Okay, so I've done my duty and endured the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Am I allowed to be a bit... jaded?
As pretty and clever and technologically amazing it was, didn't it all seem a bit deja vu? Is it bad taste to say, "You know, I really did prefer the Sydney 2000 Opening Ceremony." Maybe I'm just a nostalgic Aussie, but all the way through the Sydney event, I was wondering if a CD would come out of the soundtrack (and it did) because it was so varied, and catchy. With the Beijing stuff, while the dove made of humans was clever (and wow! now they made the wings flap), and the men lit up like human Christmas trees were fun (spot the one that "went out" at the wrong time), and the flashing cube-like drums were innovative from overhead... it all seemed very... familiar.
Did they really need to have their own sawn-off version of Nikki Webster flying aerial ballets? As impressive as seemingly-gravity-defying runners on a huge globe of the Earth were, why then replicate the wire work to fly him, too, to rim of the stadium, and have him be yet another gravity-defying runner along the virtual paper scroll that led to the flame cauldron?
Flying the flame lighter looked great, by the way. If only Mini-Me Nikki and the globe trotters hadn't already beaten him to the stunt.
I'm not usually such a grump when it comes to this stuff. But I do remember having a great time enjoying the Sydney Opening Ceremony on TV - by myself - then spending about a week in a blue funk because not one of my many American penpals had bothered to watch the ceremony (admittedly, US TV supposedly screened it reluctantly because of the International time differences, and hacked it to bits as well), and so none of them had any questions about Australian culture for me to field.
I liked all of last night/this morning's imagery with the invention of paper, movable type, paper scrolls, etc, but I was just more than a little... underwhelmed. Then I kept waiting for Aussie commentators, Bruce McAvaney, Sonia Kruger and Ric Birch, to say (or even intimate) that they were just a little disappointed, but they continued on with the glowing accolades.
Maybe it was just me feeling a bit flat this morning? Maybe the Seven Network shouldn't have started with highlights from all the gala openings (ie Los Angeles 1984 through to recent times)?
I have to be all "up" with my students about the Olympics next week. Okay, I can say it looked impressive. Because it did. (But Sydney 2000 was better.)