The 2012 Olympics

July 29, 2012 4 Comments

Where is the biggest dose of drama and spectacle this week?  London is the center of it all for the next two weeks as the thirtieth Olympics opened on Friday with over the top ( thanks to director Danny Boyle)  movie-esque fanfare.  It is here that the drama of personal and national competition will unfold in arenas (including Wimbledon) and on the very streets of London (the cycling events).  Those of us not fortunate enough to hold tickets to actual events can now (and this is the justification for calling this a “movie”) watch in a variety of wonderful presentations: free access to giant screens set about Hyde Park, regular NBC coverage (both highlights and live coverage via NBC sports) and Comcast On Demand streaming…..the coverage begins to feel like a powerful   chain of vignettes–action packed, heart breaking or thumping,comedic or controversial–linked together by a collective “keeping score” that somehow matters.  Gold is the color that shines the brightest here.  How many medals?  And for whom?  Veteran champion?  Dream Team?  Plucky rookie?  The role of film is palpable here as even the commercials are constructed to capture the heart and intensity of Olympic competition.  (I just saw an Olympic montage about facing adversity and failure, set to the speech given by Lou Gehrig–a moving piece of filmmaking indeed.)  The “continuous” coverage creates an illusion of Olympic “reality,” obscuring (as filmmaking does so well) the consequences of a carefully edited product presented (in this case) to an American audience.  Olympic coverage as political propaganda is nothing new (the Nazis knew this and used film very effectively to create the myth of the uber Aryan athlete).

In 2012, you can watch the opening ceremonies again (if you missed it live on NBC Sports at 2;30pm or delayed on national TV at 7:30 broken down by Comcast into categories: pageantry, torch lighting, regular or HD and the parade of the American athletes only, which does create a sense of the experience that is powerful, but distorted (or at least compressed and revised).  Talking head commentary (Bob Costa) will critique and process what we are viewing.  Cameras are placed above and below the athletes, providing views that even those with first row seats can never experience.  The underwater cameras are especially powerful and allow us to marvel at the movements that separates gold from bronze.  And don’t forget the power of the music which stirs up images immediately.

There may be much to criticize about these events (a la Mitt Romney) but that misses the point. When the world attempts to come together and share the experience of competition (hopefully without incident) within the framework of a particular country giving its all to host, magic happens.  Grab a sport or a player or a country or just the joy of watching and enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rate the film:  10/10:  superb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (gold medal!) 


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4 Comments to “The 2012 Olympics”
  1. Bruce Russell says:

    You didn’t say what goes on at Wimbledon. Is that where they play lawn croquet?

  2. How many flag bearers in the opening ceremonies were tennis players? (Minus Spain because poor Nadal is injured) nice to see tennis receive its due among such outstanding athletes…..golden moments unfold at Wimbledon…pure gold….

  3. Bruce Russell says:

    I didn’t know that flag bearing was an Olymic sport! Those tennis players are good-looking people, but for pure athleticism I have to go with the U.S. basketball players.

  4. What creates the drama? Superb athleticism pitted against superb althleticism to be sure…but the camera in these games has done an amazing job in creating the drama for us…the men’s swimming relay for example (go USA–we just won gold!)…the camera follows the swimmers with a midrange shot, then closer up with the white water thrashing then(!)we are watching from below the swimmers, awestruck by the effortless movement of their legs and arms..back above close up, then the camera pulls back for the finish…magic..Olympic camera magic!!! Haven’t even talked about the USA gymnastics gold performance..suspense, personal shots to the crowd and back tracking the diminutive gymnasts hurtling their way to victory…wow!!

    now we cut to the medal ceremony..diegetic music captures the anthem of the golden winner..the camera looks up from below, a close up of the five gold medals..and the presentation to each olympiad..chariots of fire in the background and then the Star Spangled Banner..again the camera looking up from below capturing the five..panning up to the nation’s flags and back to the faces of the champions, hands over their hearts, sweet smiles, holding flowers..the crowd goes wild.ahhhhhhh…see you tomorrow (don’t forget to watch the tennis)..Jolyn

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