This thread is a study in Anglo-American relations.
I had hoped for a bit more from the opening ceremony. It wasn't terrible, but it certainly could have been a lot better. Had I not been watching with friends I would certainly have switched off. I'm forced to questiom the taste of those people who said they loved it.
I think Boyle was trying to create an ensemble to show the world what the current identity and character of the UK is and how that idenity and character has come about. He was trying both to entertain his audience and also educate them. He wanted to mix comedy with sadness, with hope with magic with mysticism with pagentry with literature with democracy with drama with war music and somehow come out with a coherent whole. Ultimately Boyle failed in his aims. Most of the world watching that show will neither have been particularly educated or entertained.
I did personally enjoy some of it. I loved the music in the opening sequence and the demonstation of British countryside, the Shakespearian quotations, some of the children's literature, the urbanisation and industialisation of the UK and so forth, but only because those things are particular interests of mine. I also thought that the emphasis on pop music was good and the bit in Buckingham Palace with James Bond and QE2 was pretty amusing. The bit about those that died in WW1 was moving.
I did not like the bit with Mr Bean. I did not like the way that Danny Boyle, the presenter, in his review of British cinema, managed to mention so many Danny Boyle films: that was very embarrassing. I thought that the camera work which focused on the disabled and ethnic minorities was a bit excessive. If we were really relaxed about ethnic minorities and people with disabilities, they would have appeared in an incidental and unceremonious and unnoteworthy way. Instead it looked like we went to excessive and deliberate lengths to show the world how integrated minorities are. I thought the celebration of the NHS was a bit misguided. Maybe we did lead the world in health in the 1920s, we clearly don't have a good national health service any more.
The way my fellow Brits on this thread are so insecure about criticisms of the opening ceremony is a bit depressing. Some of the criticism is deserved. The opening ceremomy was aimed at a global audience not just a local one. The fact that that global audience didm't enjoy it means that the opening ceremony was by definition a failure. Brits used to be much more relaxed about criticicism.