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The Opening Ceremony - 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Thomas

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The Opening Ceremony [Saturday 28th July 2012 at 12:47 am]
Thomas

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I'm going to have to watch the opening ceremony again, partially because I started about 15 minutes in and so missed most of the first act, but mainly because it's so awesome and there's too much to take in in one go. Fortuantly I recorded it.

Anyway, here's a semi-coherent selection of thoughts on it. I should warn you, my blog posts tend to get more rambly the later it gets.


I did just catch the end of the opening act, with the still-glowing Olympic rings rising from the forges, dripping sparks on the way up. Presumably it's a homage to the industrial revolution - you've got the grand engineers of old in suits and top hats, with the workers and miners with their flat caps.


Bond and the Queen arriving by parachute! Okay, so the Queen didn't actually arrive by parachute, but that doesn't make the clip any less awesome (and they apparently did actually fly a helicopter through Tower Bridge).


A bit of random trivia for you: the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital still gets royalties from performances of Peter Pan even though the book is out of copyright. Last time Parliament updated copyright law they added a special exemption just for that. Much more sensible than the American way of extending copyright every time Mickey Mouse is about to become public domain.

So anyway, we have a good collection of villains: I recognised a giant Voldemort, a slightly less giant Cruella de Vil (of The Hundred and One Dalmatians), and the child-catchers from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (more random trivia: the latter was created by Ian Fleming, better known for the James Bond novels). I've no idea what the small green-eyed things are from. Fortunately there's a whole squadron of Mary Poppins to defeat them.


Haha, that's Mr. Bean playing Chariots of Fire. With Simon Rattle conducting, who I think elemnar has been conducted by.


The next bit is full of bits and pieces from British popular culture. The clip at the start with the weather forecast is the infamous "there's no hurricane" prediction just before the great storm of 1987. Later on there's a bunch of snippets from British comedy, and if you're paying attention then there's a Tardis sometime around the seventies or eighties. And at the end of it the house disappears to reveal no less than Sir Tim Berners-Lee!


The memorial is a surprise. I'm not entirely sure what it's a memorial for (if it is for anything in particular), but one possibility would be the 2005 London bombings which occurred the day after Britain was awarded the Olympics. The montage of photos with the music (An Ending, by Brian Eno) followed by the song/dance is certainly rather moving.


Now we've got the parade of the athletes. The athletes with their mobile phones out reminds me a bit of a Commonwealth Games opening, probably the 2002 one. At that time pocket-sized digital camcorders had just become common, and most of the athletes were waving one around as they paraded. Now it's mobile phones, and it doesn't seem like as many are recording stuff this time round.

The parade does rather go on and on and on...

From the commentary:
"Have any of you got 3D [televisions]?"
"I don't need 3D, I'm sitting here!"

Finally, the Brits have arrived (at about 11:55)! You could tell when they were about to appear due to the sudden cheering of the crowd.


Ah, so that's what the cyclists with wings are for - they're supposed to be doves. That was one of the few teaser clips that was shown from the rehearsal. They've done a very good job of keeping the ceremony under wraps - the entirety of what was shown in advance was an official teaser about 10-15 seconds long, despite there being a full dress rehearsal with the stadium packed with spectators. I am amazed it didn't leak.


And the games are open!

There's quite a difference in how the Olympic flag is being carried in, with the flag bearers gently ambling along. Compare that to the carrying of the Union Jack with the Army, Navy and RAF officers doing a parade-ground march. Still, it's an impressive set of dignitaries they've got to carry the Olympic flag.


Wild guess: the copper petals that all the teams carried in will have something to do with the flame.


I was right!
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