|The opening ceremony featured a stunning recreation of Glastonbury Tor, which was made using real plants.|
(image via ABC News)
The ceremony opened on a green meadow scene reflecting the country's agrarian past. The use of real plants and authentic costumes created an ethereal atmosphere in the stadium. Beloved British actor Kenneth Branagh acted as a sort of ringleader for the performance. He stood in front of a gorgeous recreation of Glastonbury Tor and read a speech from William Shakespeare's The Tempest.
It was the stadium's subsequent transformations which really wowed audiences. In a sequence representing the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the stadium's sod was removed, and towering smoke stacks rose from the ground. The ceremony also celebrated the digital age in a short play featuring images from pop culture and classic British music.
|Paul McCartney gave an emotional|
performance at the end of the ceremony.
(image via TV Guide)
While the ceremony was dramatic and emotional, it wasn't without humor. Viewers immediately started talking about a clever short film in which James Bond (Daniel Craig) escorts Queen Elizabeth II to the stadium. Audiences also giggled at a cameo from British comedian Rowan Atkinson in a lighthearted tribute to the film Chariots of Fire.
Fans of the Harry Potter series were likely excited to see an appearance from author J.K. Rowling in a segment featuring enormous puppet versions of literary villains like Voldemort and Captain Hook.
The Parade of Nations featured the introduction of the participating athletes from each country, wearing their official national uniforms. Once every country was introduced, the iconic olympic cauldron was lighted using the flame from the symbolic torch. There was much talk over who would light the cauldron, some speculating it might be Queen Elizabeth herself. The honor actually went to seven young British athletes, as a symbol of the next generation of olympians.
The ceremony closed with an emotional performance of "Hey Jude" from Paul McCartney and a stunning fireworks display.
What a great way to start the 2012 Olympics! Did you watch the opening ceremony? What did you think?
Jill O'Rourke is an Entertainment Blogger for Ruffled Feathers. You can read her personal blog and follow her on Twitter.