Director: David Dobkin
Starring: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens, Pierce Brosnan
Right, let me start off this review by letting you know that I am a huge fan of Eurovision.
However, I really tried not to let my love of the campest and most incredible song contest in the world cloud my judgement.
If anything, my love of Eurovision made me feel even more trepidatious about this film.
I went into watching Netflix’s new movie based on Eurovision, brilliantly titled Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga, thinking it was going to be yet another bad Will Ferrell movie.
He’s been making poor movie after poor movie these days and hasn’t been in anything genuinely good since The Lego Movie.
His shtick was starting to run thin about ten years ago, and he’s been playing the same role and doing the same movie over and over again forever.
There was one movie he did called Stranger Than Fiction where I felt he was breaking new ground as an actor, but he’s never really explored that side of him since.
That said, I do have a soft spot for The Other Guys, which I think is one of his best movies.
Is Euorvision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga Will Ferrell’s best movie in years?
Anyway, Ferrell’s recent movies and the trailer for this Netflix Eurovision movie didn’t really get me excited to watch the film.
However, when I finally decided to sit down and watch this Eurovision flick, I found myself laughing and enjoying it far more than I expected to.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t sitting there thinking this was a masterpiece, but I did feel that everybody involved in this movie really understood what Eurovision is all about.
This film (which from now on I’m just going to refer to as Fire Saga) seems to capture that wonderful Eurovision campness and ‘joie de vivre’.
Eurovision is never really about the music. It’s all about how over the top people can go, and this movie is very ‘over the top’.
Ferrell and McAdams play the two only members of an Icelandic band called Fire Saga.
All they’ve ever wanted since they were kids was to represent Iceland at the Eurovision Song Contest.
However, Ferrell’s character, Lars Erickssong, doesn’t just want to compete. He wants to win.
So, after a while of just performing in a little fishing village in Iceland, Fire Saga are remarkably chosen to be one of Iceland’s possible entries for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Despite a huge mixup on-stage and becoming something of a laughing stock live on Icelandic television, Fire Saga is chosen to represent Iceland at Eurovision.
I won’t go into how they ended up there, but it’s all rather convoluted, but also manages to be quite amusing.
Rachel McAdams’ is Fire Saga’s secret sauce
So, what Ferrell is doing in this movie is nothing new.
We’ve seen him play this sort of self-obsessed, goofy, stupid yet also kind of loveable character in the past.
He’s done it before countless times and has become pretty good at it.
However, this film’s secret weapon is in the cast surrounding Ferrell, and in particular Rachel McAdams.
McAdams plays Lars’ bandmate, Sigrit and she’s doing a pretty accurate Bjork impression, which fits perfectly into the whole Eurovision vibe (even though Bjork never took part in the competition).
McAdams has quietly become one of the best comedic actors of our time.
People don’t often recognise her for her comedic work, but she’s brilliant in every comedy I’ve ever seen her in.
I am positive that this film wouldn’t work if it weren’t for McAdams’ slightly low key performance.
Her character is the one we really latch on to and sympathise with, not Ferrell’s Lars.
The two of them are backed up by Dan Stevens’ who’s wonderfully hamming it up as the creepy Russian Eurovision entry.
Eurovision lovers should like this movie
I also really enjoyed Pierce Brosnan’s performance as Lars’ father who has seemingly fathered every child in the Icelandic village apart from McAdams’ Sigrit.
There are quite a few jokes in the movie about how Lars and Sigrit are “probably not” related.
This does lead me into the main issue I had with this film – it’s racial stereotyping of people from Iceland is pretty bad.
However, they kind of get away with it because the movie is just so ridiculous and also nobody is safe in this movie.
It literally makes fun of every country. I especially enjoyed Ferrell’s joke at the expense of the American backpackers who turn up in the movie.
I will definitely keep the line: “Go back home and build your wall” in my locker whenever I come across a distinctly annoying American.
There’s also a joke about nobody liking the UK at Eurovision which I really enjoyed.
So, yes, I enjoyed Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga.
It’s not the best movie ever made, and it won’t win any awards, but this was the film I kind of needed in a year when we won’t be getting any Eurovision.
It filled a Eurovision-shaped hole in my year, and I thank it for that.
I understand why there are a lot of people who didn’t like the movie, but this film is geared towards people who enjoy sitting in front of the TV once a year and watch people from countries like San Marino and Malta perform their wacky pop songs in outrageous outfits surrounded by manic dancers.
Have you watched Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga on Netflix?
What did you make of it?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.