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Danny Boyle’s intro on Olympics programme

Danny Boyle explains the concept of the Olympics Opening Ceremony in his introduction on the official programme, via Riz Ahmed on Twitter. Come share your feelings about tonight’s spectacle. Full page after the cut.

57 Comments on this Post

  1. red_wine

    Not one millionth of the unforgettable spectacle of Beijing. The Ceremony was a huge let down.

  2. Mattoc

    My favourite part was when The Queen climbed into the toilet…

  3. Jake G!!!

    Is Awards Daily Contender Tracker a whole new website just for Oscar stuff? And is it new or do I just not know about it? Im confused about this.

  4. Bummer red_wine, I knew London couldn’t top Beijing but I was hoping it would at least be pretty good!

    Beijing was so amaze balls I think it will be remembered forever!

  5. Jesus Alonso

    I boycotted Beijing – as everyone with a conscience should have done – so I can’t compare… But some parts tonight have been awesome

  6. Guess who said it:

    “Oh, my goodness, the United Kingdom, they’ve had a phenomenal year. I mean, they’ve pulled off a major wedding, a Diamond Jubilee and now, the Olympics. They know what they’re doing.”

    A) Michelle Obama
    B) Ann Romney

  7. Insider

    It was dull for most of the show. The great Paul was fantastic though.

  8. Mattoc

    So Coke is responsible for the Industrial Revolution, the Internet and Mary Poppins?

  9. steve50

    ^ More or less – didn’t you know that? It was during the IndRev that Poppins invented the internet when she realized the old brolly wasn’t a safe way to travel after a couple of hits. How else can you explain dancing penguins?

  10. So, am I the only one who liked the ceremony or what? :)

  11. I liked it fine.

    Let’s be honest, the Beijing Olympics was not edge-of-the-seat gripping for 4 hours either. It was interesting for about 45 minutes, maybe an hour.

    I’d say tonight held my interest for a good 40 or 45 minutes. I got my money’s worth.

  12. The worst opening ceremony i remember. The sequences with the nurses, the sick children and the giant monster baby were creepy to say the least. I also couldn’t understand their obsession with death. What was that 1 minute silense with the photos of the dead relatives, or the dance sequence afterwards?

  13. Mattoc

    ^ it was celebrating England’s invention of death, which was after they invented dancing but before the Internet.

  14. Bob Costas’ so-called moment of silence for the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Games 40 years ago lasted all of 3.6 seconds. What a letdown. Don’t just go to commercial. Shut the F up for a minute. Or did the IOC lean on NBC to keep him from doing it?

  15. steve50

    ^ PaulH, the Canadian feed said that a request was made to the IOC for a moment of silence – and it was turned down(?!)

    If Costas was able to squeeze in 3.6 secs, good for him. Something should have been done – these murdered athletes were due some acknowlegment on the 40th anniversary.

  16. And I thought I hated SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. What a pile of crap this opening ceremony was. I enjoyed the hell out of the twitter feed though. People are hilarious.

    Kenneth Branagh is the best British actor he could find? Cripes. Seriously it was like Boyle came up with a handful of ideas that were mostly bad and just threw them all together. No one in the US understood the nurse bit and everyone gave up during the stupid internet house thing. He should have stayed with stuff like the Queen and Bond and Mr. Bean.

  17. Not going to lie, but I so hoped the ceremony was going to have a Doctor Who segment, but I guess geek culture has nothing to do with the invention of the internet.

  18. I really don´t know what some of you people were seeing – this was probably the best Olympic opening ceremony I have ever seen. Grounded but imaginative, funny and excellently choreographed. But why do I even wonder that people who loved the technically perfect but soulless mammoth Bejing opening didn´t like this approach …

    Janya: At least they showed some scenes of “Doctor Who” in the TV-show-mashup (I think it was Tom Baker but it was hard to recognize on TV) and the iconic Tardis sound could clearly be heard during Queens “Bohemian Rhapsody”!

  19. RJNeb2

    @Manos The day after it was announced that London had secured the 2012 Olympics, terrorists struck the city, killing 52 people and injuring countless others. The moment of silence/ Abide with Me section was in memory of that.

  20. therealmike

    The worst part of the whole show was the clip at the beginning. This was an insult to every filmmaker. What a mess. I can´t believe the director of “Trainspotting” and “127 Hours” was responsible for this.

