2020 Film Review: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga
Updated: Jul 2
Anyone who knows of the Eurovision Song Contest knows how wonderfully weird it can be, as European nations - and Australia for some reason - come together for some light-hearted fun and music. With the contest already being suitably wacky enough, it is actually an interesting concept for a comedy film, combining elements of a sports movie within it too. With a great backload of material to go off by, an illustrious history and a fun concept to begin with, it seemed like this could end up being quite the gem. Unfortunately, this film has one major hurdle that really hinders it, that being its co-writer and co-leading star Will Ferrell.
Ferrell co-writes and stars as Lars Erickssong, a candidate for one of the most insufferable characters of the year. Constantly complaining, being selfish and just downright awful for the most part and there is nothing that makes you want to root for this character. This fundamental flaw hinders the film so much as you can't understand why the other lead - more on her later - tolerates them and considers them to be a love interest, it is simply because the script says so. The character is a selfish egomaniac who appreciates very little, showcasing resiliency as the only positive trait. There is a late character arc but its so little in the grand scheme of things that it takes away from the ending. The writing within the movie fails to draw great laughs, as it appeals to making cheap and lazy jokes about Iceland alongside an abundance of horrible penis humour. There's great potential with this material but resorting to awful, childish humour that Ferrell has overdone to death, the film completely squanders it. Sad to say but Ferrell's inclusion as a writer almost completely derails this film. Almost.
For how bad the inclusion of Ferrell may be, the film is extremely lucky to be blessed by Rachel McAdams who really carries the film. She is the exact opposite of Ferrell, likeable in every way and someone you really want to root for. It is deliberate to make there be quite a difference between the two, but the pair are so polarising to one another that you can't really get behind them as a pairing, leaving you to spend a lot of the time hoping McAdams' character breaks free. McAdams has instant likeability and like in 'Game Night', she truly shines yet again. The writing doesn't help again painting her as thick sometimes rather than the creative and thoughtful mind she possesses but eventually, it manages to succeed in some heartwarming scenes the character deserves. A solo adventure may have been a lot better suited, as McAdams character Sigrit is the true heart of this film, and the film should have focussed its spotlight on her. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case, adding to the frustrations of missed opportunities.
As previously mentioned, the film does eventually end up landing on its feet, providing some good moments. It is in these moments where the film truly embraces the spirit of Eurovision as a celebration and something that is uplifting to many people underneath the craziness. The opportunity to showcase what your country is about and bring hope to many is handled great in the last musical number. The contest consists of many nations that are smaller than the majority of American states, the proper definition of small town. In the final musical number, you can't help but get caught in amongst the pride that is represented each year. However, it is important to note that this is only shown very, very late on into the 2-hour runtime, meaning that although it manages to stumble to a secure landing, its buildup leaves a lot to be desired. I hate to go on about missed opportunities, but the film really does showcase some great potential that gets bogged down amongst so much nonsense.
I am quite saddened at how this film turned out due to how great it really could be. This is a truly bizarre world that deserves recognition and to be explored furthermore, especially due to it being unable to take place this year. Sadly though, these are all could have beens as I can't lie about how this film doesn't properly succeed, no matter how desperate I am for it to do so. Rachel McAdams turn is genuinely great and Dan Stevens deserves recognition for a fun performance but ultimately, the damage from Ferrell is too much to overcome.
Final Rating: 2/5
If you're peculiar about learning more about the Eurovision song contest, I implore to explore more about it as there are some true gems within there. From classic performances featuring Abba and Celine Dion, to truly bizarre acts that you have to see to believe, looking at you Spain 2008. Also, check out Iceland's actual Eurovision entry from this year, 'Think About Things' by Daði Freyr, it is an absolute bop. As usual, thank you for taking the time to read my review, I hope you enjoyed it and it is much appreciated. Make sure to come back for more film reviews soon as well as my 10 films to check out on streaming services in July, coming very soon. Once again, thank you for reading and continue to stay safe!