NHS such as NZ.

There were some accidental 'lite' moments such as the Duke and Duchess of Cornwell laughing at the German Official making a near Nazi salute while waving at his team walking by.

As usual...The Queen was her stoic self - did anyone else see Prince Phillip wake her up with a nudge! I was a bit dissapointed with her behaviour as I have a picture of King George VI standing and saluting Great Britain at Wembley in 1948.

Overall, it seemed too much to digest...until that amazing Cauldron!

I think the Duchess was sitting next to Mayor Boris Johnson, you can recognize that goofy hair (wig?) from anywhere.

Americans know Mr. Bean. He's had succesfull movies here.

Personally, I didn't like his bit. Not my type of humor at all. It's too easy and obvious. I can see why people liked it though, I guess. His movie was too much and like all of them, it took away from the stadium spectacle.

I liked it, just hoped it was extended to that Mini part as I alluded to in previous posts.

Appropriate BeeGees lyrics "Somebody help me!"

Edited by Lord David
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The fact that everyone likes or hates different bits probably shows that there was at least something for everyone in it. I'll comment elsewhere on my experience as a volunteer in it but since I've seen the show 4 times live and now on TV, I'll give my impressions on it.

On the TV coverage, the Green and Pleasant land is barely there and I entirely get your comments on it. But, it's been there for the entire time that the crowd are in the Stadium as a tableau and, I guess, represents the centuries of very little changing. I assure you that by the time we got to 9pm, the stadium crowd were very ready for it to change (there's a reason that many of us live in cities!). There were a lot of individual things going on in it though from the animal husbandry, to the arable farming, bread making, cricket, football becoming rugby (hence the rugby clips, I assume, in the 4 nations choirs) but it was designed as snapshots of rural life.

I don't think the TV really got the visceral impact of the Industrial Revolution. At the stadium, the initial rumble of the drums starting up made the audience feel it in their bones. The darkness and chaos is supposed to be unsettling and jangle the nerves just as it would have been to those caught up in it, losing their livelihoods and being dumped into new cities where they were just 'numbers' to mill owners. The swift move through the decades with the protest marches, the Windrush and the Beatles just emphasises the speed of change once it had begun. I loved the fact that they didn't shy away from showing the effect that ordinary people can have on society when they stand up to be counted together eg trade unions and suffragettes. I don't think that TV captured the poppy moment particularly well...

The NHS bit meant a lot to most Brits, I suspect, particularly in current climate where bits of it are threatened. As a society, universal healthcare is seen as a human right and that's why it was so celebrated. GOSH (Great Ormand St Hospital for Sick Kids) is one of those places that children from all over the country can end up in for specialist care so we have a bit of a soft spot for it. I liked it except for the very end, where the jig goes on overly long. I do wonder if that was because it took some time to get Voldemort packed away again!

I liked the social media but but until the dress rehearsals, I'd only seen it as a fun music medley. It wasn't til later that it made sense as a 'date' which didn't really hit it for me. I did think it was fun in terms of bopping along to it but in some ways it was for a very definite audience segment and I think that culturally, there were quite a few in-jokes in the video choices that went over people's heads. The 3-D glasses were supposedly meant to make the Bohemian Rhapsody video work better but I'm not convinced about how well that actually worked nor the video Zorbs that were sent out during it since we never saw any footage from them. The original video 'Zorbs' were smaller and would probably have worked better.

Never saw the 'Abide with Me' dance piece since I was always underground in the Stadium by that stage.

There are quite a few subtle threads to the broader basic narrative of moving through the ages to the modern era that I've realised after seeing it a few times. The changes in transport as we moved through - from foot, to horse omnibus to cars and Tubes (and then back to bikes, just kidding!). There's also another thread about how we express ourselves; in the Green and Pleasant land, there's no form of communication other than verbal, as we begin the Industrial Revolution, it's spoken word but then we start with basic adverts on the 'buses' and the newspaper boys running around. The literature segment shows how powerful words can be to all ages and then now, the social media portion means that we all have ability to communicate with the world instantly. That ability to have free speech and communicate through written words is a cornerstone of the modern world and this shows it developing.

