Opening Ceremony London 2012: Chariots of Fire! Harry Potter! The Queen and James Bond!

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The 2012 Summer Olympics kicked off in grand style last night, as a $42 million Opening Ceremony featured The Queen as a James Bond Girl, Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean and a whole lot more.

Among the highlights of the three-and-a-half hour event:

  • Dozens of Mary Poppins floating down from the sky.
  • Queen Elizabeth and Daniel Craig shared a big screen scene, marking the latter's acting debut.
  • Atkinson (above) got himself involved in the iconic Chariots of Fire scene, actually running on the beach with the stars of that movie (technology rules!).
  • A grass infield with countryside with sheepdogs, horses and ducks turned into an industrialized city with smokestacks, representing how far England has come.
  • Seven billion pieces of paper were actually dropped on to the athletes, representing every human on the planet.
  • Voldemort stopped by.
  • And seven young people lit the Olympic Flame in an exciting, emotional climax.

The London Olympics will now air on NBC and many of its cable affiliates over the next two weeks. Best of luck to all participants. Go USA!