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London, 2012: VIDEO

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After an iffy start involving horses and pitchforks, last night's Olympic opening ceremony was dazzling. Sadly, NBC is being stingy with video. The bulk of the thing has yet to make it online, and what has made it online is un-embeddable. Hopefully that'll change soon. The lighting ceremony and subsequent fireworks show is very worth seeing, and is so far absent from the web.

In the meantime, please enjoy:

Towleroad-roadicon A clip from a segment of the ceremony celebrating British children's literature, in which Voldemort, the Queen of Hearts, Cruella DeVille, Mike Oldfield, and assorted nasty things menace a stadiumful of sleeping children;

Towleroad-roadicon A stirring clip of "the forging" of the Olympic rings (so called because that's what everyone's calling it, though nothing's actually being forged);

Towleroad-roadicon The Queen being escorted to the Olympics by 007. (The pair proceeded to jump from a helicopter, though NBC hasn't released that footage, either.)

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  1. While the 2nd half was much better, the opening was perhaps the most cringe inducing Olympic ceremony ever.

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 28, 2012 9:10:42 AM


  2. I caught the first part by chance thought the Olympic rings forging was nothing short of fantastic when they came together loved the way they used the industrial age theme then on to digital age.
    There was nothing on the web but obnoxious covering of that lunatic in Colorado.
    Something beautiful and moving is just not this countries thing it seems...its no wonder we are falling behind and drifting into are own lunacy.

    Posted by: VDUFFORD | Jul 28, 2012 9:23:25 AM


  3. I'm sure NBC are trying to butcher it in the way that the Sydney Games' ceremony was, with talking heads interrupting the presentation, entire sections excised to destroy the story and context of later items, music edited and looped. Somehow despite great sections of the event going missing, the US delayed broadcast still managed to run longer than the original event.

    Posted by: MikeW | Jul 28, 2012 9:31:48 AM


  4. The whole thing was a superb display of our Isles of Wonder. As a Brit and Londoner it made me incredibly proud.
    It certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea - I think non-Brits probably won't 'get' a lot of it - but it exceeded all of my expectations and it extinguished any remaining cynicism about the Games here. And that's no mean feat!

    Posted by: JD | Jul 28, 2012 9:36:21 AM


  5. @Brandon K Thorp: Do you mean to tell us that the Queen of England actually jumped from a helicopter and parachuted into the Olympic stadium?

    Posted by: peterparker | Jul 28, 2012 9:45:57 AM


  6. NBC is seriously the worst American network for sports. They ruin everything they touch in terms of accessibility. They don't even have the market cornered on moving fluff pieces anymore. Awful. Glad I managed to access the BBC feeds. Just terrific.

    Posted by: James C | Jul 28, 2012 9:58:44 AM


  7. "Dazzling"? That is among the last adjectives I would use to describe that ridiculous display. I will allow that it finished better than it started, but that is setting a very low bar. Musical hospital beds, sick kids, and a celebration of managed care is not my cup of tea, guv'nor. But, I'm sure I just don't "get it".

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | Jul 28, 2012 10:40:41 AM


  8. Hopefully, one day we'll be able to see it all - and I pray without the incessant chattering of Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera who pretty much ruined an otherwise awesome ceremony.

    Posted by: Mike in Houston | Jul 28, 2012 10:40:43 AM


  9. *eye roll*

    Yes Brits, only you Brits get you fabulous sense of understatement, irony and sarcasm.

    *eye roll*

    And what was up with the Olde to NHS? Is the NHS some kind of substitute for other organized religions? Trust me, if socialized healthcare is your cup of tea, others do it FAR BETTER than the Brits, France, the Netherlands and Germany for example. And no, Health Canada [another sacred cow] is not any better than NHS.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 28, 2012 11:03:31 AM


  10. It's always hard to tell who Ratbastard hates most, Brits or blacks.

    Posted by: endo | Jul 28, 2012 11:15:44 AM


  11. It was spectacular, they did a fantastic job. London is buzzing with pride and the atmosphere is wonderful.

    P.S. Please take Mitt Romney back, he's a idiot.

    Posted by: andrewS. | Jul 28, 2012 11:37:19 AM


  12. the childrens literature celebration followed the celebrating of NHS

    national health service with children jumping on sick beds and actual nurses and doctors

    & HA rombot the father of romneycare/Obamacare which he denies now having to watch the britts celebrating their National health care...something even the torries (conservatives) would never touch

    Posted by: say what | Jul 28, 2012 11:40:45 AM


  13. PS

    UK and Candaian NHS are better than US health system

    1- longer life spans in both UK and canada vs US

    2- cheaper health care with canada able to deliver at 1/2 to 1/3 the cost via cutting out the middle man leaches = for profit insurance companies

    Nationalized health Care is a National Security issue with for profit health care unable to deal with plagues, outbreaks, health threats to a Nation like a national system is

    Posted by: say what | Jul 28, 2012 11:43:27 AM


  14. You're kidding, right? It looked like community theater compared to Bejing.

    Posted by: HoldenSF | Jul 28, 2012 12:41:02 PM


  15. One day maybe I'll get to see it, although I'll probably forget about it before then. Did not air here in time delay, as far as I could find dialing around my hotel room channels (on holiday in Thailand). Have not seen ANY footage of actual games or competitions yet either. A few stills on the news, nothing else. NBC and IOC - very effective at crushing Olympic spirit. I hear it is much better where bbc reigns in the uk.

