Saturday, February 13, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics

Vancouver had a hard act to follow. Bejing didn't just put on the best Olympics opening ceremonies ever two years ago, but one of the greatest, most majestic, most inspirational spectacles in television history. It was uplifting, gorgeous, awe-inspiring, and spellbinding all at once.

And this time around the opening ceremony was just ok. I'd grade it a B+ on its own, but closer to a C- when viewed in comparison to Bejing's effort.

The opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games are almost always long, pretentious, and overly sentimental, but that's to be expected. In fact, that's to be desired. The Olympics are one of the few things that are still allowed to be sentimental and stirring and inspiring. That's why I watch. That's what gets me to sit through an event like speed walking and actually make an emotional investment in the outcome. But the Olympics shouldn't be boring, and these ceremonies kind of were.

They just kind of lacked... personality. They spent far too much time talking about what they thought made Canada unique and special, but they really just spent way too much time on nonsense. "Here is the tribute to the Canadian prairies... here is the tribute to their mountains... here is the tribute to how their citizens inhale oxygen." Yeah, lots of countries have prairies and mountains. Watching that kid fly around the prairies was definitely haunting and beautiful, but it should've been about ten minutes long instead of, what, three hours? Or did every segment just feel like three hours?

From a technical standpoint, it was just as stunning as the Bejing games, with a level of tech that was bordering on the majestic, but it was still boring. I did enjoy that poet, who did an absolutely amazing job breathing life and energy into a poem that otherwise would've been trite and pedantic. "Canadians say please and thank you!" Yeah, so do I. It's called being polite, not Canadian. I'm sure Canada has assholes too. But that guy did an awesome job. He should win an Oscar or something.

And best of all was K.D. Lang's performance of Hallelujah, which is a song I'm sure just about everybody in the entire world is sick of by now. But she managed to take a song that has frankly become an overused cliche and actually made it sound new, fresh, and inspiring. That was the best part.

Oh, and I won't be able to forgive them for messing up their lighting ceremony and leaving my boy 99 hung out to dry like that. They didn't test that to make sure it would work? The lighting of the torch is kind of an important detail. And then once they finally got that fixed and lit, after what seemed like an interminable amount of time, Gretzky had to take the torch on another journey to light the real torch! Are you kidding me, Canada? The lighting of the Olympic torch should bring me to tears of joy and inspiration, not boredom.

But I still liked it and still watched it all, because it's the Olympics.

1 comment:

tep said...

beijing pretty much ruined opening ceremonies for everyone else to come. that said, i thought the canadians did a decent job...but i totally agree about ol'e 99. did you see his face? he was NOT amused.