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Robert A. Mills

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From now on, this weekly Newsletter will be called ROBERT A. MILLS'S OP-ED COLUMN. Access it and enjoy!
Newsletter Dated: 7/31/2012 5:42:15 AM

Subject: OLYMPICS - a review, AN EXTRA

OLYMPICS
(This review is an extra. My regular column will appear on August 4)

We stayed up until midnight to watch the opening ceremonies on NBC, and we’re glad we did. True, it was overly long, repetitious and extraneously tiring in some aspects, but masterful in others; overall it was 100% well-conceived and brilliantly executed.

Bob Costas was exceptional, as he normally is. I do not, as a rule, like Ryan Seacrest — I find him dull, unprofessional in his remarks and pompous on most efforts (particularly on “American Idol,” which I no longer watch, thanks mainly to him) — but in this instance he rose to the occasion, and, though overshadowed by Costas, held his own throughout.

Perhaps it was because he, like Costas, remained off-camera for most of the night and worked solely as a narrator from a well-prepared script, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

In any event, he did a better than acceptable job, especially during the participants’ march-in. However it was achieved, this lengthy sleep-fest moved by rapidly; the same modus operandi should become SOP for all
subsequent ceremonies.

But major kudos must be awarded to the mastermind of the event: Danny Boyle, the film director who won an Academy Award for his “Slum Dog Millionaire”. Mr. Boyle, on a budget of only 35.5 million euros, staged an “Isles of Wonder” extravaganza that easily put Beijing’s brain-throbbing assault four years earlier into a cluttered Morris Minor boot where it belonged.

Even Her Majesty, the normally dull and reticent Regal Matriarch, rose to the occasion and, along with the current James Bond (Daniel Craig), and allowed her Royal Self to be flung from a helicopter as it approached the opening stadia venue.

To her credit, she parachuted precisely to the Royal Box where she sat with the President of the International Olympic Committee and the Archbishop of Canterbury (plus other notables. including family members, who get enough mention elsewhere).

I was particularly amused when the archbishop, His Most Reverend Rowan Williams, leaned over and whispered in the Royal Ear, “Good show, ma’m! I prayed fervently your ‘chutes would open in due time!” She sardonically replied that she hoped he was not disappointed. Of course, the Queen was not miked, so I had to rely on my skill as a lip-reader to interpret this.

Sir Paul McCartney, alas, was pleasantly received near the end, but he was a waste of time and talent. Mr. Bean had already stolen the show.

From the moment the plastic-faced Rowan Atkinson, who, by the by, has a master’s degree from Oxford, joined the London Symphony under the watchful baton of Simon Rattle, joined the prestigious ensemble as an unlikely electronic keyboard demon, and subsequently won the “Chariots of Fire” race, I knew instinctively that Mr. Bean would outdo the technological wonders of the Industrial Revolution, the fire-spewing Olympic Rings, the plethora of Mary Poppinses flitting about and defeating Lord Voldemort, the NHO children and devoted medicos, the Internet interlude — even the Rapper and a host of rock stars and sundry dancers — not to mention the Dickensonian, Shakespearian, J.K. Rowlingian and other English luminaries who were what the Brits are all about.

And yes, the pyrotechnics about the stadia were a Yankee touch no one overlooked but everyone appreciated.

But the true stars were the Athletes. The Olympians. We, thanks to the world according to Mr. Boyle, must never forget that. To his credit, the show did not allow it.

London rose to the occasion and did them all proud.

For one brief moment, I was almost sorry we had won the Revolutionary War. Almost.


Copyright©2012 by Robert A. Mills, all rights reserved


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