Don't expect a rerun of Beijing: This year's Olympics will have a more understated character, better suited to their host country, organizers say. "What you’re going to get, generally speaking, is an image of the UK as it is, warts and all," says a promoter. (One example: Instead of Beijing's flashy Bird's Nest Olympic stadium, London's version is a mostly collapsible one.) But with Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle at the helm, plenty of Britishness will be on display at tonight's opening ceremonies, the Washington Post observes. Some 70 sheep will step in to represent England's "green and pleasant land"; James Bond will make an appearance; and there will be a battle between Voldemort and Mary Poppins.
There will also be nods to Shakespeare, a mosh pit (a taste of Glastonbury, apparently), and a singalong ... led by Paul McCartney, the Wall Street Journal notes. Athletes will race past historic sites like Westminster Palace and Windsor Castle, and royal family members will attend a range of events (Prince Harry will be checking out beach volleyball, USA Today reports). But Londoners already have mixed feelings about the event. Even an 84-year-old torch runner is grumbling: "Well, we’ve spent 9.3 billion pounds on it, so I guess we better go and watch now," he says.