Saturday, August 9, 2008

opening ceremony - not so much

It feels a little curmudgeonly to say anything bad about the Olympic opening ceremonies in China last night. I did enjoy it. Although I have to say the music throughout was awful. But I finished the evening unmoved. It was all spectacular and I kept waiting for beauty. The nearest thing to beauty was the precision tai chi masters. Amazing. Take that Rockettes! But the most moving was the 9 year-old student who saved two friends in the earthquake walking beside towering Yao Ming.

Everything else I found eye-poppingly big, but emotionally thin except to overwhelm. The screen on the floor was a marvel, but the images projected on it were dull and confusing. Same thing of the scrim/screen around the top of the stadium (except for the "waterfall" which was beautifully done). A pretty girl in a dress? lets have 2,000 of them! But more doesn't equal better. The point about the vast number of human resources available and how well they can work in synchronicity was best made in the opening number with the "movable type" boxes. Genuinely creative and lovely to look at. Unfortunately that same point of many acting as one was then made again and again, and only the Tai Chi Masters were as interesting as the first example.

The two most moving parts of the evening for me involved just a single person. The young boy with Yao Ming, as I've said, and then the lighting of the torch and the athlete's thrilling "run" around the dome of the stadium. Spectacular but also human-scaled.

2 comments:

Matt said...

We enjoyed playing the game of what country had the most amazing outfits. The flag bearer from NZ was a bit much with his pelt robe.

It was creepy how all the women holding the country signs look and acted exactly the same, we also felt bad for the women who had to dance for the entire parade.

I did like the torch lighting with the running along the screen since we missed the drums it was the highlight of the evening.

Over all it was not terrible but it does not even come close to when Muhammad Ali lit the torch in the 1999 Olympics! That was amazing!

Rev. Ricky Hoyt said...

I also felt bad for the dancing women - who, did you notice? - got increasingly out of step later into the parade, poor things.