Saturday, July 28, 2012

Not Even the Doctor Could Save This One...

Today's blog post begins with "True Confessions with Sydney". Bear with me, they will all make sense at the end. True Confession #1: I have never, nor will I ever understand what some might call "artsy" movies. I'm not a film or an art major, and consequently, movies like "Hugo" are lost on me. True Confession #2: I enjoy British humor. I like watching Dr. Who, and Merlin, and other such British dramas on BBC despite what other people say about them. True Confession #3: Even though it is rated "R", I did see Slumdog Millionaire and found it to be a truly great film.

So. Having said these things...I will now openly express that I think the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London games may be the worst Opening Ceremony that I can remember in my lifetime.

For those of you that may not have tuned in to the whole thing...please follow me on a journey while I give you a recap of the 2012 Opening Ceremony through my eyes.

We begin with a village green scene, complete with a maypole and ferris wheel, and a fake sea, made with blue material stretched over sections of the audience.

Before you know it we’re flying down the river Thames, past what seem to be characters from "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad" (a thoroughly terrifying movie from my childhood).All of this, by the way, is played to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sex Pistols.

But then...because it wouldn't be London without one, a choirboy sings,and the village (which looks uncannily like The Shire) comes to life. What follows is a long and unbearably dull reenactment of London's history from the agrarian age to WWII...all of which is narrated by the equally dull and painfully ignorant Matt Lauer and Bob Costas. (Meredith was wise enough to keep her mouth shut through most of it...)

Somewhere in the midst of my boredom, I find myself hallucinating that Gilderoy Lockhart is guiding this transformation in a top hat...only to realize that oh IS Gilderoy Lockhart in a top hot quoting lines from Shakespeare. There’s industrialists in top hats dancing and supervising the removal of the Shire, to be replaced with some massive smoking chimney stacks.

Then I guess there was a tribute paid to British soldiers from two World Wars...but here in the states we instead were blessed with a thrilling interview between Ryan Seacrest and Michael Phelps. I like Michael as much as the next girl, but I resent NBC deciding which parts of the ceremony I should and should not watch...even if the whole thing seems to be a train wreck.

They do something cool with the Olympic rings and molten lava, but everything is still in disarray and I am still very bored. THEN oh but then, my good friends...there's some footage of James Bond arriving at Buckingham Palace for an audience with THE ACTUAL QUEEN, and they’re off in a helicopter together, over London, to the Olympic Stadium, where THE ACTUAL QUEEN has parachuted in. 

Matt Lauer then proceeds to convince us all that he truly the believes Queen Elizabeth just JUMPED OUT OF A HELICOPTER.

After the queen takes her seat, we are treated to the Nation Anthem sung by a choir of deaf children.


Now there are hundreds of sick children in glowing beds (because it just isn't a celebration without sick children), and then a tribute to British children’s literature from Peter Pan to Harry Potter. Oh, and J.K. Rowling makes a cameo...things are looking up until...


This. Happens. Then there’s a massive baby in a bed.

And because I'm just not bored enough, they decided to enlighten the audience with a rendition of Chariots of Fire. But wait, Mr. Bean is there, and he is actually quite funny and not at all over the top...hold on...nope. They took it too far and made it dumb. Once again VERY. BORED.

I don't even know where to begin on the next bit because I still don't know exactly what happened. Here's what I remember: 1) A giant house that played the most RANDOM collection of movie clips ever complied into one event on the outside of it. 2) A lot of angsty teenagers sending texts to each other with terrible grammar. 3) Being hurled through multiple decades in a matter of minutes...not necessarily in sequential order... as a million drugged up Brits in neon clothing dance to a mixture of rave music and songs from iconic British artists. 4) TARDIS sound makes a cameo. Awesome. 5) Oh and somewhere in here two of those angsty teenagers fall in love and become Facebook official. Touching.

I was NOT kidding about the baby. 

David Beckham arrives at the stadium in the SLOWEST speedboat know to man, holding the torch.

Now it's time for the part of the Olympics where we all become aware of just how little geography we know...The Parade of Nations. On the brink of dying from boredom. This bit is always like going to your friend's graduation. You feel the need to politely sit through the other countries...but you're really only there to see the one, and when your country finally comes up and is shown for a whole 30 seconds, you realize just how pointless it was to wait through all the others.

Cut to Kazakhstan and focus in on Bob Costas referencing "Borat" like it's not insanely inappropriate and/or racist in any way.

Oh, but we're not done yet. No...we haven't seen the flying bicycle people yet! Because no Opening Ceremony is complete without luminous bird people circling a random band while they perform a poor rendition of a Beatles classic. For the love you this point I'm checking my house for traces of gas leaks for surely I must be hallucinating. 

Filler, Filler, Filler, Filler....Muhammad Ali....Filler, Filler, Filler, Filler, David Beckham...and FINALLY, the OLYMPIC FLAME plus more angsty teenagers??...Filler, Filler, Filler...JUST LIGHT THE STUPID THING ALREADY followed by a surprisingly impressive torch lighting...the angsty teenagers light a massive ring of metal petals, each one having been delivered by a representative of a competing nation, and they rise to form a huge flame. Actually impressed. 

Fireworks. Paul McCartney. Sadness because Paul McCartney is getting old and sadness because none of the American athletes seem to know the words to "Hey Jude"...and then it just ENDS. Just like that.

It was awful you guys. Just awful. Aside from the torch lighting,  and the cameos by J.K. Rowling and the TARDIS I was pretty much bored the entire time. I was bored, terrified, and confused all at the same time. I expected more from you, London. Ultimately, I expected more from Danny Boyle. How can a man create a great work like Slumdog Millionare then turn around and produce such a ridiculous spectacle? Have we come to the conclusion that Britain only cares about socialized healthcare and pop culture?

Perhaps, like Hugo, this ceremony was meant to be "artsy" and is therefore above my level of understanding. Perhaps the humor was just "too British" and I didn't understand what was meant to be funny. Whatever the reason...I will be saddened to know that the London games will forever be lodged in my memory as the time not even Harry Potter and Doctor Who could save the day. 


  1. Our American announcers bugged the crap out of me too. And I liked the beginning enough, and the Olympic rings were cool, bug I agree that the middle section was very odd and I also didn't like the whole nod to the digital age with that stupid love story/MTV music video on steroids.

    And I'm so sad you didn't like Hugo, which I wouldn't consider "artsy" in the least. It's a pretty straight-forward story about a man who's given up on his dreams... with a little whimsy thrown in.

    1. Yeah...middle section was SUPER weird...and you are correct in saying that the boy was not cute. As far as Hugo goes, I liked the overall story line, but I found the pace to be a bit slow, and I felt like they relied too much on pretty visuals to carry the film rather than really explore the story or characters, but others, such as yourself loved it, so I feel like I missed something somewhere.