Brash, brave, barmy - sometimes baffling and altogether brilliant: the world's media was full of praise Saturday for the British take on Olympic opening ceremonies.
"A Five-Ring Opening Circus, Weirdly and Unabashedly British," a New York Times headline said of Friday's opening extravaganza created by film director Danny Boyle and watched by billions of television viewers around the world.
"It was neither a nostalgic sweep through the past nor a bold vision of a brave new future," Sarah Lyall, the newspaper's London correspondent, wrote.
"Rather, it was a sometimes slightly insane portrait of a country that has changed almost beyond measure since the last time it hosted the Games, in the grim postwar summer of 1948."
Many commentators appeared to like the eccentricity and humour of a show which featured a cameo film performance by the queen and James Bond actor Daniel Craig, while others were left puzzling over what it says about the Britain of today.
"With its hilariously quirky Olympic opening ceremony, a wild jumble of the celebratory and the fanciful; the conventional and the eccentric; and the frankly off-the-wall, Britain presented itself to the world Friday night as something it has often struggled to express even to itself: a nation secure in its own post-empire identity, whatever that actually is," Lyall wrote.
Not everything went down well, with Los Angeles Times sports writer Diane Pucin saying she was "still baffled" by a tribute to Britain's National Health Service.
And a blog on Wall Street Journal was distinctly lukewarm: "The 2012 London Olympics welcome was a very slow stroll down a well-worn memory lane, complete with slightly boring, sometimes out-of-order history lesson."
Elsewhere though, commentators were impressed.
In Germany, Spiegel Online said that after almost four hours Boyle had produced perhaps not "the greatest show on earth" but "in any case the most nonchalant opening ceremony the Olympic Games have ever seen. Cool Britannia."
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote: "London is loud, crazy, anything but perfect and always self-deprecatory. That had to be transported by the opening ceremony - and it worked. Danny Boyle brought the Olympic Games back to where it belongs - to the participants."
Die Welt said "hats off" to Boyle. If the next 16 days are like the opening ceremony then "the world can definitely expect first-class Games."
Australian newspapers also hailed the London show. The Sydney Morning Herald said it "did not take itself too seriously, but was never trivial. It was irreverent, but never disrespectful. It was clever, but did not outsmart itself. It was at once subversive and sublime."
The Herald Sun wrote: "These opening ceremonies are like the nuclear arms race: every heavyweight country ups the ante to beat the neighbours. But this was the biggest yet.
"Jaded reporters who have sat through half a dozen of these ceremonies stood and clapped along with the punters, declaring it the best they'd seen ... by the margin Usain Bolt won the 100 metres at Beijing.
"Devastatingly easy, exhilaratingly good."
The Australian said the ceremony was "vibrant, stimulating and eclectic, just like London itself" and "an obvious retort to the breath-taking order and intimidating precision and scale of Beijing's opening ceremony."
French newspapers also liked what they saw, with sports daily L'Equipe under a headline, "We love these games!" writing: "The ceremony offered yesterday to the entire world by the British was unusually bold, poetic and funny."
In Brazil, Estado de Sao Paulo said the Games had made "an impressive start" and provided a challenge for the organizers of the opening ceremony of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Chinese media reaction was also largely positive, while many Chinese microbloggers liked the fact that the cauldron was lit by seven young athletes.
Television news commentator Bai Yansong praised Boyle's "genius for style and design," adding that "this fantastic performance of an opening ceremony looks more like a movie, enhanced by great storylines."
Denmark's Politiken called the ceremony "intoxicating, stunning, brilliant, pacy, enthralling" while Sweden's Aftonbladet said the ceremony had "set an Olympic record for courage." It could have degenerated into pathos with one wrong note, "but it never came."
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