Danny Boyle Delivers Quirky Olympics Opening Ceremony – And Gets Mixed Reviews
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.