Beijing May Have Had a Mind-Boggling Event, BUT the British Proved the Olympic Games Are Seriously Fun!
The Beijing Olympic Games were ‘pomp and circumstance’ to the highest order, with most people saying that no country will ever outdo them when it comes to hosting the Games. It’s no wonder really, since they actually poured forty billion dollars into their Olympic moment. Britain on the other hand had less than fifteen billion to utilize in order to ‘wow’ the world and, quite frankly, they did it!
I want to really touch upon everything that London brought out on Friday – firing on all cylinders to show the world history, entertainment, skill, talent, and the one thing that’s been lacking over the past few years – fun! They even registered a “ha, ha” to the world (especially the U.S.) by honoring their outstanding healthcare program for all citizens. (I hope our so-called leaders understood that one!)
Beijing will, perhaps, go down as the biggest spectacle, but London’s opening ceremonies – at least from this girl’s perspective – brought the Olympics back to where they ought to be. The Olympic Games are all about the ‘best of the best’ going for that golden moment. It’s about blood and sweat, the honor to your country, Wheaties box covers, tears of joy, and spectacular surprises; it’s a true thrill for adults so they can feel like kids again as they sit back and enjoy the show! And that’s what London returned to the Olympic Games.
It was extremely cool and down-to-earth that it was not the ‘big name’ that lit the torch this year; it was seven teenage athletes who lit the copper petals perched in the Olympic Stadium, showing the world that this is THE place to achieve dreams no matter what your age or rank in the world. The fireworks rivaled that of New York City on New Year’s Eve! They were beyond impressive! But to also add in the big names and familiar faces in odd, entertaining ways was really refreshing, because you just never knew who was going to come next.
It was beyond cute (and a big shout out to all the women out there who dream about this man coming home for dinner) that the handsome local star, David Beckham, was the one manning the speedboat that transported the Olympic flame under the brightly lit Tower Bridge to the stadium. And THEN when the fireworks were at their peak, the one band that will always remain the ultimate British Invasion sort of showed up, when Paul McCartney made sure that the Beatles were there in spirit singing, Hey Jude. But he was not the only rocker given the spotlight. One of my favorites, Queen, made their appearance, as well. And even ‘The Greatest’ – Muhammad Ali – was on hand to help carry the Flag into the Stadium.
What was the coolest part? Blimey! That’s it!! When that black car pulled up in front of Buckingham Palace and a man’s very well-toned figure stepped out in his tuxedo and headed up the stairs, the camera followed behind him. Daniel Craig – 007 – was the only security needed to bring the Queen to the Olympics and he made sure that no ‘bad guys’ could get near her! He and the Queen lifted off in a helicopter and then proceeded to parachute into the stadium. Yes, it was all simulated, but who cares! ‘Bond, James Bond,’ solidified his ranking once again as the most suave (and hot) security man in the business.
My heart raced as one of the best actors in the world (in my mind) appeared. Kenneth Branagh proved to the viewers at home that the Brits always knew their literature, as he paid a homage to Shakespeare by reading from, “The Tempest.” (The guy is the epitome of regal actors.) The “Isles of Wonder,” which is what the London Opening Ceremony was named, was taken from, “The Tempest,” and the giant bell used during the ceremony was inscribed with the line: Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises. Those noises were deafening and (I hate to keep saying this word but it’s STILL the only one that truly fits) COOL!
Shakespeare was not the only literary powerhouse to get a nod. It is absolutely true that the Brits know their books, and they are certainly still the Kings when it comes to children’s literature. From the great Charles Dickens to the incredible tales of Peter Pan and Mary Poppins, everyone’s favorite characters were on hand for the ceremony. Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, read the opening to Barrie’s classic, and it was a good thing she was there. Because when it came to the ultimate ‘bad guy’ appearance, Lord Voldemort arrived! Even though he’s certainly more ‘present-day’ then classic, he will remain the scariest wizard and most evil Dark Lord to ever grace the pages of a book. (It would have been REALLY cool if Daniel Radcliffe had picked up that wand and showed himself just one more time. But, at least we have the books and DVD’s to make him appear whenever we feel like it).
Mr. Bean, one of my favorite slapstick comedians, was also spotlighted in a skit. Sitting with the London Symphony Orchestra, he played along as he brought into his mind the memorable scene from ‘Chariots of Fire’ as they ran along the beach. Bean is second only to Bond as far as I’m concerned, and he allowed the audience on hand and at home a chance to laugh out loud!
Who do we have to thank for an Opening Ceremony that was a real JOY to watch? Danny Boyle. If you don’t recognize the name, I’m surprised. This is the English film producer and director who had a huge hit with Slumdog Millionaire – not to mention many other well-known films. He was the man who put together this memorable start to the 2012 Olympic Games by giving the crowd a little bit of everything ‘British.’ Cricket, a rural countryside, Glastonbury Tor…from the rural beauty of the landscape and the mysteries that still abound when it comes to King Arthur and so much more, to an homage given to the hardworking men and women of Britain’s industrial revolution – it was a night of wonders and charm.
Queen Elizabeth II officially declared the Games open and she should be very, very proud of her people and her country. The British truly showed their class and attitude in this show. And, no, it was not the thrills and chills and coordination of Beijing – it was better. It was real. It made families want to actually tune into the Olympic Games each and every day to see the happy, excited faces of people receiving that hard-to-get medal.
Danny Boyle, we thank you. You gave us the “Isles of Wonder” and did an A+ job!
Enjoy the Games!
Until Next Time, Everybody,