    Just about everything was kinda disappointing and just didn´t fit right.

  21. @RJNeb2

    Thannks, i hadn’t thought of the connection.

  22. rufussondheim

    I thought as opening ceremonies go this was a pretty good one, i only fast forwarded through the boring speeches.

    I think I liked it mostly for two reasons, I loved the hill (Glastonbury Tor, I guess) and I loved the music. During that extended medley that was designed to honor British music from the 60’s to the 90’s it really was entertaining.

    The China opening was technically brilliant, but, I agree with the above poster, it was kind of emotion-free. This, at least, brought back some great memories and for brief unguarded moments I felt attached to something bigger.

  23. Well, I did like the show and the reminder of the contributions to music and literature and Economics and whatever but, I didn’t see anything that reminded me of sports and the joy of healthy competition and teamwork and the….Olympics!

  24. evelyn garver

    The ceremony was pure Danny Boyle. That is to say it was loud, chaotic, and heartfelt. Sir Paul was amazing. The worst moments for me were Lauer and Viera explaining the Industrial Revolution, sometimes blocking out the voices of child choirs.

  25. Tero Heikkinen

    I liked these Ceremonies very much, the rich British culture at play. Though, I have not seen the whole of it yet, will do it later.

    Wonder how Americans would feel if UK had cut out a 9/11 -bit… Sounds very insensitive to me. NBC, boo.

  26. I don’t think the Ceremony was bad in of itself – though I’m not a fan in general of choreographed dancing that pays more attention to form than feeling – but oh my God the NBC coverage was horrendous. One of the things I miss about Canada is how restrained their announcers are, how they don’t say insipid copy every five seconds and how they assume their audience has a brain.

  27. i bet the same people who think the Oscars are boring and tedious/way-too-long think that this is the most “interesting” (a dumb-as-shit, know-nothing word at best) thing on television. so wrong.

  28. I thought this was one of the best ceremonies in a while: funny, smart, subversive and imaginative. A salute to free healthcare and dancers forming themselves into the shape of an ecstasy tablet in front of billions is amazing!

    I’m sorry but the twitter feed from American viewers was the worst, I hate to say it but I felt most of them who hated it were fairly ignorant and stupid, as in based off of their criticisms, things went totally over their heads.

    Also, I hate when things are compared to Beijing, nothing will ever be like Beijing because no one but China would subject thousands of volunteers and performers to inhumane hours and conditions for years on end in order to create an opening ceremony. Whoever said lacking in emotion was totally correct.

  29. The Pope

    I thought the whole thing was great fun. Part of its success was figuring out what was going on… and then bingo, it made sense. It was surprising, puzzling… but always fun. I thought Boyle was spot on in putting the children of Great Ormond Street Hospital there. Geddit? The Olympics is about physical excellence.

    And as for you folks who are sticking a finger in the eye of Britain and her achievements, the truth is British culture has had and continues to have an enormous impact on the global experience. And I don’t ever remember a head of state agreeing to be play a walk-on in a global joke. Fair balls to Lizzie for taking the jump! Nope, no one in China would have dared even suggest that one lest they and their entire province be thrown in jail. Britain ain’t perfect but last night, Boyle the world things of which we (as citizens of the world) can be proud and (as citizens of the word) can admire Britain to having given to the world.

    And I say that as an Irishman. Born and raised.

  30. DBibby

    Well I loved it. Quaint, quirky, tongue-in-cheek and suitably Britsh through-and-through. The forged rings were spectacular and the 7 young athletes lighting the flame was an inspired choice. The text messaging youff section was confusing and the farming guff at the start pretty boring, but I think Danny Boyle did a great job. The print reviews have been overwhelmingly positive too- I really don’t know what you’re all complaining about!

  31. “The text messaging youff section was confusing and the farming guff at the start pretty boring … I really don’t know what you’re all complaining about!”

    :)

    I wish we could see it edited down to the best 90 minutes, that’s all. And instead of letting NBC’s wall-to-wall chatter-boxes showboat, give them the roles they were born to play — the clodhopper American villains. Bond and the Queen skydive down to educate them, slapping the fluff out of their nitwit mouths.

  32. Mattoc

    In all seriousness, the UKs contributions to the world is both remarkable and appreciated. It’s time to give back.

    I will be sending over a Dentist and the blueprints for a shower straight away.

