The London 2012 Olympic opening on Friday was pretty interesting. It's different from previous Olympics openings which were normally artistic and symbolic. Yeah, Beijing 2008 was a tough act to follow, so it was clever of the London 2012 organizers to go a different way.
The opening has been described as "very English". It started with a rural Britain setting, complete with real grass and livestock! :)
Next was the dramatization of the industrial era. One look at Kenneth Branagh's top hat, my kids and I instantly knew that he was playing the part of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the great British engineer/designer. Brunel is BIG in Bristol, having left his legacies in the form of Clifton Suspension Bridge, SS Great Britain and Temple Meads Railway Station. "Brunel" then aptly recited a line from Shakespeare's (world renown English playwright) "The Tempest".
|Smokestacks that appeared from nowhere :)|
|Kenneth Branagh as Brunel|
By this time, I could already guess what was coming. J.K. Rowling's appearance was expected, but James Bond and Mr. Bean were pleasant surprises. Yeah, besides the Queen, they ARE British icons. Mr. Bean was hilarious as usual, but it was the Queen in her first acting role (as herself, naturally :)), who stole the show.
|Mr. Bean making faces :)|
|A serious-looking Bond accompanying a smiling Queen|
It was quite late when the procession of athletes commenced. I have always liked watching this segment, when athletes from different countries marched in their costumes - some traditional, others, modern. This year, some of them were in designer togs! The Americans were in Ralph Lauren and the Italians, Giorgio Armani. Wow! Lucky lot! When the Malaysian team came out, there was a cross-over to team GB. Apa daa BBC!! Anyway, I managed to catch the Malaysian team's colourful costume. Hmm... looks like those tiger stripes have not gone out of fashion all these years :P. There were lots of negative comments on Yahoo Sports but come to think of it, Malay traditional attire has always been LOUD and the athletes were wearing traditional kebayas and baju Melayu. Try going to a wedding feast or cultural show in Malaysia and see for yourself...
|the culturally-correct costume|
Anyway, my favourite has got to be Czech Republic. They wore wellies and held umbrellas to humour the English weather?! Wakaka! Bak kata pepatah Melayu yang telah diubahsuai: masuk kandang lembu menguak, masuk Britain pakai wellies!! Sediakan payung sebelum hujan!! Good one Czechs! :D
It's just not the Czechs humoring the Brits on their English weather. One segment of the opening ceremony had performers ritualistically carrying 'clouds' around the stadium. Well, that has somewhat succeeded in warding-off rain thus far! :).
|See that cloud? :)|
The lighting of the Olympic cauldron was fine. Yeah, they still have to tout another British icon - David Beckham - who looked like a posh mannequin in the boat (remember that advertisement?). And if that's not enough, they had another sports icon, the legendary Mohammed Ali. Don't see why they had to have that poor fella, though. That aside, the Olympic cauldron was indeed one of a kind.
|Becks on boat :)|
|Bird's eye-view of the Olympic flame|
|Side view of the Olympic cauldron|
|magnificent view of the cauldron|
All in all, a memorable Olympics opening. Kudos to Danny Boyle and his team! :)