    Posted by: Spode | Jul 28, 2012 12:45:12 PM


  16. It featured David Beckham and Daniel Craig! What more do you want?!

    But seriously, being British and a London resident I thought the opening ceremony was fantastic. It has received almost universal acclaim in Britain which, for a nation known for its mocking and cynicism is unprecedented.

    The ceremony had warmth and wit and showed the world Britain for what it is: an open, tolerant nation which a rich and deep history, a culture of innovation and creativity and often contradictory and hard (even for the British) to understand. International viewers may not have understand every reference (reading reviews this morning I noted a lot of references that I didn't pick up on first viewing) but the organisers had to straddle a fine line in avoiding a clinical precise ceremony that would have left viewers cold or an overtly jingoistic patriotic ceremony that would have left most Londoners cringing with embarrassment.

    Some moments were genuinely moving and touching (the 7/7 tribute which NBC shamefully edited out) and allowing the athletes of tomorrow to light the beautiful structure of pedals that merged to become the Olympic flame was a nice gesture.

    Other moments were surreal. I don't think anyone watching believed it was actually The Queen in the Bond feature until she turned around to face Daniel Craig.

    It is also thanks to the opening ceremony that many of the host broadcasters showed a lesbian kiss for the first time.

    All in all a superb and unique opener by Danny Boyle.


    Posted by: Sasha | Jul 28, 2012 12:53:41 PM


  17. I didn't really find the opening ceremony to be "dazzling." It seemed like Danny Boyle had many, many ideas -- a few successful, and many more less so.

    Clearly, the forging of the rings part of the industrial revolution bit was the show's highlight -- it was the most visually beautiful moment, and perhaps the only truly moving moment of the show.

    But so much of it didn't really work -- the whole "lost cell phone" number was a mess. And trying to integrate filmed segments into the show (to cover for painfully slow transitions) seemed a bad idea. And while having young "athletes of tomorrow" light the flame might have seemed like a good idea on paper, it robbed the ceremony of one of its more traditional highlights.

    Overall, I think perhaps Boyle aimed his show a little too heavily towards a British audience, forgetting that the opening ceremony is a world event. And by attempting to be "cheeky," he lost the potential to create indelible, beautiful moments. Unlike China, this wasn't a ceremony that will be remembered or referenced long past these games.

    Posted by: D.B. | Jul 28, 2012 1:33:54 PM


  18. I'll take Britain's moving, humorous, and entirely human celebration over the regimented fearful dazzle of Beijing any day.

    Posted by: Hank | Jul 28, 2012 1:39:04 PM


  19. 1. the zero zero seven & HMQ full video can be found at Michael K's dlisted.com site.
    2. opening ceremonies are supposed to highlight the brilliance of the host country as well as embrace the rest of the world. the Brits seem to have the best sense of humour worldwide (most importantly, self-effacing) and have managed to inject a large amount in with their own cultural, social and economic heritage. if you wanted to better Beijing, then conscript thousands of under-age children along with thousands of others and force them to do what they did in 2008. or let North Korea host them next.
    3. NBC has a proud heritage of broadcasting dating to the 1930's. unfortunately, what they now have, and boast about, is nothing more than Entertainment Tonight style investigative journalism and sports reporting. Viera and Lauer should be banned from everything but the Today show and the View, to mitigate aural and visual affront and damage to the viewing public.
    4. IT'S THE OLYMPICS!!! HIP, HIP, HOORAY!!!!

    Posted by: vwdavy | Jul 28, 2012 1:41:25 PM


  20. yes china was more impressive with the regimented people...so much so that it scarred a lot of countries

    UK had more, longer, and better BOOM BOOM fireworks thus basically saying "Meh, so you can field a billion mind controlled soldiers but we have the bigger , better, and more bombs." Though those bombs are actually NATO thus US bombs but the point was made

    China = #s

    UK = BIG BOOM BOOMs

    & the propaganda keeps rolling on

    Posted by: say what | Jul 28, 2012 1:44:15 PM


  21. NBC Universal and Olympics = sheit

    Posted by: Joseph Singer | Jul 28, 2012 1:49:27 PM


  22. As a Brit I thought that the ceremony was fun and mad and glorious...just like us. No we are not Beijing (thank goodness!) and nor should we be. In fact, if you want an honest comparison then I give you the review by Mr. Ai Weiwei who knows a thing or two about how China treats its citizenry.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jul/28/olympic-opening-ceremony-ai-weiwei-review

    Posted by: Chris Holmes | Jul 28, 2012 2:00:22 PM


  23. There was an opening ceremony? Was that what kept interrupting all the commercials?

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 28, 2012 2:16:16 PM


  24. Rowan Atkinson! <3

    I didn't care much for the 'lost mobile' plot, but I loved, loved, loved the Olympic Torch! Gorgeous!!!

    Not enough Daleks, though. I was expecting Daleks during the story-telling plot.

    Posted by: Tanoka | Jul 28, 2012 2:41:30 PM


  25. "showed the world Britain for what it is: an open, tolerant nation"

    I love the UK, I've been there on vacation 7 times and I have to say, that's a load of rubbish. England is horribly xenophobic, the class system is still a smog that covers everything, and once you're outside of London and a few other places, woe to you if you have dark skin.

    The people on an individual level can be awesome but I daresay that the people of the Republic of Ireland would laugh in your face if you told them how "open and tolerant" their longtime tormentors are.

    The ceremony was OK, but NBC's coverage was terrible. Plus, I felt bad for Paul McCartney, he was in awful voice.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Jul 28, 2012 2:43:55 PM


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