  33. Here’s why it sucked. (But since I’m a stupid American I’d appreciate ADL not reading this. Thanks.)

    He relied too much on recordings. Musical recordings and video recordings. There should have been more live performances. That whole thing about the internet, had nothing to do with the Olympics or really Britain/England. It was just an excuse to play a bunch of recorded music. (And movie clips full of Americans? LOL QUE?) There was a tweet directly after it from @London2012 (an official Olympics twitter) telling everyone where they could buy the songs they heard in it. So that whole amazingly creative bit was just a hidden television commercial.

    Danny Boyle with the world watching only used Rowan Atkinson, Kenneth Branagh, and an on video Daniel Craig. With all the British actors in the world that was how he chose to go? JK Rowling popped up out of nowhere to read out of Peter Pan when most people who were not British did not understand why those kids were in beds. The Olympics are global. You cannot expect people to know about some random hospital. And the nightmare/scary villains stuff. Why would anyone purposely make the Olympic opening ceremonies creepy? FREAKY GIANT BABY HEAD. I thought I heard THE EXORCIST theme being played. I mean, come on.

    I am a huge fan of the Olympics. And I would consider myself to be an anglophile having been a fan of British music, movies, and TV as long as I can remember. I was so looking forward to this. He could have done a million wonderful things but instead it was a very poor excuse for an Opening Ceremony. It wouldn’t even pass for a bad Superbowl half-time show. Paul McCartney sang one song. I think we all saw more of him last week on local news when they showed him singing with Bruce Springsteen when they were cut off by the curfew. Flying monkeys to go along with Artic Monkeys, who honestly, at 38, I don’t know. Maybe I’m too old, if not, then too particular. If they wanted a director to showcase British music why didn’t they get Richard Curtis? Bet that wouldn’t have sucked. And I was under the impression that the Closing Ceremony was supposed to be all British music. So if he chose to showcase music in this one, and then music in that one, all he could think of was British music. A film director. Okay.

    I’m sorry for those of you who have low standards, but every time someone doesn’t like something you think is great, don’t assume they don’t understand it. Maybe they just have better taste than you.

  34. Charles Dickens? No.
    Mr. Bean? Yes.

  35. Can we agree that the costumes for almost every country were hideous?

    It’s summer. They’re athletes. The less costume the better.

  36. julian the emperor

    Costume-wise: Mexico in particular was hideous. I watched the whole thing with a Mexican girl who admitted to its “insane tackiness”, as she put it. And what happened to the Swedes? Usually a beacon of good taste, but on this occasion they chose to look like a bad Abba-video from the tail end of the 70s.

    Other than that: a fairly ok, if occasionally befuddling, show with a strange mix of ingredients. The brits sure know how to put on a confusing stew. There was some really nice touches, though. The lightning of the flame was a well-thought-out gimmick, especially. And the rings being born out of an industrialist scenario of smoke and fire, as well.

    The allusions to Kes and Trainspotting itself were nice touches as well.

    Not as bombastic and grand as Beijing but it didn’t have to be.

  37. And the rings being born out of an industrialist scenario of smoke and fire, as well.

    When the Abraham Lincolns left the Shire I had no idea that rings would be next.

    The costumes are supposed to be ugly. They’re supposed to be representations of your homeland. That’s why the Americans were wearing berets and the Russians had on cowboy hats.

  38. Also, I hate when things are compared to Beijing, nothing will ever be like Beijing because no one but China would subject thousands of volunteers and performers to inhumane hours and conditions for years on end in order to create an opening ceremony. Whoever said lacking in emotion was totally correct.

    This up there.

    I enjoyed it. It was entertaining to me and I found it interesting. Absolutely loved the lighting of the torch and how the cauldron came together.

  39. Armando

    @Manos

    Watch Los Angeles 1984’s Opening Ceremony and you’ll be bored to death.

  40. The Olympic rings slowly coming together and being forged was a spellbinding moment. If you can’t appreciate that you’re better off avoiding the Olympics altogether.

    London trumps Beijing because it had imagination and verve over scale and budget. And Her Maj saying “Good evening Mr Bond” might be the greatest TV moment of all time.

  41. Tero Heikkinen

    Watching this again (and this time the full thing). Half an hour in, and this is the most awesome Olympics I’ve seen. I don’t know if the commentators in America ruined it for you? This is stunning work. Danny Boyle rules!

