AP Photo/Paul Sancya
The Olympic cauldron is lit during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
LONDON — Shaken and stirred.
James Bond and the queen teamed to give London a wild Olympic opening like no other - without a drop of rain interferring.
And creative genius Danny Boyle turned Olympic Stadium into a jukebox, cranking up world-beating rock from the Beatles, the Stones and The Who to send the planet a message: Britain, loud and royal proud, is ready to roll.
Now over to you, athletes. It was a brilliant introduction to kick off a 17-day festival of sports.
Queen Elizabeth II, playing along with movie magic from director Boyle, provided the highlight of the Oscar-winner's high-adrenaline show. With film trickery, Boyle made it seem as if Britain's beloved 86-year-old monarch and its most famous spy parachuted into the stadium together.
Daniel Craig as 007, the queen, playing herself, and her royal corgis starred in a short movie filmed in Buckingham Palace.
"Good evening, Mr. Bond," she said before they were shown flying by helicopter over London landmarks and then leaping — she in a salmon-colored dress, Bond dashing as ever in a black tuxedo — into the inky night over Olympic Park.
At the same moment, real skydivers appeared as the stadium throbbed to the James Bond theme. And moments after that, the monarch appeared in person, accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip.
Queen Makes Herself 'Accessible'
Organizers said it was thought to be the first time she has acted on film.
"The queen made herself more accessible than ever before," Boyle said.
Boyle sprang another giant surprise in giving seven teenage athletes the supreme honor of igniting the Olympic flame. Together, they touched torches to trumpetlike tubes that spread into a ring of fire and then rose elegantly to jointly form the cauldron — which organizers said would be moved Sunday night to one end of the stadium.
It was the end of the journey for the flame. Some 8,000 torchbearers, mostly unheralded Britons, had carried it on a 70-day, 8,000-mile journey from toe to tip of the British Isles, whipping up enthusiasm for a $14 billion Olympics taking place during a severe recession. The final torchbearers were kept a closely guarded secret — remarkable given the scrutiny on these, the first Summer Games of the Twitter era.
Thousands in Attendance
The evening started with fighter jets streaming red, white and blue smoke and roaring over the stadium, packed with a buzzing crowd of 60,000 people, at 8:12 p.m. — or 20:12 in the 24-hour time observed by Britons.
The show never caught its breath with a nonstop rock-and-pop homage to cool Britannia. The soundtrack veered from classical to irreverent. Boyle daringly included the Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant" and a snippet of its version of "God Save the Queen" — an anti-establishment punk anthem once banned by the BBC. With a singalong of "Hey Jude," Beatle Paul McCartney closed the spectacle that ran 45 minutes beyond its scheduled three hours.
The encyclopedic review of modern British music included a 1918 Broadway standard adopted by the West Ham football team, the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Bohemian Rhapsody," by still another Queen, and other tracks too numerous to mention, but not to dance to.
Boyle, who directed "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Trainspotting" while developing into one of Britain's most successful filmmakers, had a ball with his favored medium, mixing filmed passages with live action to hypnotic effect, with 15,000 volunteers taking part in the show.
Actor Rowan Atkinson as "Mr. Bean" provided laughs, shown dreaming that he was appearing in "Chariots of Fire," the inspiring story of a Scotsman and an Englishman at the 1924 Paris Games.