On Saturday night, I watched some of the replay of the Sochi Winter Olympic opening, although I did take the opportunity to doze through the athletes entry part. (Always the most tedious part, isn't it?)
It was all on a very spectacular scale; in fact, these host country promoting spectacles have become so elaborate they're becoming almost unattractively elephantine and wasteful.
As for specific elements of it, I have to say that, not having read War and Peace, I was not assisted in my understanding of the story by watching an arty quasi re-enactment of it by hundreds of ballet dancers. My main thought while watching this was that one of male leads in a key sequence with a heroine (she's torn between a few different men, is she?) had quite a "Robert Helpmann" look about him. (But are Russian ballet dancers allowed to be gay?) Yes, if ever there was an art form that is highly unsuited to a realistic depiction of romantic, heterosexual love, it's ballet. (Women who go watch it will probably disagree - I suspect I have 95% of the male population on my side.)
I didn't make it to the end - the Russian Revolution occurred (portrayed in a kind of neutral way) then industrialisation started happening and Russians started having babies (I was moving in and out of the room by that stage and was having trouble following.) I assume they didn't get to the modern part where about 40% of Russian working age men die of alcohol related illness: an enormous bottle of vodka emerging from the stadium floor and hosing liquid from the top over the happy crowd of male ballet dancers falling over pretend-drunk might have been seen to be sending the wrong message.
Come to think of it, the country might have done better by pouring billions of dollars into Alcoholics Anonymous style programs.
I'm sure I'm not the only person to suggest it, but can't the Olympics go back to something less elaborate? A few songs, a bunch of dancers, perhaps a 10 minute re-enactment of the original nude version (with the addition of women for the benefit of the modern viewer) would keep the ratings up games after games. Then on with the athletes and a quirky lighting ceremony. Fireworks display. Done. No more than 90 minutes all up (athletes should jog on if necessary.) That's my suggestion.