Did you see the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games on Friday? I have to say that I was completely blown away…
I was driving home on Friday evening listening to the NPR (National Public Radio) in my truck when they started to talk about how amazing the opening ceremony had been. They also mentioned that the broadcast had been deliberately delayed for about three hours in America to give people time to get home from work.
Now, I had been planning on watching the ceremony, but only in a vague sort of way. Having heard the description on the radio, however, I headed straight home, raced into the family room, and turned the television on with just a few minutes to spare.
My wife (Gina the Gorgeous) and I then spent the next four and a half hours enthralled by the spectacle. If you watched the ceremony yourself then you know what I'm talking about. If not, I really recommend that you try to get hold of a copy from somewhere … and don’t read the following unless you don’t mind knowing what happens.
The idea behind the opening ceremony is that it should represent the country hosting the games, giving the viewer a feel for the history and achievements and "defining characteristics" of that country. If someone had come to me and asked me to organize this, I would have run a mile, so we are lucky that they actually asked Danny Boyle, who was the director of the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire.
So how would you go about capturing the "essence" of Great Britain? For myself, I was enthralled right from the "get-go" with the images of the White Cliffs of Dover and the English countryside – I don’t mind admitting that just these opening scenes brought a lump to my throat – but I had no idea of the glories to come.
So we start inside the main Olympic Stadium, the center of which is presenting an idealized display of Pastoral England from hundreds of years ago. As part of this, there is a very creditable representation of Glastonbury Tor (where "Tor" Tor is a local word of Celtic origin meaning 'rock outcropping' or 'hill').
Then the scene is transmogrified into a representation of the Industrial Revolution, which was obviously a very important part of British history. I still have no idea how they made the giant chimneys grow out of the ground like that.
Next, we transition to a depiction of the National Health Service (NHS), along with hundreds hospital beds, doctors, nurses, and patients (the next day my mom told me that the doctors and nurses were real doctors and nurses, which was something I had not expected).
Somewhere in between all of this we see James Bond go to the real Buckingham Palace and meet up with the real Queen of England. They both get into a helicopter that flies over to the Olympic Stadium, where we see what looks like the Queen and James Bond parachute out.
Couple this with the giant Lord Voldemort (who, as you may recall, my mother bounced upon her knee when he was a little lad – Click Here for more details) being defeated by a gaggle of Mary Poppinses (what is the plural of Mary Poppins?) … along with David Beckham piloting the speedboat carrying the Olympic Torch and its bearer…
…all I can say is that by this point in the proceedings my brain was going into sensory overload.
The bottom line is that I thought that the entire production was "First Class" as my Malaysian friend Freddy would say. And I for one certainly don’t envy whoever is in charge of organizing the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, because Danny Boyle has set a standard that is going to be very hard to follow.
Did you see the ceremony? If so, what were your impressions and what was your favorite part?
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