    And if Beijing had thousands of volunteers, so did the Brits. More than 70,000 in fact.

  42. steve50

    ^ I agree – watching it a second time was much better. Why do we need commentary, anyway?

  43. Probably half the population of America couldn’t tell you in what century the industrial revolution occurred. And were saddened to learn the United States didn’t invent air pollution.

  44. You guys are easy. :P

  45. Was anyone able to compare the BBC and CTV feeds? Which one shuts up the best?

    I wonder what the water-cooler reviews for The Godfather would be like if it was interrupted every 4 minutes with commercials for The Voice and was narrated by Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera?

    (though I will say, I’d rather watch the US Olympic Reach Fart team than the horse ballet billionaire barn dance competition. It’s not about the reaching or the farting. It’s about looking really glitzy while reaching and farting.)

    Let’s not forget, Meredith Viera is NBC’s official whoremonger for interviewing Donald Trump as if he’s The Pope descended from his throne. How often has she sat at Trump’s feet? A dozen times, at least.

    What I’m saying is, no kidding, I want to watch the opening ceremony again without NBC lathering it with chatty froth.

    This is why theaters frown upon people who text and talk all the way through a movie.

  46. Without a doubt Viera and Lauer had a great negative effect on viewers here and I was still able to enjoy it. So many original concepts and real outside of the box stuff. Great incorporation of Brit humor also.

    The worst part for me was Bob Costas and his fucking rude and out of place commentary during the parade of athletes. My favorite was when Uganda came out and he said, “Winston Churchill himself called Uganda the “Pearl of Africa” but he never met Idi Amin” Real fucking nice.

  47. That’s the thing. I watched a BBC stream of it in real time then rewatched it with my fellow Americans on NBC tape delay. So I hated it both ways after giving it a second chance. It was just more fun with my compatriots all cracking jokes about it. Costas has been an ass on every Opening Ceremony. I thought it was much worse when Katie Couric was his co-snarker. The only time his brand of assery is good is when confronting a bigger ass like his interview with Sandusky.

    If you guys don’t partake in tweeting jokes while watching major events, you’re missing out. I’ve been doing that since way before twitter. Used to be chats.

    You guys that live in other countries are lucky for these Olympics though. NBC’s coverage is ruining the Games in a way I never thought imaginable. You just can’t cheer watching tape delay. Takes away all the fun. And all the sports we love are on tape delay. And I actually had to spring for the extra cable to see tennis so I should be able to see the live stream, which you can’t get unless you have enough cable. But you have to sit through like 6 commercials before the event. And it’s buffer-y and slow. I’ve been through this sort of thing with figure skating, which is how I learned to just go straight to foreign streams. But you’d figure with something as big as the Olympics and NBC they’d be able to have a great live stream. Nope.

  48. rufussondheim

    Thanks for tossing Bob Costas under the bus. I despise him. My least favorite comment this time was when he pointed out that “Djibouti” would win the competition for the country name that makes one smile. It was like pointing out that it sounds funny and completely undignified. He’s a fuckwad

  49. I can’t recall what country it was, but Costas thought it was important for us to know that none of the flag bearers from that country had ever won a medal in all of Olympic history. As the camera zoomed in on this year’s flag bearer.

  50. btw, Samuel L. Jackson’s Olympic tweets are lulzy if you’re not already following him.

  51. Tero Heikkinen

    “You guys are easy.”

    It was you who said that WWW is not British. You are one of them Americans thinking it is YOUR invention. You do know that Edison stole everything and just put his name on it.

    USA USA USA!

  52. rufussondheim

    Ryan, that was Ukraine.

  53. Tero Heikkinen

    “Winston Churchill himself called Uganda the “Pearl of Africa” but he never met Idi Amin” Real fucking nice.

    I hate Uganda, too. But that’s because of American Christians. Sorry, but it’s true. Hundreds of gay people are being murdered in this country because of Americans.

    Spread Christianity all you like, but don’t do it by killing innocent people.

    From me, 2 anti-American posts in a row. Have to say something positive very soon.

  54. Tero Heikkinen

    You know what they do? People think that all gay sex is ass fucking, so they glue the bottocks together (or the hole at least), so that you will die when you’ve eaten enough. That’s an interesting torture. Read about it, cause I can’t – so my info is not all accurate.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjnrLt3VuSM

    Video is all I can do.

