If you missed the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony last night, watch this five-minute video that launched the festivities. It’s all you really need to see:
(Original video removed–new India news version updated until better version available)
I don’t know whether it’s because they picked Daniel Craig, the current actor and my favorite actor who has portrayed James Bond, whether Queen Elizabeth II let her guard down enough to appear with Craig in this film, whether it’s the Queen’s happy-go-lucky Corgis, or even the mere perception that Bond and the Queen would parachute in for the Olympic ceremonies, but this is the best opener I have ever seen.
The Olympics should represent the country that is the host, and what is more British than the Queen and Bond and Buckingham Palace and the very stately Prince Philip? And a little nod to Winston Churchill to boot. (And if this doesn’t get Craig his knighthood, nothing will).
Since I have been a little kid I have watched major ceremonies over the years that have included the Queen. We from those countries that broke away from the British Empire centuries ago sometimes comment negatively about the whole Royal thing, but as a ruler of nations (and whatever power she actually has relatively speaking in Great Britain vs. the rest of the government) it really is hard to beat this woman and her personal management of world affairs for so long. With her 60-year celebration of her reign this year–her Diamond Jubilee–she continues to amaze and impress. Sharing highlights of her numerous world-impacting experiences with the many younger political guests at the Jubilee ceremony makes you think about the value and importance of wisdom in leadership, wisdom that comes from 60 years as a successful leader. Her remarks to the rest of the country’s rulers at her ceremony were so sharp, thoughtful, and eloquent that you wish she would be running the show in England forever.
And back to the Olympics, you know she’s really digging being in a James Bond clip. Making Bond stand there waiting like that? Move over Judi Dench!
And the rest of the show didn’t let up, with Kenneth Brannagh reading Shakespeare, JK Rowling reading Lewis Carroll, Paul McCartney playing his best song, Hey Jude, Rowan Atkinson doing his funniest bit of work ever, and the selection of seven unknown kids to light the torch instead of national athletes. No doubt event shows like the Academy Awards should look to director Danny Boyle for future productions.
So if England was trying to start the Olympics with a great image and message they have done it, and with the other iconic thing that is truly British–British humor. And Corgis! Bravo!