I don’t usually watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, but it worked out rather conveniently this time around, and even if it hadn’t, Danny Boyle – the director of the ceremony – is one of my favorite directors and I was really, really curious to see what he’d do with it. Something loud and weird and thumping and intense and funny and gigantic and personal, I hoped. He did not let me down. When Boyle – director of films like Trainspotting, 127 Hours, 28 Days Later, and Slumdog Millionaire – dies they should open up his skull, because I’m confident a 9-story steampunk rave will come exploding out of there. If you get a chance to see a broadcast of his stage production of Frankenstein, with Benedict Cumberpatch and Johnny Lee Miller you’ll be blown away.
A few thoughts on the ceremonies, as televised here:
Before the ceremony began, Bob Costas was talking about security concerns in London and mentioned the 1972 Olympics in Munich, and then general security concerns after 9/11. Tom Brokaw, next to him, then mentioned that, you know, I think there was a horrific terrorist attack in London, too! Yes, yes I think something did happen in a country that isn’t the US! In fact, they happened right around the time London was awarded the games! What an amazingly relevant and important example you didn’t mention, Costas! (Brokaw didn’t actually phrase it that way). Sometimes… sometimes it’s just embarrassing.
Also, before hand, a short interview with 2 American gymnasts with Ryan Seacrest. They gave the standard teenager stuff about the American gymnastics team being like a family. Seacrest asked one of the girls if she still loved Justin Beiber. She does. It was so interesting.
“Over 1 billion people will be watching the ceremony on television. Or, as they call it here: The telly!” Seriously. Seriously, sometimes it’s just so embarrassing. Seriously. Maybe they talked about going to the “loo” and having a “spot of tea” next, I don’t know. I was covering my head.
James Bond escorting the queen to the ceremony. Nice.
I love that Danny Boyle really emphasized that there are 4 nations involved in the UK. I would have expected no less from him.
The transformation from agrarian to industrial on stage was fascinating. Maybe a little long, but beautiful. The forging of the ring – which I choose to see as a Tolkien allusion – was very cool.
God damn it, Rowan Atkinson is funny. He’s just so great.
The commentators also mentioned how, truly, a lot of great literature has come from the UK. Huh. Really? Like what?
Okay, I’m calling it: David Beckham is a sexy man. It’s official.
I also really loved that this was a big, musical, explosion-filled way to remind the world, “In case you forgot, the UK kind of kicks ass.”
Oh, hello young woman in the digital-age dance number. How do you feel about enigmatic humor bloggers?
During the progression through rock n roll, they cut to commercial during the Sex Pistols. Booooo!!!
I try to watch the procession of nations. I really do. I made it to Brazil.
So… if you watched it, what did you think?