Olympic Opening Ceremony 2012: Best and Worst Moments from London Extravaganza!

Danny Boyle's vision came into focus in London for the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, and his artistic genius left an indelible impression on my mind. As with all art, there were some aspects that left me breathless, while there were other aspects I could live without.

With that in mind, I'll give you my take on the best and worst moments from Boyle's Olympic extravaganza.

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Best: The Opening of the Opening

Boyle opened the ceremony with an idyllic pastoral setting—one that embodied the days before the industrial revolution. 

This is where the geese, horses, sheep and other animals took center stage, and they were in no way in danger of being emotionally scarred, from my perspective. But, I digress.

Kenneth Branagh stood in front of a gorgeous hill, atop which stood a magnificent tree. He recited words from William Shakespear's The Tempest in clear tones, speaking of the Isles of Wonder. "Be not afeared. The isle is full of noises."

Then, the scene changed. The tree was uprooted and beneath it rose thousands of workers, ushering in the industrial revolution. The workers swept away the pastoral scene, taking the grass, farms and animals away in place of smokestacks.

It was both stunning and chilling at the same time. It was also a brilliant way of getting the stage cleared.

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Then, they forged the rings. According to the NBC announcers, Boyle's crew figured out a way to not only give the audience the visual scene of metal being poured, but they pumped in the smell, as well.

Even more stunning was the fact that Boyle created a layout of the greater London region, which was underneath the grass. The path that the molten metal (fake) took to forge the ring was shaped just like the river Thames.

The entire thing was brilliant. 

Best: James Bond and the Queen

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There are so many funny parts to this one, so I'll just start from the beginning.
James Bond (Daniel Craig) shows up to Buckingham Palace in a royal town car—totally un-Bond-like.

Bond then has to wait for Queen Elizabeth II, who pretends not to notice him standing behind her. She finally turns around and acknowledges his presence while simultaneously walking out of the room. 

Then we're treated to a handful of closeups of the Queen's two dogs doing cute dog things—very odd, but funny in its own way.

Finally, Bond and the Queen take a royal helicopter through London on their way to the Olympic Stadium, whereupon they both jump out of the chopper and land outside the stadium, or so we're led to believe.

The Queen was a good sport to take part in this, and it was one of my favorite points of the show.

Worst: Story Time

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My wife hates me for including this in the "worst" section, but I couldn't help myself. 

Boyle wanted to give homage to the way Great Britain has influenced the world through children's stories. He created a scene where Lord Voldemort, Mary Poppins and various other literary figures took center stage.

Voldemort was terrorizing children in their beds while they tried to sleep, along with his minions, until Mary Poppins came to the rescue.
It was a bit too cheesy for my tastes, but if my wife loved it then I'm sure many of you did, too.

Worst: Digital Age

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Midway through the show portion of the ceremony, Boyle took us through four decades of music, with the back story of a boy and girl who fall for one another. The music started at the digital age and moved backward, then forward, then everywhere in between. 

It was long and drawn out, and I could have totally gone without watching this portion of the show. The music was loud, but there was no real energy coming from the performances. 

David Bowie did nothing to make it any better. The entire thing was a waste of time, in my humble opinion.

Best: Mr. Bean

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Full disclosure, here: I'm a huge Mr. Bean fan. I love his schtick. 

Mr. Bean showed up with the orchestra, hitting one key over and over again while the orchestra played "Chariots of Fire." He then became bored and started playing with his IPhone, which was pretty funny.

Then, Bean predictably sneezed. He then tried to find something to wipe his nose with, which led him to grab an umbrella so he could continue hitting that single key while he reached behind him for his backpack. 

Classic Mr. Bean.

Finally, they cut the scene to the "Chariots of Fire" beach running scene, where Mr. Bean ran with the guys from the movie. He then fell behind them by a fair amount, caught a car ride to the finish and "won" the race. 

This was an obscure reference to Fred Lorz, an American marathon runner from the 1904 Summer Games in St. Louis, who did the same thing (h/t ESPN.com).

All in all, Mr. Bean rocked Olympic Stadium in London.

Worst: Procession of Athletes

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know there is no way around this part of the show, but damn, was it long and drawn out. 

There isn't much more to say about it. Some of the uniforms were pretty cool, but it just took too long.

(Kind of stupid to be on the list tbh. This happens every year and it's always long and we all sit through it.)


They forgot the best BEST thing imo...

The Queen: Fucks Were Not Given.

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Now excuse me while I fly into the prevailing winds of FREEDOM.

and of course this post is an excuse to live-comment the games tbh. BBC1 Stream.

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