  55. I didn’t say the internet wasn’t British lol. I said that whole segment of the ceremony wasn’t British. It was a teenage romance and people watching TV and using the internet. Not particularly British. Geez Louise.

    And I’m not gonna glue any butts. :P

  56. Antoinette, I have some bones to pick with you.

    You say “That whole thing about the internet, had nothing to do with the Olympics or really Britain/England.” WRONG. The section was a celebration of the WWW, invented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a Brit, and the fact that social networking (including twitter, of which you are so fond) has only been possible because of his work. So it has EVERYTHING to do with Britain. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with the Olympics – the opening ceremonies are celebrations of the host country, and are used as a way to introduce the host country and its culture to the world. The show sections don’t have to have anything to do with the Olympics, and you’ll find past ones haven’t either.

    “(And movie clips full of Americans? LOL QUE?)” WRONG: only a couple with Yanks – Four Weddings and a Funeral with Andy McDowell, which is a very successful BRITISH movie set in the UK, and the clip from Wayne’s World which was to show the universal appeal of BRITISH GROUP Queen’s Bohemenian Rhapsody (something you Yanks wised up to about a decade later than the rest of us). The rest of the clips – and there were hundreds – were all British tv and film productions.

    “JK Rowling popped up out of nowhere to read out of Peter Pan when most people who were not British did not understand why those kids were in beds. The Olympics are global. You cannot expect people to know about some random hospital.” BUT YOU CAN EXPECT THEM TO ASK QUESTIONS AND LEARN, RATHER THAN BEING SPOON-FED EVERYTHING. Why does everything have to pander to the lowest common denominator? If it made you wonder, made you think, made you ask questions, then good.

    “I thought I heard THE EXORCIST theme being played. I mean, come on.” Actually, you heard Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield. A multi-platinum selling album that was a huuuuuge thing here, which single-handedly funded the start of Virgin Records. And just so happens to have later been used in the US for the Exorcist. But in the UK, it was a real musical milestone. Just because *you* know it as the Exorcist theme tune, doesn’t mean that’s what the rest of the world thinks it is.

    “Flying monkeys to go along with Artic Monkeys”. It’s ARCTIC. And not flying monkeys. They were the doves of peace – real doves haven’t been used at any opening ceremonies since some flew into one of the cauldrons and were killed.

    “If they wanted a director to showcase British music why didn’t they get Richard Curtis? Bet that wouldn’t have sucked. … So if he chose to showcase music in this one, and then music in that one, all he could think of was British music. A film director. Okay.” Richard Curtis uses far less music in his films than Danny Boyle. It would have sucked if Curtis had done the ceremony because he is saccharine and schmaltzy (you Yanks would have liked that though, because that’s what you do so well) and has his head up the US’s arse (look at all his films – they always have American characters or pander in some away to the US). Danny Boyle is a far more ‘British’ filmmaker. Danny Boyle only did the opening ceremony. He is FAMOUS for using killer tracks in all his films. He’s a real music aficionado. Listen to the Trainspotting soundtrack and you might just get it ….

    “When the Abraham Lincolns left the Shire I had no idea that rings would be next.” Typical Yank – a guy in a stovepipe hat HAS to be Abraham Lincoln, doesn’t he, because no-one else in the world ever wore hats like that, did they? Look up Isambard Kingdom Brunel on Wikipedia. That’s who Branagh was playing. IKB was rocking the hat waaaaaay before Lincoln. Sometimes, America, it’s not all about you, and you don’t like it when that’s the case.

    The Olympics opening ceremony was a fantastic celebration of Britain and its achievements: the Industrial Revolution (our invention), universal healthcare (NHS founder Nye Bevan’s famous quote “no society can legitimately call itself civilized if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means” might give the US pause for thought) and fantastic children’s literature, as well as the digital revolution of recent years, all were rightly celebrated. So what if was a bit dark and a bit scary? Children love being scared – that’s what Voldemort and the Child Catcher and Cruela de Vil (all British children’s literature villains) were all about.

    “I’m sorry for those of you who have low standards, but every time someone doesn’t like something you think is great, don’t assume they don’t understand it. Maybe they just have better taste than you.” No, I think you have conclusively proved here that you just don’t understand it.

  57. Ryan Adams

    This is a long-forgotten topic from months ago, but somebody should stop by and thank Pedalo for this great great comment. So that’s what I’m doing. Thanks, Pedalo. Nicely done.

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