When Lord Sebastian Coe placed his bid for the 2012 summer Olympics to be held in London, he pledged that the bid would include a legacy which would make about two million people in the country take up sports and other physical activities thanks to the infrastructure hosting the games would bring. This tells us a lot about the legacy of the Olympics in a first world country like the UK. In a society which is fully developed, in which people depend on technology for almost everything, it is perhaps high time that people take a step back and invest a part of themselves in encouraging physical activities.
On a somewhat unrelated note, a country like a UK is also home to a lot of creative minds in the entertainment industry. It is hence not surprising that someone of the calibre of Danny Boyle has been hired as the art director for the London 2012 Opening Ceremony. For those who have been living under a rock, Danny Boyle is an English filmmaker, director and producer who has made a slew of top notch films like Trainspotting, The Beach, Sunshine, Shallow Grave and Slumdog Millionaire. The last one on that list also won him an Academy Award in the Best Director category and the movie went on to win eight Academy Awards in total.
The job Boyle has been hired to do is obviously very different from what he does usually but knowing his passion of going for challenging projects in the field of filmmaking, one can surely look forward to nothing short of an extravaganza in the opening ceremony. But the question a lot of people are asking is, can Boyle actually top the Beijing 2008 opening ceremony? Frankly, one cannot really compare different events on a sheer scale of magnitude. Let's face it, it is not easy to make 2008 drummers congregate in a field and have them perform synchronized drumming. And it wouldn't be wise either. Beijing 2008 opening ceremony was a celebration of the Chinese way of life which included the nation's traditional music which explains all the drumming.
So what is the English way of life? Apart from all the fish 'n' chips and the pub culture, at this moment in history, England stands for multiculturalism and changing views. It is a modern nation which gave us the world some of the best thinkers, musicians and entertainers. If we narrow down our field of view by small margin, we can also say that this country also gave the world some of the best DJs and electronic music ever. Now that explains Underworld - a British duo, formed by Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, that is working with Boyle and overseeing the musical arrangements in the historic event. Those who have followed Boyle's Trainspotting as true fans, know that Underworld had a big hand to play in that films original soundtrack. Every time one hears the track 'Born Slippy', one thinks of Trainspotting, of Ewan McGregor as Renton, of the magic Danny Boyle creates in his movies through the music.
Coming back to the Danny Boyle and his team that is overseeing the London event on 27th of July, one could also ask - why Danny Boyle? Well, they could have picked any capable director and there would be a could reason for each one of them. In this case, I would say, here is one guy who knows how to keep the audience at the edge of their seat even in movies where the subject is not even remotely close to anyone watching it. In Sunshine, Boyle managed to instil all kinds of emotions and fan reactions (mostly positive) while narrating a story about few people in outer space trying to re-ignite the sun. In Millions, he made audiences all over fall in love with a young boy who finds a bag full of cash in an otherwise uneventful town.
But then again, Boyle also has the ability to dazzle the viewers. He has great visual ideas that somehow seem to click in the most unlikely places. A grim and dark movie about heroin junkies like Trainspotting is known for its visual effects and camera work. The depiction of a decrepit slum in Mumbai in Slumdog Millionaire got many positive nods from cinematography experts from all over. Also, Boyle is a filmmaker who never hesitates to use the latest technology to make his work not easier, but better. The revolutionary camerawork in Trainspotting has had followers even today.
So what can Danny Boyle do for the opening ceremony in London 2012?
There's only one way to know for sure and that is, watch the event as it airs in a few hours. There are people who have been part of the month long preparations leading up to the event and there are others who have seen parts of the event during the dress rehearsal. In an age of Twitter and Facebook, it would next to impossible to keep any secrets about such events. Danny Boyle has tried to make sure that no one leaks any info about the event. The performers, who show up day in and day out for practice, are made to sign a contract under which they cannot reveal details of the event. The places where the performances are being practiced are well guarded to ensure that media people do not venture too close and reveal any details beforehand. In social media, Danny Boyle's PR team is constantly telling the crowd who have seen parts of the event to "Save the Surprise". So far, it seems to have worked and all that the people who have seen the rehearsals are saying is "be ready to be amazed."
Danny Boyle is clearly someone who knows what he's doing and who also knows how important it is for this show to be remembered. As Europe is going through some financial crisis, an event such as this can truly raise the spirits of the people. Let us hope Danny is the distraction that the doctor ordered.