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.
Mary Poppinses drop in to the gala.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Paul McCartney finished the ceremonies with a singalong.
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.
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.
Artists dressed in period costumes depict a scene from Britain's past.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Yep, that's Voldemort.
Yep, that's Voldemort.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
The Olympic cauldron burns.
The Olympic cauldron burns.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)
Fireworks light up Olympic Stadium.
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.
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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