Danny Boyle has eclectic tastes, from Shakespeare to Bollywood to zombies. While not every one of the director's favorites made its way into his inventive Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics, his broad interests were on obvious display in Friday's global broadcast.
Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire,""Trainspotting,""127 Hours") brought humor to the ceremonies with multiple movie clips, including a parody of "Chariots of Fire" with Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean and footage of Daniel Craig's James Bond dropping into the proceedings via helicopter with the Queen of England. He also incorporated live music, energetic stagecraft and the remarkable costumes of longtime collaborator Suttirat Larlarb. His show managed to bring together athletics, a tribute to government-run healthcare and Mary Poppins in one event.
Unlike director Zhang Yimou's elaborate but ultimately spotlessly clean work to launch 2008's Games in Beijing, Boyle's show, like his movies, was gritty, filled with smoke and steel, and populated with people of all ages, looks and ethnicities.
His nothing-off-limits musical clips included classical music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra, plus songs from Queen, OMD, New Order, the Sex Pistols, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Prodigy, the Specials and Muse. Boyle offered an odd salute to Tim Berners-Lee (introduced as the creator of the Internet, with no apologies to Al Gore), plus the Industrial Revolution and women’s suffrage.