Olympics Opening Ceremony Spoilers and Review: River Dance and Glee had a baby that pukes British celebrities
Most importantly -- Paul McCartney doesn't play until three hours and forty minutes into the damned thing. He kicked off with "Golden Slumbers" and then played "Hey Jude" -- looking awful at age 70, but still sounding phenomenal. Arctic Monkeys warmed up for him -- they played the Beatles' "Come Together" without bringing out Sir Paul! The cauldron was lit at 12:36 a.m. Saturday morning London time, as part of a nearly four-hour show overall. And this was on the BBC's commercial-free broadcast. No way to know how NBC will cut components of the show and add commercials, but you figure they'll keep the same general order of events.
Know why they hold the Olympics only once every for years? Because that's how long it takes for you to forget how lengthy and awful the Opening and Closing ceremonies really are, and then become intrigued by the prospect of watching them again. Film director Danny Boyle's Olympics Opening Ceremony show is a bafflingly cheesy and over-dramatic retelling of British history in musical theater format with some seriously "Lord of the Rings"-looking props and sets.
The overblown "musical history of Britain" part of the show takes up the first full hour and twenty minutes. The theatrics feature plenty of cameos from British celebrities, the highlight of which is Mr. Bean playing in the London Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Bean is a synthesizer player who can only only play one note over and over -- just like Linda McCartney when she was in Paul McCartney and Wings!
There is a terribly unfunny gag with Daniel Craig where they make it look like Queen Elizabeth parachutes from a helicopter with James Bond. That should be funny, but they execute it poorly because they make no attempt to make it look like the Queen really did just parachute. It's not that hard to do a stunt gag with a fake Queen Elizabeth -- have none of these people seen "The Naked Gun"?
You get some awesome special effects, like giant industrial smokestacks growing out of nowhere and a steel melter shooting fireworks that turn into the Olympic rings. The National Anthem is sung by the Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf and Hearing Children, who will make you cry or almost-cry.
The Parade of Nations begins roughly an hour and twenty minutes into this thing, and it takes FOREVER. Nations come out alphabetically (except Britain, who get to go last). The athletes are very, very attractive, but boy are some of their outfits demeaning and stereotypical. Team USA walked the Parade of Nations in stuck-up Ralph Lauren yacht club gear that so beautifully represents everything that the world hates about America.
With the whole entire show taking almost four hours, with so much bombast and so little compelling entertainment, you have to wonder -- why didn't they just have the Stones come out and play?