As an English person, living in England, speaking English, obviously I watched the olympic opening ceremony. I was visiting a friend in Canterbury so I watched it at her house. We are cynical gits, so from the start we were expecting the worst.
I think watching anything like that is more cringey, and you become more critical, if it's your country that has produced it. I was very underwhelmed when the thing began and was worried by the sheer amount going on at once. However, once it started getting going, I began to like it. I particularly liked the chimneys that were hoisted up to show industrialisation in Britain. They gave the set interesting levels to work with.
A brave volunteer hanging from a chimney
I think most of the pieces of set they used were really great. The beef I had was that the cameramen didn't seem to be filming in a way that really showed them off. The extreme close-ups and extremely wide shots didn't show this set at it's best, and they only seemed to show close-ups of a limited number of things. I saw the same 3 blokes in top hats about 5 times, but never got to see some of the other actors. I also didn't get to see about half of the children's story characters which I was gutted about. It just wasn't very well planned, and was a real shame because most of the choreography was well-worked out.
However, I felt there were parts where even the acting and choreography were a bit all over the place. They looked at history, but only a small amount, and then suddenly looked at the NHS, then children's literature, and then there was some appalling crap with kids dancing about and dizzy rascal singing. That was definitely the worst part, and seemed to shoehorn in the fact that we're multi-cultural. They even pushed this too far, with hardly any non-white volunteers at the beginning, and then hardly any white ones later on, but a really long focus on a mixed race couple. It felt forced, and I believe it doesn't have to be that big a deal. I liked the children's literature part, but I thought they could have looked at adult literature too.
Mary Poppins making a dramatic landing
In some ways, they neglected to cover a lot of issues. There are so many amazing figures in Britain that could have been focused on. Not necessarily from the past, but from now. They included the inventor of the internet, which was great, but what about our sporting figures? It is a sporting event after all. I know they can't include everything, but a more careful selection would have been more inspiring. They seemed to cram in far too much, and do it poorly, rather than picking and choosing, and really focusing on why these people or ideas make Britain great.
Also, why did the Arctic Monkeys get two songs at a key time? And who chose "I bet that you look good on the dancefloor"? What does that song have to do with anything?! Disappointing.
I know I've moaned, but there were some good parts. The winged cyclists were gorgeous, Rowan Atkinson was hilarious (more of that please!) and the final flame piece and fireworks were lovely. The dancing was pretty poor, but we were never going to compete with the synchronization of the Chinese dancers were we!?
My favourite part, Mr Bean