Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Danny, champion of the world!

Danny Boyle is the critically acclaimed director of 2009's sleeper movie hit, Slumdog Millionaire.
It's great! Britain. Danny Boyle is a legend! 
I am still marvelling at his Olympic "Isles of Wonder" four full days later. I have struggled in vain ~ I fully intended to keep quiet on this topic and leave all the comment to professional bloggers and journos. I simply can't, such is my delight and amazement ~ I need to blurt it all out...
All that detail, the art direction, set design, music, vision ~ absolutely cinematic in it's ambition. How I loved the narrative, "this is new"! From the opening sequence and the overhead shot of our "Green and Pleasant Land", bucolic, complete with cottage, village green, geese, sheep, cricket and seemingly the cast of Larkrise to Candleford all the way through to the burnished copper brilliance of the Olympic fire-flower it was a triumph.
The London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony
The costumes were so brilliantly realised throughout the piece, the colour  and mood shifts between each of the acts, reinforced by the soundtrack and lighting...it made me long for closing credits, so that all involved could be congratulated.
Thanks to that drum beat, Dame Evelyn Glennie and Underworld the ceremony moved relentlessly onwards towards the Industrial Revolution. Dark, brooding, smoke filled ~ somewhere between a Lowry painting and a Big Country album cover!
The London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony
Those industrial chimneys being ripped from the earth as the green and pleasant literally rolled away, workers forging 5 rings ~ amazing visual effects to pull off in an arena, live ~ and those rings levetating in the night sky, sparks flying...awe inspiring.
Corgis, not just run of the mill corgis, comic corgis, Royal corgis! Bond, Her Maj. and a waving Winston Churchill...
At this point I began to think, "how on earth is he going to follow this?" Of course! The NHS ~ brilliant. Showing his working class credentials and flexing some political muscle, good for you Danny. Again the art direction superb, costumes and fabulous lighting. The colour palette in this section was perfect, cool clean crisp pastels and pure white light. The Stars? Children and real NHS staff ~ masterstroke.
Julie Darnell loved her Olympics 2012 opening ceremony experience
And so to literature, a celebration of children's writing. JK Rowling, the Child Catcher and Voldermort...thank heavens for all those gorgeous Mary Poppins, although I must confess I was secretly hoping for The Doctor.

Next, a race through film, TV and music all tied together by a boy meets girl story...luckily they had social media to bring them together. And all thanks to Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web who was revealed to great applause.

The memorial to the victims of the London bombings (that happened the day after it was announced London had was to host the games) was stunning. Mesmerising coreography by Akram Kahn and a beautiful performance of "Abide with me " by Emeli Sande.

After the triumphant entrance of Team GB to the strains of David Bowie's 'Heroes" came my highlight. Those Dove bikes accompanied by the Arctics playing "Come Together" so cool! Perfect after the the supreme efforts of "Le Wiggo". I hope Mr.Spielberg enjoyed the dove bike that took flight ~ I loved that nod to him ~ the camera work on that was great too.(Love this article with more insight .)
The 75 'dove bikes', 70 ridden by volunteers found on internet cycling forums, rehearsed in secrecy
Arctic Monkeys, Paul McCartney and Two Door Cinema Club frontman Alex Trimble all performed at the climax of the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games.  Arctic Monkeys played 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor' and a cover of The Beatles' 'Come Together' - in front an estimated global audience of a billion people.
Ok, Ok I know enough of the gushing. This post is packed so full of superlatives I suspect some will read it scornfully, and that's fine. I simply want to come back to this in the future weeks, months and years and try to remember some of the incredible images and theatre we witnessed and how wonderful it all was.
 As Seb said "...this is our time...and we did it right." 

Final words to Danny Boyle
"Beijing is something that, in a way, was great to follow."
"You can't get bigger than Beijing, you know? So that in a way, kind of liberated us. We thought OK good, we'll try to do something completely different."

You certainly did that Danny! It's a great big thumbs up from this tiny corner of the "Isles of Wonder".


  1. A great review of the evening and I agree with you - a special event and I hope Mr Boyle gets some formal recognition for his hard work & vision.

  2. I agree it was a triumph; uniquely British and slightly bonkers! Great post - gush away ;-)

  3. So you liked then? I was awe struck as how seamlessly it all went together and how on earth did he do it! It truly was a celebration and i wonder what the rest of the world made of it. Abide with me was so breathtakingly beautiful I sobbed all the way through it. A true spectacle, and don't we do it magnificantly - well Danny did jayne x

  4. I loved it so much, absolutely brilliant! x

  5. My sister and I are right with you - it was just super! How to follow the queen sky diving - nothing ever can!!! heeheeheeheeheeee! Don't forget Mr. Bean and the 'naaaa, na, na, na, na, na, naaaa, na, na, na, naaaa, na, naaaaaas' at the end!!! After all the show and all of the ceremony - leave it to Paul McCartney to bring it and everyone all together as one big warm happy family!

    Ah! It was just stellar!!!

    and, now, we have Michael Phelps who, I think, is a bigger hero, now, because of winning the silver and being so gracious about it!!!

    But, because the only live free streaming that my sister and I could find was BBC1 - we've defected... out of neccesity, we say, "Go team GB!!!" ;) =]


  6. The Opening Ceremony was live at 5.30 a.m. for us here in Australia and while I didn't see the whole ceremony (my 12 year old daughter got up early to watch!) what I did see was ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. There was nothing else to talk about but the Opening Ceremony for a couple of days afterwards.

  7. Couldn't agree more with your post I'm am so proud of being British and a Mum, my son was part of the Danny Boyle team that put the ceremony together, one of the editors. Everything was filmed at rehearsals and then worked over til all the timing was just right. Brilliant

  8. Your review of the games takes so beating too! It was wonderful and with so much packed into the opening ceremony it was a great reminder of the event. I enjoyed it very much and I like the way that it included so many children and young people including giving the role of lighting the flame.
    Sarah x

  9. What a tremendous review of a truly tremendous occasion. We have been in Spain and we watched it on TV in a little snack bar. We laughed out loud and clapped like loons when the Queen parachuted in it was hilarious!
    Hope you are well.
    Lisa x

  10. A great review and I agree with everything you have said. I absolutely loved all of it apart from McCartney at the end. I think we absolutely did ourselves proud. Totally brilliant in every way. Fiona x

  11. I couldn't agree with you more...it seemed magical, like watching a theatre production, but on a massive scale...it was breathtakingly spectacular and superbly British and aren't we all so very proud...definitely an Olympic opening to remember for years to come...Have a lovely weekend! Sharon x

  12. I fully agree with you. I live in the US and I was so enchanted with the opening ceremonies. You Brits did yourselves proud. I was fascinated by all the different scenes and the lighting of the torch was the BEST I have ever seen.


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