Opening Ceremony at the London 2012 Olympics: PEOPLE's TV Critic Weighs In

My impression was that movie director Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony for the Olympics would be an epic yet compact interpretative history of Great Britain. I misunderstood.

It began – horribly if appropriately – with Kenneth Branagh reciting Shakespeare with enough hammy gusto to bring down the Old Globe. But as the evening went along the event evolved into a weirdly psychedelic pop-culture fantasy, referencing everything from J.K. Rowling to Queen – I mean the band.