I wrote on FB that: it is really hard to compare the Beijing opening ceremony with the London one given how different they were in nature. I also feel that each city (and the countries as a whole) had something different to prove in 2008 and 2012 respectively. Along with its emergence as an economic powerhouse, the former had to demonstrate its capability to impeccably stage a global event while the latter has been seeking to affirm and celebrate its multi-ethnic, multi-cultural identity as well its ability to host such an elaborate spectacle during a time of financial crises. I think both have achieved their respective objectives and I am happy to see the goodwill it has engendered.
However, due to the forum's quasi-anonymity, I can be a bit more candid here. I felt that the way they showcased characteristic British life, eccentricity and humour would be endearing to the native British viewer but not overly gripping to the global viewer. While Daniel Craig and Rowan Atkinson's cameos were amusing and Muhammad Ali and Sir Paul McCartney's appearance were emotional; the all-to-brief 'village green' sequence, the Dizzee Rascal-inspired dancing/social messaging and the hospital-bed dancing was not particularly impressive. It was far from the jaw dropping ceremony that we saw in Beijing. While I'm happy that my English friends, who are so often cynical about their country, positively responded to the ceremony, I feel that any feelings of self-gratification would be unwarranted.