The Spectacle of the Opening Ceremonies London 2012

(PCM) The games are set to be a good one as we witnessed a transition of movements and times as we began the London 2012 Summer Olympics. The show began with a film depicting the beginnings of the Thames River, with an aerial view that included some waving citizens, using interpolations of classic and popular British music.

The ceremony began in a pasture, with the words of Shakespeare and songs of children’s chorus from the four countries in the United Kingdom, but that didn’t last long. Then led by a group of drummers representing the Industrial Revolution -which was fueled by England in the late 1800s – began to take shape. “Workers” came from all parts of the stadium and transformed the grass, mountains and hills into a factory of smoke, iron and coal. The hardships and struggle were shown in the faces and costumes of the volunteers and they took apart the stage and performed in perfect synchronization.

Each aspect of the evening was preceded by a video. The videos added a unique aspect to the evening, showing different areas and places of London that would not normally be able to be experienced. Although they were slightly cheesy at some points, the London audience loved it. In other parts of the evening, the videos were combined with the live action to make a multimedia performance. It was unique, although sometimes I wished to see more of the live action than the videos.

Next was the entrance by of the Queen who entered by parachute escorted by James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. The lovely lady (ok, it was a stuntman, wearing bloomers) jumped out of a plane with a British Flag Parachute. What a memorable sight it was as the Queen apparently floated down from the sky.

Next was bit of the National Health System where doctors and nurses tucked children into bed, but of course what child actually goes right to sleep when they are put to bed? A beautiful dance number of very cheerful children, doctors and nurses created quite a scene. As soon as the children actually lied down, many of the villains from British literature came crashing in. Many of these characters were ones that are known all around the world, goblins, Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter Books, even Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmations entered the nightmare.

To end all of the craziness, Mary Poppins came floating down from the skies to put the children to sleep. Beds, which were really trampolines, were filled with children bouncing and enjoying the moment. All of the nurses, doctors and children were happy and loving the excitement.

After a commercial break, Mr. Bean did an unexpected comedic act while playing the one repeating note in Chariots of Fire. The orchestra was fantastic, the music was lovely and he was very funny in the re-worked running on the beach scene from the film.

The evening then went  through another transition, from the Industrial Age to the Technology Age. Then unlike the nightmare of the last section – it was a parent’s worst nightmare: teenagers and technology at night. The underground Tube, which is the best way to travel in London was depicted with all of the teenagers Tweeting and Instagraming. The main scene is about the love story between a boy and a girl. They danced through four decades of English pop and rock music while projecting some of the most memorable love stories. Starting in the sixties, some of the music included the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and ending with ‘Bonkers” from British rapper Dizzee Rascal.

The dancing was fantastic and enjoyable as there were constant costume and atmosphere changes as they went through the decades.

The parent’s nightmare got worse when there was rap music and the party went “in the house” for a crazy house party. Then Tim Bernes-Lee joins the party, who is the creator of the world wide web. There were LED lights on each of the seats that allowed for images to be shown on the audience throughout the entire show. “THIS IS FOR EVERYONE” projected across the seats because the world wide web was for everyone to use and not abuse.

The torch continued up the channels to make its way to the Olympic Stadium, just in time for the parade of nations. 204 countries of athletes walked in, started by Greece because they began the Olympics. This wass then followed by the countries in alphabetical order and ended by the host country, the United Kingdom. The plaque holders wore dresses of people who volunteered in the Olympics to honor their generosity.

Fun Facts:

~ 81 of the 204 countries have never had an athlete win a metal.

~ 3 countries have a woman competing for the first time in their country’s history.

~ 4 athletes are competing as independent athletes and not associated with a nation.

The night ended with a performance from Sir Paul McCartney accompanied by people riding bicycles with dove wings. The image of the glowing wings and the music “Come Together” was very pretty and symbolic. The song ended as one man rode his bike into the sky like ET.

Finally, the Olympic torch was lit. Once it was brought into the stadium seven young UK athletes had the honor of lighting a single flame of the copper petals that each country carried in with them. The initial lighting ignited the 200 other petals which rose to form the Olympic cauldron. The evening ended with a communal singing of Hey Jude sung by Paul McCartney.

In general, the ceremony was enjoyable and fun to watch, although it didn’t compare to the wonder that was Beijing, it brought its own sparkle and excitement. We were shown in an artistic way a review of history and view of their pop-culture. It was very up-beat and enjoyable and it appeared that everyone had a great time. There were many symbolic and meaningful aspects which makes it a very memorable evening.

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