The highlight of the Oscar-winning director’s $42 million show was wholesome movie magic, using trickery to make it appear that Britain’s beloved 86-year-old Queen Elizabeth II had parachuted into the stadium with the nation’s most eminent spy.
In the stadium, Elizabeth stood soberly while a children’s singing group serenaded her with ‘God Save the Queen,’ and members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force raised the Union Jack.
Boyle sprang another huge surprise and picked seven teenage athletes for the supreme honour of igniting the Olympic cauldron. Together, they touched flaming torches to trumpet like tubes that spread into a ring of fire.
The flames rose and joined pleasingly together to form the cauldron. Fireworks erupted over the stadium to music from Pink Floyd. And with a sing-along of ‘Hey Jude,’ ‘Beatle Paul McCartney’ closed a show that ran 45 minutes beyond its scheduled three hours.
Organizers said that the cauldron would be moved on Sunday night to the corner of the stadium where a huge bell tolled during the show.
The evening started with fighter jets streaming red, white and blue smoke and roaring over the stadium, packed with a lively crowd of 60,000 people.
The 17-day festival of sports excellence finally commenced with a three-hour opening ceremony directed by Danny Boyle, who made a name for himself with the Oscar-winning movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ despite the criticism that he had exploited Mumbai’s slums.