Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (hell of a title) is coming to Netflix this Friday and ladies and gentlemen it is, a weird film.
Starring Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan and Dan Stevens Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga sees two Icelandic Eurovision hopefuls get their shot at the big time and the adventure that awaits them is a weird one that the audience gets to join them on.
A time long ago
The film opens in 1974 in Iceland as a young boy and girl are watching the Eurovision. Having lost his mother the year previous young Lars is inspired by the arrival of ABBA. He immediately promises that someday he’ll win the Eurovision along with his best friend Sigrit.
Fast forward 46 years (holy crap) and Lars (Ferrell) and Sigrit (McAdams) are trying to get into the Eurovision Song Contest. After a series of insane events they somehow find themselves representing Iceland and from there we’re off to the races.
Right I just want to get this out of the way. Rachel McAdams is a decade too young to be in this film, not only that Pierce Brosnan plays Ferrell’s father so if you work out the math he should be in his 80’s.
It’s madness. I get that the director is using the introduction of Abba into the Eurovision as the inspiration for the adventure but that inspiration is barely utilised in the film. Maybe once or twice.
Another issue is Ferrell, one of our lead protagonists, is quite unlikable. To the point where I didn’t want him to succeed in his goals. Also, Ferrell shouldn’t have starred as Lars. In my opinion, Lars should been played by Alexander Skarsgård. I know Skarsgård isn’t Icelandic but as a Swedish actor he’s more convincing and he has comedic chops as well.
Thankfully he has an excellent rapport with his co-lead McAdams. She is the beating heart of this film and she bowled me over. I adored her in this film and would have actually watched a film just about her. Together their story is compelling and kept me coming back for more.
Then the Lion of Love enters
What makes the Eurovision so addictive to its audience are several factors. One of those is the cavalcade of characters that are involved. In Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga one such character is the Russian Lion of Love Alexander Lemtov played with gusto by Dan Stevens. His one character represents the madness, the wildness, and the heart of the Eurovision.
When he enters the film he immediately grabs you and steals every scene he’s in.
But what of the music of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
The music of the Eurovision has always been wild and the music for this film is equally as ambitious. There are some original songs here that are for this Eurovision and they’re wild and fun and I really got into.
This brings me to the secret star of this film, Molly Sandén. She is McAdams’ voice and she is incredible. She is technically in it a lot as Sigrit sings quite a bit in this film and it would be a shame not to mention the talent of this artist.
On the other elements of this film, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is decent. The cinematography of Iceland and Scotland is beautiful. Each location’s beauty, especially Iceland is shown off wonderfully. The acting could be better and in that, I mean the accents, both AcAdam’s and Ferrell’s Icelandic accents are questionable. Brosnan for the time he’s in the film sounds like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets and I’m not so sure about Stevens’ Russian accent.
So what’s the score?
Ultimately if you’re a fan of Eurovision itself there’s a lot to enjoy here. There are issues, the miscasting of Will Ferrell is one though this is a passion project of his so I can understand why he’d want to be a part of it.
There is also the fact that this film, in my opinion, would have worked far better as an ensemble piece or mockumentary in the style of Best in Show, For Your Consideration, or Mascots.
There was also the missed opportunity of having an interactive element to this like Netflix films like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch or the recently released Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend special. Adding an interactive element where you choose your winner would have been awesome.
On a final note, one that will sting our Irish readers. Ireland is completely absent from this film. We’re not in the film even though we’re Eurovision royalty and that is a nitpick but it’s our nitpick.
However, I cannot take away from how much fun I had watching this film warts and all. Nothing can take away from its heart and if a film can bring me to tears then it’s definitely something special even if it’s not perfect. Since there is no Eurovision this year this film is a suitable replacement.
Stay tuned to Scannain for more reviews, interviews and news.