Who doesn’t need a little bit of stupidity in their lives right now? If escapism is what you asked for, you’ve come to the right place.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a 2020 release that hit Netflix right at the end of lockdown in the UK. a.k.a. a time when we needed comedy the most. Our protagonists are a couple of Icelandic singers who have formed a pretty terrible band named Fire Saga. When a few things here and there go wrong and the band gets extremely lucky as a result, they end up fulfilling their lifelong dream of representing Iceland at the Eurovision Song Contest. (If you didn’t know already, Eurovision is the campest, most ridiculous, and best competition that ever existed.) The worry is that they’ll embarrass themselves in front of the whole of Europe (and Australia – hey, girl), but what actually happens in a pretty nice fairy tale.
Whilst I really like Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams, this movie should have been led by two European actors. (May I suggest Marion Cotillard? It would be incredibly out of the box for her but I just have this feeling she has some hidden comedy talent within her.) Sadly, the pair of them make it feel more like an all-out piss take rather than a love letter to Eurovision, and I get that it’s trying to be a comedy but it’s definitely more of a laugh AT Eurovision rather than a laugh WITH Eurovision. (And yes, I know Ferrell is a big fan in real life due to his Swedish spouse, but the tone just didn’t reflect that for the majority of time.)
I got a couple of giggles out of this (hello to national treasure and star of What We Do in the Shadows, Natasia Demetriou), but that’s all they were. Giggles. Not the laugh-out-loud type of affair you’d anticipate after seeing the trailer. However, it’s possible that some of the jokes here were slightly Americanised to help them feel as though they were part of it (aww), and end up drifting away from actual comedy.
A lot of fine tuning with the script needed to be made before putting this out all willy nilly like that. There’s absolutely no excuse for this movie being over two hours, and although obviously you are following their journey to the contest, there’s very little depth to anything that is going on and it needed to be shorter. Several sequences were wholly unnecessary, but at least the framework is there for what could have been.
The best part of this whole movie is the music. Every single song is an absolute banger and would completely fit in amongst real Eurovision songs. For me, the best part was seeing past winners making an appearance too 😍
Now, excuse me while I rant a little on the unrealistic parts of this that really should have been fact-checked:
Half of this doesn’t factually fit with the reality of Eurovision. Firstly, if it was held in Scotland then that would mean the UK won the contest the year before (they literally joke about the UK getting zero points every year within the movie, so clearly that is unrealistic.) I mean, unless someone like Adele or Lewis Capaldi represented us the previous year, we’d have no chance. Spoiler alert: they would never.
Secondly, the UK and Germany wouldn’t be in the semi-final because both countries have automatic places in the final. (This is due to some really boring small print about how the countries who contribute the most financially don’t need to participate in the run-up to the final contest.) There are other bits and bobs in there too that don’t make sense, and if you know anything about Eurovision you’ll know all this, so it really takes away from the realism of it all. Sorry, Mr. Ferrell. You should have asked your wife first.
ANYWAY. Sorry about that, but Eurovision is precious to me and you shouldn’t taint its honour.
Thankfully, the movie ended up being pretty enjoyable – albeit too long – and now my girlfriend sing ‘Ja Ja Ding Dong’ almost daily. Give it a watch if you’re in the mood for some pure, unadulterated fun.
Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.
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