There was a cauldron in the center of the arena that featured two hundred and four copper petals. Each of the petals signified the two hundred and four competing nations. The petals were brought into the stadium by each team as they entered into the arena at the beginning of the show. The petal was placed on a long pipe in the center of the arena. Once they were all placed and the show began the petals each had their own flame.
There were actors that began to enter the arena dressed as though they were on a production stage. The ceremonies then went into a production of Danny Boyle's grand party. (Danny Boyle, the "Slumdog Millionaire" filmmaker). The show began with England's early years and the Industrial Revolution. The show went into a plethora of Mary Poppins' and the villain (child catcher) from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The show featured televised excerpts from Daniel Craig (James Bond 007), Mr. Bean, Lord Voldemort. Kenneth Branagh performed an excerpt from Shakespeare's "The Tempest." Music was performed by Dizzee Rascal, Arctic Monkeys and Paul McCartney - who encouraged a giant sing a long to his famous songs which included "Hey Jude."
It is said that this was the most watched opening ceremonies to date. But, how did it compare to the spectacular display of Beijing? Did not even hold a "torch" to it, in my opinion. Too many vignettes going on. I was lost on the prerecorded screen displays. I never did like it when shows switch from live to screen and then back live again. The precision of Beijing, the colors and the elegance that was felt watching the dancers is yet to be challenged.
I wrote about it here, in Oh 8, Oh 8, Oh 8!