Welcome to the rebellion.
The Winter World Oly*p*cs have taken our little Canadian corner of the universe by storm. I’ve been trying to post about the dang opening ceremonies but Darth Vader’s Imperial Oly*p*c Commitee has such a lockdown on their brand even Google limits your searches for images.
A lot of brave, digitally animated rebels gave their lives for this inside look at the opening ceremonies – the most incredible salute to sci-fi, comicbooks and musical theatre by way of Broadway, the West End and Vegas in the universe!!!!!!
First up all the combatants in the Emperor’s galactic wide competition entered the arena to be scanned and tagged for monitoring. Any alien in these capable of defeating all comers will need to be closely watched for seditious behavior after the Games are done, after all.
With so many planets and space sectors represented just entering the arena took over 35 parsecs! Many families in the audience brought portable, cryogenic units to place fussy kids in suspended animation until the good stuff got going.
So for those who slept through it here are this rebel’s recollections of the event.
The fantasy and musical fan in this rebel’s heart was cheering as the ceremony began with a salute to The Lord of the Rings (the movie and the complicated stage machinery from the musical) the raising of the Argonath at the border of Gondor – ginormous pillars carved in the likeness of long dead kings Isildur and Aárion touched all those present I’m sure.
I was especially touched to see the event receive the blessing of the Na’vi people from James Cameron's life-changing, seminal, most extraordinary, Oscar-worthy, poetic, lyrical, rollicking, dynamic and generally awesome unless you start asking plot questions Avatar!
Once the alien athletes were assembled, Droid singers Nelly 4-TODD-O and BR-1-ADMZ helped put those who failed to bring cryogenic chambers to sleep with their rendition of the binary droid Oly*p*c song. Remembering how generic and lame this song is helps me appreciate the actual CTV Olympic song, I Believe, much more. Because they have shown me that it truly could have been worse! Sarah McLchlan's NBC Olympic theme is a better song, though both are awfully laid back considering they represent competitions that take advantage of the speed snow and ice provide.
Then things got dramatic. I know the games are being held on Hoth and it is an ice planet but we sure spent a lot of time watching the formation of the planet’s ice fields. Or was that a lament to the sterile, dying planet of Krypton undergoing its death throes before Superman's Dad launched him out into space as a baby to save his tiny super-baby life? Ah well, life and death are always entangled, right?
Either way we were then subjected to wandering tauntaun herders looking bewildered and awestruck as the Coca Cola bear rose up out of the floor to say hello.
Let’s see, then we had a quick, underwater celebration of the Little Mermaid and Free Willy by way of Orca and Renny Harlin’s awesome Deep Blue Sea starring Saffron Burrows, L.L. Cool J, Thomas Jane and Samuel L. Jackson.
We returned to the Lord of Rings briefly for the March of the Ents on Isengard, wherein Tolkien’s ancient tree guardians from Tolkien’s The Two Towers and Return of the King attack the last stronghold of the evil wizard, Saruman. A bunch of dancing Hobbits join the battle, leaping and twirling among the roots of the trees while Sarah “still pretty hot” McLachlan sang about miracles and stuff. This is definitely what the stage LOTR was missing!
I was moved to tears by the aerial ballet to that Joni Mitchell song from the sad part of “Love Actually” featuring a young Clark Kent learning to fly on the Canadian Prairies while Pa Kent’s voice quoted W. O. Mitchell. It was a beautiful, poignant pause in the bombastic proceedings.
At this point Sandmen swept through the audience to examine the palm flower life clocks on everyone’s official Oly*p*c mittens to ensure no one over thirty would witness the rest of the ceremony.
Anyone found with a flashing maple leaf in the palm of their mittens were obviously approaching thirty years old and were therefore overdue for ’Last Day’. The oldsters were herded down to the stadium floor for the Carrousel ceremony, which included punk rock, faerie fiddlers and their tap-dancing thralls!
What a thrill as the aging detritus of our youthful, futuristic society spun in the air on their red skies in hopes of ‘renewal’. But since no one came back down we can assume they’ve all been zapped.
Perhaps I just missed someone renewing because my attention was drawn to the arena floor once again for a salute to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s delightfully daffy and box-office poison musical, Starlight Express (His follow-up to Cats about roller derby trains) and the groundbreaking Disney sci-fi film, Tron. It makes sense, since a long awaited sequel to Tron is coming out soon and Disney has deep pockets for products placement.
Up next, Mr. Showbiz himself, Wayne Newton, arrived barefoot to sing Dark Lord Leonard Cohen's much-covered song 'Hallelujah'…
Speaking of the Kryptonians, they sure were cleaning up at these Games, what with the bevy of superpowers they gain under our yellow sun. Gold after gold was awarded to Superman’s brethren until a few days into the Games when the entire team seemed to fade from competition. I suspect it’s because the Luthorcorp-made gold medals are 100% gold kryptonite, which robs native Kryptonians of their super-powers permanently. But I guess those are the breaks in the world of intergalactic sports.
The reverence for Superman was quickly explained when I realized this year’s Oly*p*cs were not taking place in Vancouver, Bitish Columbia, Canada, planet Earth, but in fact were on Vancu-Var, an icy moon orbiting the remains of Superman’s long dead planet home planet, Krypton.
What was my first clue? Probably the eight, super-heroic, Kryptonian Elders carrying the Oly*p*c flag into the stadium, including Betty Fox (Terry’s mother), Bobby Orr (the golden age Wayne Gretzky), Anne Murray (aka Snowbird), Jacques Villeneuve, Barbara Ann Scott, Senator Romeo Dallaire, space traveler Julie Payette and Donald Sutherland (father of super-spy Jack Bauer).
The Council of Kryptonian Elders then gave speeches from Superman's crystaline, arctic Fortress of Solitude and declared this year's Oly*p*c Games open.
The Oly*p*c Torch itself was then passed from Rick Hansen to a Justice League of sports heroes including Catriona LeMay Doan, Nancy Greene and Steve Nash who were supposed to light the torch together. Although Catriona was left out in the cold when her pillar failed to rise. If I only had a nickel… I kind of wish the stiff looking Wayne Gretsky (Canada's former Superman till Lex Luthor, er, Bruce McNall sold him out) had called her over to help light his pillar, since he'd be getting a second chance at it. But he didn't so now I think he's a bit of a dick. After that uncomfortable pause, the torch was then carried to official cauldron and lit by dick Gretzky.
...Or the eternal, never-blinking eye of Sauron above the molten fires of Morder...
...I salute all our courageous competitors in the spirit of geek enthusiasm. May this flame burn in our hearts and memory for eternity!
That's about it. If you weren't tuning in you only missed the most awesome pop culture extravaganza ever in the history of anything!
My vote for new Canadian superhero goes to Penticton Slam Poet
Shane Koyczan for his heartfelt "We Are More" first written and
performed for Ottawa's Canada Day ceremonies in 2007.