So, last night, London hosted the Olympic opening ceremony, which lasted just over 3 and a half hours, and was thought up and directed by Danny Boyle; English film producer and director.
The show began with pastoral England, showing farmland, children playing around maypoles, and generally showing London as it was before the industrial revolution began. One of the moments of utter brilliance from Boyle, came with the forging of the Olympic rings, which represented the Industrial Revolution in England, a video of the rings coming together can be seen here:
This moment, was truly awe inspiring, and I love seeing all the faces of the volunteers, and how they were so awestruck by it, so proud to be a part of it. Even sitting at home, I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, and what really made me smile, out of everything going on, was the look on Kenneth Branagh's face, of joy, amazement and pride. Branagh was playing the part of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and read a short monologue from Shakespeare's The Tempest. Which, to me, was such a wonderful thing, (mainly because I go to Brunel university, and study English Literature) and I was thinking about how incredible it would have been to have volunteered to help out in the Olympic opening ceremony, and then be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Kenneth Branagh.
Other things which showcased both Boyle's genius, and a very British sense of humour, was the part of the ceremony where Daniel Craig went to pick up the Queen in the role of James Bond himself. It was heart-warming, and charming to see our Queen acting alongside Daniel Craig (some might say a national heart-throb?...) and it was so plain to see that she thoroughly enjoyed it, as did the nation.
The next surprise was Sir Rowan Atkinson's appearance on the keyboard. It was a clever move on Boyle's part, (as was the entire ceremony) as Mr. Bean is recognised throughout the world, and the British people have loved Atkinson since the days of Blackadder.
I was so pleased that Boyle dedicated a whole section of the show to the NHS, and the work that goes into Great Ormond Street Hospital, having both staff and children performing; something with was truly, truly beautiful and inspiring to watch. The way that villains from popular British children's books were used as a metaphor for the nightmare of having a terrible illness, was really well thought out, as was the children being rescued from these villains by the ultimate nanny; Mary Poppins. I must admit, I did get quite excited seeing J. K. Rowling reading a section from Peter Pan, and even more excited when Voldemort appeared :)
The energy of the ceremony captured me, the use of dance, and of our musical heritage and culture was really great, and unifying in a sense, because of the way that artists such as the Beatles, Prodigy & Dizzee Rascal, among others, have wide-spread fame throughout the world. I liked the use of music throughout, although, putting the Bee Gees on as Fiji was walking out did get a tiny bit confusing from a commentary point of view ;D
I could go on about this, mentioning everything that I loved about it, but honestly, I loved every second. The way that every single person involved was thought of, the workers, even those who'd apply to help, but weren't able to had their photo on one of the dresses of the county name bearers. I loved that Sir Steve Redgrave carried the torch for the very last part of its journey, I loved how happy David Beckham looked driving a speedboat up the Thames, I loved that the young athletes were the ones to light the cauldron.
The cauldron though, is...incredible. There is not any other word to describe it, it was well thought out, genius, and totally originally. Unexpected, everything, and more. Made up of 204 copper petals, which rose up to form the beacon as a whole is indeed a fantastic piece of engineering.
Thanks for reading! Laura