As Brunel watched on, the bucolic British landscape transformed into a land of smokestacks and gears, innovation and technological advancement, leading eventually to the spectacular forging of the Olympic rings, which hovered above the stage, followed by a very poignant remembrance of those who have died in all wars, set amidst the poppies of Flanders Field.
The tribute to the Industrial Revolution transitioned to the dreamscape of children's' fantasy, in which the villains of British kid-lit descended: Captain Hook, Voldemort, The Queen of Hearts, and Cruella DeVille, only to be vanquished by an airborne squadron of Mary Poppinses, armed with umbrellas (and perhaps a spoonful or two of sugar). An appearance by author J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) put the frosting on this strange and whimsical display.
More than an homage to British children's' literature, the segment also honored the country's single-payer National Health Service, which provides medical coverage to all. Established in 1948, it has been much derided as "socialized medicine" (especially by American Conservatives perpetually claiming the U.S. has the best health care system in the world), yet it's undeniable that something is right with it. The U.K. health care system ranks 13th in the world. The U.S. by contrast sits 21 spots below at 39.
The final segment, introduced with an appearance by Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean, was the most fun as Boyle took spectators on a magical mystery tour through four generations of British rock, which included snippets from the '60s through through today. The montage played out against the backdrop of a classic boy meets girl romance between two teenagers, modernized to the digital age made more accessible by the creator of the World Wide Web, British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Clips from many decades of British film and television flashed by quickly, including Boyle's own Trainspotting, as well as Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Full Monty, a bit of Charlie Chaplain, and many, many others.