Hooray, huzzah and atta boy to Danny Boyle for the Olympics Opening Ceremony last week.
It's been funny to read the online comments afterward. I wondered if some of the critics saw the same broadcast I did.
Sure, there were some confounding moments--as there always are with Olympics ceremonies. While I didn't think Kenneth Branagh was portraying Abraham Lincoln, I must confess that 19th century British engineer extraordinaire Isambard Kingdom Brunel did not spring to mind. And he still doesn't.
And though I have loved Paul McCartney for lo these many years, I thought the pace of "Hey Jude" was simply too slow and the calls for "just the boys" and "just the girls" to sing concert clichés, especially in light of the stunning originality of everything that came before.
But these are small quibbles in light of the amazing spectacle that Mr. Boyle and crew presented: an astonishing mix of high and pop culture, old-fashioned theater and new-fangled special effects, and, notably, a point of view. A prime example: The dreamy scenes of nursemaids putting children to sleep were a salute both to British children's literature and to the national health-care system. You may approve of these institutions and you may not, but you know where Boyle stands.
This year's opening ceremony hit the perfect balance. It reached out to enchant a worldwide audience while showing a keen appreciation for the culture and even the quirks of the host land. Well done.