Danny Boyle, 55, director of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire, was tasked with the unique challenge of interpreting Britain’s history in an entertaining and meaningful way at the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony on Friday. While some like @JillLawless tweeted that the show was “splendidly British and magnificently bonkers,” others felt that the event was impenetrable and quirky at best.

The show featured 10,000 adult volunteers, 900 children, 12 horses, 10 chickens, nine geese, three cows and a flock of sheep, and was watched by approximately one billion people worldwide. In the UK alone, a record 27 million viewers tuned into BBC1 for the special event, the highest for any TV program since England's defeat by Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, The Guardian reported. But was it a success?

"We have to celebrate all that is great about the past but also all the potential Britain has in the future," said British Prime Minister David Cameron at a press conference on Thursday. "I'm confident they have done a good job and there were one or two moments I was really moved by. There's something for everyone."

For those who thought the opening ceremony was over the top, its defenders argue that the event was not without a sense of good old British irony. "Danny gets this," London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe told CNN. "He gets the Olympic Games, he gets sports, he lives in London, he's a stone's throw from the Olympic Park, and it was just such an obvious fit." Boyle delivered: we saw the Queen parachute from a helicopter with 007, dozens of Mary Poppins rain from the sky, and Rowan Atkinson return as Mr. Bean on the “Chariots of Fire” performance.

Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, who commented on the ceremony for NBC and offered tentative explanations to the event’s most puzzling acts, were particularly taken with the Franken baby. "I don't know if that's cute or creepy," said Lauer. The nearly four-hour long ceremony also regaled audiences with a lengthy tour of British music over the years, from The Clash to Dizzee Rascal.

But it was not all lighthearted. "I want it to feel like a very genuine expression of the welcome to the athletes and to the Games of the city, and especially from east London," Boyle said in 2010. One thing's for sure: Boyle's whimsical directorial effort, albeit less extravagant (and expensive) than the 2008 Beijing ceremony, has everybody talking about the Olympics.
Read more about the Olympics:

Olympic Athletes Disqualified For Doping

U.S. Olympian Josh Lakatos Shares Details Of 'Debaucherous' Condom-Filled Olympic Parties

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Diver David Boudia On London And Thomas Finchum

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Gymnast Jordyn Wieber On Training For London Games

PROFILE: The Audacity Of Hope Solo

Alex Morgan, Women's Soccer Star, Looks Forward To London

Who Got Kicked Off 'Dancing With The Stars'?

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Swimmer Brendan Hansen Lost His Olympic Gold Medal

The Phelps Family Reflects On Michael Phelps' Olympic Career

EXCLUSIVE: Olympic Gymnast Jonathan Horton Talks His Competition Day Routine

Daniel Craig To Open Olympics At Buckingham Palace

Uinterview | News: Lolo Jones Qualifies For London Olympic Games

Uinterview | News: LISTEN: Muse Song 'Survival' Chosen As Official Song For London Games

Michael Phelps To Retire After London Games

SLIDESHOW: Michael Phelps

SLIDESHOW: Nastia Liukin

Double Amputee 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius Blazing A Trail For South Africa

Ryan Lochte Beats Michael Phelps At World Championships

Read more about: