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First off, let me point out that this is my own personal opinion, but what the hell were they thinking when they let Movie director Danny Boyle conceive and put together the opening ceremony of the London Olympics?
What a hodgepodge of confusing history lessons about Great Britain’s contribution to the further advancement of mankind. No wonder the sun has set on the British Empire.
Now don’t get me wrong, I lived in London for several years and had one of the best times of my life. London is a stunning city that treasures its past and protects its heritage. I also love the English people, the beautiful English countryside, Brighton, Shakespeare, and most of all, London’s West End with all of its marvelous theatres. None of that admiration or wonder came to mind last night watching the stodgy and borderline amateurism of director Boyle’s vision, or lack thereof.
My mind went instantly to the opening of the Beijing Olympics. I know, I know, they had untold thousands of people and government monies to create that almost unbelievable spectacle. Remember the flowers turning into children?
So what does Mr. Boyle give us… hundreds of men and women vomiting out of a hole in a grassy hill in the middle of the stadium. The poor working class upon whom the backs of the industrial revolution was born. How inspired and excited were you to see industrial smokestacks raising up form the stadium floor? Now there was a real show stealer. Then the well-known actor/director Sir Kenneth Branagh, looking ridiculous in a black silk top hot and a giant cigar stuffed in his mouth, read some actually wonderful lines from Shakespeare. Who else thought he looked smug and uncomfortable? I did think, however, that the forging of the rings was a brilliant stroke and exciting to watch. Hope rose, briefly, that we yet were going to see something powerful.
But when the sky started raining Mary Poppins I almost gave up hope of any sublime moment that would lift the proceedings to the stature of an Olympic opening ceremony. Then they announced Sir Simon Rattle conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in the music from the opening scene of Chariots of Fire. Aha! Something classy and gripping at last! Alas, not to be. Up popped the English comedian Rowan Atkinson at a piano doing the shtick that he is so famous for, sending the whole effort tumbling down Alice’s rabbit hole into some kind of vaudeville nonsense. But director Boyle like a kamikaze pilot went even further by inserting Atkinson into the actual film clip
attempting to keep up with the real actors in the movie. It must have looked better on paper. Cheap laughs with a billion people watching world wide? How disappointing for a nation with such a magnificent cultural heritage.
My mind kept drifting to my memories of the glorious, stunning and creatively inspired opening ceremony at the Barcelona Olympics. People around the world were talking about it for days. It was electric, it was worthy of the Olympics and it’s superb athletes. Shame on Danny Boyle and shame on the English functionaries who supported his paltry lack of vision on such a history-making occasion.