Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thoughts on the Olympic Opening Ceremony

- It worked. Potentially difficult conceptually but it was brought off well, and I really enjoyed it. But then I am fully uncynical about the Olympics, so am a bit biased. It was a marked change from Beijing.

- That said bits of it were more effective if you knew your references than others.

- The hill  built in the stadium was cool, especially as it appeared in close ups to have real dirt and grass on it.

- Watching it free to air meant some context was missed, as well as some setpieces, due to ad breaks. I only found out afterward what the whole "Abide with Me" thing was about. although I thought it was a lovely rendition.

- The setpiece of forging the Olympic Ring in the stadium was awesome. And the doves on bikes.

- This is the first time I have watched one of these things with a child alongside who needs things explained to. Particularly why daddy found the pogo-ing punks on pogos so hilarious (that was just inspired).

- The music era thing was cool (and made me think that while Rock music was technically invented in the US, it took the British to make it properly kick arse).

- I love it when directors choose good popular music as soundtracks (and in this case some pretty alternatively informed selections) for big events. It is so much easier to engage with music you already know and love than some over-earnest, usually over produced and slightly cringy commissioned piece you will likely never hear again. Plus hearing relatively obscure album tracks and recognising them from albums you own always feels ego-stroking good.

- Using movies as well was cool.

- I liked that there was a feeling of a deliberate decision on the part of the producers to make the ceremony both non traditional, knowingly self deprecating, and more interesting for certain demographics. Namely mine :).

- The Queen gets kudos points for participating in the James Bond parody, but loses some for appearing totally disinterested in person at the ceremony itself. She might have been having a good time, but looked bored, most notably during the lingering close up of her checking her nails while the Great Britain team entered the stadium. You could almost hear the producer screaming "Get me another shot, any shot!".

- The Parade of Athletes is always fun, for the uniforms (especially the Czechs in gumboots) and seeing people buzzed to be there. Although according to the three year-old the Fijian flag bearer was naughty for not having a shirt on. I'm sure though that many interested viewers might disagree on that point

-I also noticed the out of uniform Indian at the time, and wondered what was up.

-Adding to the non-traditional aspects, both the lighting of the cauldron, and the cauldron design itself were brilliant. Simple but clever concept.

-Sir Paul McCartney at the end didn't quite work so well. Still, could have been worse, could have been Status Quo.

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