London (dpa) - Danny Boyle's stunning opening ceremony of the
London Olympic Games Saturday won universal praise for its portrayal
of the quirky British character and artistic merit.
A government spokesman called it a "great showcase for the country" which showed its diversity and vibrancy while linking history with modernity.
"The greatest show on earth," headlined the Times, which said the three-and-a-half hour spectacle left spectators "shaken and stirred." The Daily Telegraph commented: "Going for Gold."
The mass circulation The Sun termed Britain's Queen Elizabeth II the new "Bond Girl" after her cameo performance with 007 Daniel Craig, while the Daily Telegraph hailed a "Night of Wonder."
"It was loud, it was defiant; above all it was gloriously, tumultuously, spinetinglingly British," said the Telegraph.
"Danny Boyle captured the spirit, history, humour and patriotism of an expectant nation ...as he pulled off an Olympic opening ceremony like no other."
Some commentators criticised the show for its attempt to be "socially and politically all-inclusive and multi-cultural," portraying a lesbian kiss on a film montage and showing the anti-nuclear symbol.
The Mail said the ceremony had given the Games a "Blast-off" like no other, while the Guardian saw it as comprehensive.
"From a bucolic green and pleasant land via the belching chimney stacks of the industrial revolution to the internet age, Danny Boyle's attempt to define Britishness...was a madcap, surreal, moving and often confounding affair."
The 42-million-dollar show, said the BBC, was "quintessentially British" and a reason to be proud. It had shown the world that "we can laugh at ourselves."
Germany's mass-circulation Bild Zeitung headlined "Wow - what a show" while the Washington Post called it "the world's biggest inside joke."
The Times of India termed the ceremony "dazzling," adding that London had "presented a vibrant picture of Great Britain's rich heritage and culture."
The China Daily said the pageant was "kaleidoscopic," while a BBC commentator praised the ceremony for being "cleverly different" from the Beijing Olympics four years ago.
Los Angeles Times sports reporter Bill Plaschke tweeted: "James Bond and Queen Elizabeth II 'parachute' into the stadium, then kids in pyjamas sing the national anthem... works for me."
"The Queen acting, JK Rowling reading in public, can you top this?"
Comedian Rowan Atkinson's (Mr Bean) involvement in the playing of Chariots of Fire under conductor Simon Rattle was described as "hilarious," while the portrayal of Britain's rich musical history - from classical to rock - was seen as another highlight.
The cinematic element of the ceremony was singled out, with the New York Times describing the show as "visually stunning."
There was resounding praise for Thomas Heatherwick's sculptural creation of 204 flames merging and rising into a bloom-like fiery cauldron marking the climactic end of the ceremony.
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