I'm torn between what the best way to see it was. The big set pieces were, for the most part, more powerful in the Stadium even although not all of the aspects were visible. The scale and intensity of them were what helped set their tone. But having the video screens up on the roof didn't work so well; they were relatively small and it was tough for the crowd to see them clearly. I know that I didn't really appreciate the Mr Bean bit until I got home and found myself giggling at 4am (that might have been the champagne!)

Athletes Parade did pass a lot more quickly with real athletes rather than bits of rope and Gamesmakers on each end! And I did like our cauldron lighting... and I think many athletes really appreciated it being a central one that they could all see and take pictures with. As did many volunteers after the athletes had departed!

Overall though amongst the general public (rather than the Games geeks! ;) ), the reception to it seems positive and I'm immensely proud to have played a role in it.

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The wonderful song used at the Industrial Revolution segment and raising of the five rings, by Underworld

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I must agree that this ceremony was more to a British audience than world-one.

Yes, much of the references I did know (Mary Poppins, James Bond, Harry Potter, Industrial Revolution), but everything felt so "look how GB is great"... Is it the message for the Opening Ceremony... I mean, I agree with some that this ceremony looked more a Closing Ceremony...

But I was entertained and laughed with Mr. Bean (he is a succcess here in Brazil).

Time to look for the Closing Ceremony and what British will present together with Brazilians.

Anxious for it!

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For those who thought they were hearing things, when the coaches' oath was read here, the idea started with the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. London 2012 was the first regular Olympic Games to add this feature to the two other oaths. I will assume that Sochi 2014 will be the first Winter Olympics to recite this new oath at that upcoming opening ceremony.

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The NHS sequence had no real narrative

How come you say this?

I thought this scene was the easiest to follow.

  • Doctors, nurses and kids are having fun.
  • Kids go to sleep.
  • Kids have nightmares (monsters ect...).
  • Mary Poppins comes and saves the day.
  • Kids party with the doctors and nurses.

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How come you say this?

I thought this scene was the easiest to follow.

  • Doctors, nurses and kids are having fun.
  • Kids go to sleep.
  • Kids have nightmares (monsters ect...).
  • Mary Poppins comes and saves the day.
  • Kids party with the doctors and nurses.

That is really not much of a story. It is unaffecting and pointless. It has no real meaning and no relevance to the Olympic Games.

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I still cant get over the fact that there was a rapper at an Olympic opening ceremony, or a story about two people making out immediately after they first met.

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That is really not much of a story. It is unaffecting and pointless. It has no real meaning and no relevance to the Olympic Games.

And Atlanta's pick-up trucks did?

Sometimes it is ok for things to just be entertaining.

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That is really not much of a story. It is unaffecting and pointless. It has no real meaning and no relevance to the Olympic Games.

Because everything has to have direct relevance to the Olympics?

Try it's there because it's British - so relevant for London 2012

The scene incorporates much that is great about Britain.

  • The NHS is one of the best health services in the world (See Michael Moore's film 'Sicko').
  • Mary Poppins is known around the world and features in one of the most famous films of all time.
  • The scene includes the best selling author of all time - JK Rowling (Who is British, obviously)
  • It includes monsters from fairy tales and children stories - that Britain is known around the world for.
  • And giving actual doctors and nurses (and the children) the chance to perform in an olympic opening ceremony, well that is truly unique.

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The hole thing though just came across as chaotic and weird, I honestly didn't even know Mary Poppins was in there.

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And Atlanta's pick-up trucks did?

No, they didn't. I think London's and Atlanta's ceremonies are on a par with each other (as I said in my previous post). In my opinion, Athens Beijing, Barcelona and Sydney were all superior to both London and Atlanta.

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Because everything has to have direct relevance to the Olympics?

Try it's there because it's British - so relevant for London 2012

The scene incorporates much that is great about Britain.

  • The NHS is one of the best health services in the world (See Michael Moore's film 'Sicko').
  • Mary Poppins is known around the world and features in one of the most famous films of all time.
  • The scene includes the best selling author of all time - JK Rowling (Who is British, obviously)
  • It includes monsters from fairy tales and children stories - that Britain is known around the world for.
  • And giving actual doctors and nurses (and the children) the chance to perform in an olympic opening ceremony, well that is truly unique.

Here is what the Queen think about that:

queennails.jpg

And not a single f*ck was given...

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