Friday, July 27, 2012

A thrilling Opening Ceremony in London

This is a picture I took from my seat at the stadium after the torch was lit, with the fireworks going off.

I just finished writing my column for Saturday about the Opening Ceremony in London, which overall I thought to be pretty thrilling and surprisingly funny at times. It had its dull moments, sure -- who knew there were 19 countries that began with a "B" that would all be in the parade of athletes? -- but in general was quite a show.

Here's a preview of the first couple of paragraphs. The rest will be online in not too long and in the newspaper Saturday (SPOILER ALERT: Don't read this if you're watching NBC's tape-delayed broadcast of the ceremonies and don't want to know anything about it.)

LONDON – The 2012 Olympics officially began Friday night with a visual feast – a jaw-dropping, confounding, surreal and spectacular show of almost four hours that was its opening ceremony.

“Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle spent $42 million trying to squeeze all of British history, pop music and culture into one evening, and for the most part his show was a resounding success even when it didn’t make a lot of sense.

It ended at 12:45 a.m. in London after seven young British athletes lit a torch that had been hidden in plain sight. Paul McCartney then wrapped it up with “Hey Jude,” letting the stadium joyously serenade itself with the “Na-na-na-na” chorus.

With inspired pre-filmed bits like the one with James Bond and the Queen (yes, the real Queen Elizabeth II, playing herself) to live action sequences where a horde of Mary Poppinses flew in on umbrellas to vanquish a group of nightmarish villains from children’s literature, this opening ceremony was rarely understated.

But that’s OK – they aren’t supposed to be. While in magnitude it was not to the scale of the overwhelming opening ceremony China showcased in Beijing four years ago, this lid-lifter did have something that one lacked: a sense of humor.


Anonymous said...

If only Matt would SHUT IT!

Bill said...

The ceremonies are more entertaining than I had expected. Not as creepily scripted as Beijing.

Cliff said...

Looks like you had awesome seat. The torch lighting was amazing. I don't think many of the athletes had ever heard "Hey Jude"