Opening Ceremony Reviews: Weird but Fun

After grandiosity of Beijing, London opts for goofy, fanciful

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 28, 2012 5:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – After Zhang Yimou's spectacular cast of thousands opened the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the pressure was on London to have an opening ceremony at least as memorable. And after seeing Oscar-winning Danny Boyle's $42 million spectacle, the verdict is ... well, weird. But entertaining:

  • The Hollywood Reporter calls Boyle a "ballsy" choice, saying his opening was "a unique take on large-canvas nation-themed spectacle that is likely to go down as one of the more eccentric and memorable kickoffs in the Games' history."

  • The New York Times said the opening was "a wild jumble of the celebratory and the fanciful" that presented Britain as "a nation secure in its own post-empire identity, whatever that actually is."
  • Five stars from the Guardian. "It didn't make a bit of sense, but what a thrilling spectacle and what fun."
  • At least one Brit wasn't impressed, though. Conservative MP Aidan Burley tweeted the show was "leftie multi-cultural crap." He quickly apologized, saying he had been "misunderstood," writes Sky News.

Mary Poppinses drop in to the gala.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Paul McCartney finished the ceremonies with a singalong.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)
Actors perform in a sequence meant to represent Britain's National Health Service.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Artists dressed in period costumes depict a scene from Britain's past.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Yep, that's Voldemort.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
The Olympic cauldron burns.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)
Fireworks light up Olympic Stadium.   (AP Photo/Anthony Devlin, PA)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II parachuted in, or at least Danny Boyle made it seem that way.   (AP Photo/Cameron Spencer, Pool)
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James Bond and the queen get things rolling.   (YouTube)

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