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lloydbird's avatar

Non-Britons. What did you make of the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony?

Asked by lloydbird (8704 points ) July 28th, 2012

As a fully paid up Brit, I loved it and was very moved. But I am curious to know what other peoples thought of it. Did you get or miss many of the references? What are your thoughts please?

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22 Answers

funkdaddy's avatar

I love the Olympics and really wanted to like the opening ceremony.

I loved the bit with the queen, and it was nice to see her play along, what I really look forward to is the cultural pieces though.

To me some were really odd, I’m not sure if maybe that’s due to missed references, but I don’t think so. Maybe you can explain.

It seemed like the gist of one of the central pieces was “everything used to be green and simple, then we made smoke stacks, which put out a lot of smoke, and we were pretty proud about that really.”... I kept expecting something after that to represent more modern times.

I’m not down on the industrial revolution and think London and England should be proud of their part in it, but with the modern connotation (at least here in the US) of smoke stacks and pollution, I thought it was odd that they didn’t break through that gray, industrial, set with something that represented moving past that.

An American equivalent might be if we acknowledged slavery, the seizing of Indian lands and manifest destiny but then ended when the settlers reached the Pacific coast. Kind of a lot has happened since then and I think a lot of it has been good.

What did I miss? Is there a cultural difference in how industrial era progress is perceived today? Were the “modern parts” more subtle? I saw the Sgt. Pepper outfits, and military folks, but that seemed to be sprinkled in compared to the industrial setting. Am I just being cynical?

Mr_Paradox's avatar

@funkdaddy You kind of are. They are really trying to put forward that THEY spearheaded the Industrial Revolution an that we have a lot to thank them for.

Kayak8's avatar

I liked all of it EXCEPT the June and whatever his name was bit. The rest was fabulous in my mind and I appreciated the nod to history and well known Brits.

ragingloli's avatar

The olympics pass through me like neutrinos.
I did not watch it.

stardust's avatar

I absolutely loved it. I think Danny Boyle did a fantastic job in portraying British values. I loved the historical aspect and thought the transition from the pastoral era to the industrial revolution was executed brilliantly. It was quintessentially British – loved the humour, but thought it may be lost on some non-Brits. Rowan Atkinson and the Queen were excellent. Also, the nod towards great British writers was wonderful. I could go on and on about what I loved about the ceremony. Britons, you should be proud of yourselves!

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I understood most of the references (at least I think I did), and I also particularly enjoyed the bits with the Queen and Mr. Bean.

I thought it was fabulous, and it made my heart swell with pride for our British jellies. In fact, it kind of made me want to be a little bit British. God save the Queen!

The_Idler's avatar

The Capitalists were shown to be happy with industrialism….
the chimneys have quite a dark symbolism for the rest of us…

England has only been “post-industrial” for about 30 years of its most defining 1000 years of history…. so I think all the bits with kids and digital communications were not disproportionately small…. British identity is not defined by post-industrialism either, we’ve never been less sure of who we are. When people think of British identity, they don’t think of ‘today’, so it wouldn’t make sense to dwell on it too much.

I never normally watch this kind of thing, but I was trapped in an otherwise empty house. Honestly, I thought Danny Boyle did as well as he could have, in an “inclusive” sense… and had fantastic vision too. The NHS tribute was a master-stroke, with Cameron watching.

I think maybe the hardest thing for outsiders to realise would be the continuous connections to East London.

The finale was pretty epic, I must say.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Can this be streamed from someplace on the web without having to watch a gazillion commercials and Bob Costas?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I was delighted with the opening ceremonies. As a Canadian, I could appreciate many of the references to British children’s literature. Perhaps as a child born in the 1950’s, I was exposed to some of the same content as did my British peers to a greater extent than age cohorts from other countries that were mot party of the Commonwealth during their childhood. I was disappointed that no reference was made to any of J.R.R. Tolkein’s work. The tributes to the NHS and GOST were terrific. To Americans terrified by the notion of affordable universal health care, this tribute must be confusing!

gailcalled's avatar

I love any pageant where choirs sings “Jerusalem.” They did sing before the“dark ├čatanic Mills” actually appeared so I thought the timing was odd.

Sunny2's avatar

I thought it had a particularly British charm plus fireworks and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

blueiiznh's avatar

Yawn…

Buttonstc's avatar

I loved the appearance by the deaf and hearing children’s signing choir. Beautiful voices.

But inexplicably, they were all in pajamas. Huh? Can any Brits fill me in on what I’m missing in that symbolism.

I understand the kids in the NIH tribute since they were on beds being read to by the Drs. and nurses, so pajamas were quite logical. Bit the children’s choir appeared quite a bit before this part of the program skit.

This is really the first time I’ve ever seen a choir arrayed in pjs. So whats up with that ?

I’m honestly not trying to be nitpicky but it was so incongruous it was downright distracting. I cant be the only one who noticed it, can I ?

filmfann's avatar

It stunk like last weeks catfish.
The Queen parachuting with James Bond. Valdemort vs. The Mary Poppins Army. Mr. Bean.
It made me glad Benny Hill is dead.

DominicX's avatar

I loved the part with the Queen. I thought some of it was odd, sure, but overall, I liked it. I thought the torch-lighting was a little underwhelming. The location of the cauldron and the fact the torch-lighters weren’t really anyone significant was kind of a let down.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence But they did reference Tolkien! :D

downtide's avatar

@Buttonstc I think the deaf children’s choir were in pyjamas because they were also participating in the NHS scene as well. There would probably not have been enough time for them to go somewhere, change clothes and come out again inbetween scenes.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I loved it. All of it. I missed Winnie the Pooh, though.

Buttonstc's avatar

Thanks, @downtide. I guess that didn’t occur to me since it was significantly later in the program but now that you bring it up, that makes sense. I thought it was a terrific group. I also noticed a couple of kids in wheelchairs and I love the inclusiveness that the whole group represents.

rooeytoo's avatar

I thought it was great, my favorite part was the Queen parachuting. I do think she should have taken one of the corgis with her though. That cauldron is fantastic (I agree, didn’t think much of the “future” olympians lighting it, should have been Beckham kicking a flaming football into it or something with Wiggins on his bicycle), fireworks excellent. All in all I really liked it. God save the Queen ( they still say god there!)

Leanne1986's avatar

I’m a Brit so I’ll apologise now if I appear to be gate crashing this Q!

My dad and I were discussing the possibilities for our opening ceremony a couple of weeks ago and we both worried that we wouldn’t be able to live up to Beijing’s or Sydney’s opening ceremonies. Whilst Britain has a lot of history, a lot of it is so incredibly bloody and arrogant that we couldn’t really draw on it for inspiration for the ceremony. British history is full of sailing around the world and claiming other countries as our own, we weren’t a very peaceful nation so we can’t really show pride in that! “Rule Brittania, Brittania rules the waves etc etc” is hardly going to cause the rest of the world to like us!!!

filmfann's avatar

Considering the approach they took, I am sorry not to have seen King Arthur skipping up a hill with a squire behind him banging coconuts together.

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