REVIEW: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

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Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

When Will Ferrell‘s latest was greenlit, no one imagined it would be the only taste of the iconic singing (and more important, performing) competition the world would see in 2020 but life comes at you fast, and at least we do have Fire Saga. For the uninitiated, Eurovision is a yearly spectacular amongst European and European adjacent countries. After their internal competitions, each country sends its best act to compete. Comparisons to reality competition shows like The Voice or American Idol fall flat because of the way each country is intimately involved in the process and just the pervasive way patriotism and fandom intersect.

None of this is necessary to enjoy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, the story of a disaster team from Iceland, Fire Saga, and how they managed to get to the Eurovision Song Contest finals but just know there’s not much that’s exaggerated in the performances (all of which are absolute bops!).

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is not for the diehard fan who’s looking for an exact replica of Eurovision. It is, of course, impossible to replicate a months-long process in a two-hour film telling its own story so some liberties are taken with the voting systems and structure of the competition, but what the movie lacks in accuracy it makes up for in pure delight. In a stunning mashup that would make Glee and Pitch Perfect jealous, several past Eurovision stars show up and get to show their stuff and the interplay between countries, particularly Iceland, Russia, and Greece, and seeing some of the behind-the-scenes action is dramatic and fun.

Competition movies like to seriously pit people against each other as rivals but in Eurovision what in another movie might be deliberate plots to sabotage the competition as Russia’s Alex Lemtov (Dan Stevens) and Greece’s Mita Xenakis (Melissanthi Mahut) befriend the Icelandic duo, turns out to be genuine appreciation for their talent and drive. Every now and then Will Ferrell does a film that subverts his oeuvre and they tend to be a nice surprise. Ferrell’s wife is Swedish and likely spent her life cheering for her country in Eurovision, and it’s no surprise that love transferred to Ferrell.

Rachel McAdams As Sigrit in Eurovision Song Contest: Story of Fire Saga

It makes sense then that while most of his films are about Ferrell’s character getting the spotlight after wacky hijinks, in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, it’s Rachel McAdams character, Sigrit, who really gets to shine here. After a lifetime of focusing only on winning and not being an embarrassment, Ferrells’ Lars, finally realizes how selfish he’s been and how he’s been stifling Sigrit by keeping her as his sidekick.

If you’re going into Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga expecting Blades of Glory level humor and partnership you’re going to be disappointed. Rather than a parody of Eurovision, Fire Saga is a love letter to Eurovision. This is a romantic comedy in as much as there is romance (both between characters and with the contest itself) and there is a comedy but it’s really the tale of two people who’ve grown up together, dreamed of a future together and realized that sometimes knowing each other for so long doesn’t mean you Know Each Other.

The comedic moments are far outweighed by poignant character moments and this sometimes makes the comedy hit wrong or feel out of place. But full of original bops and gorgeous scenery, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is sweet and uplifting and everything Pitch Perfect 3 wished it could’ve been.

You can watch Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga now streaming on Netflix.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

If you’re going into Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga expecting Blades of Glory level humor and partnership you’re going to be disappointed. This is a romantic comedy in as much as there is romance and there is comedy but it’s really the tale of two people who’ve grown up together and how sometimes knowing each other for so long doesn’t mean you Know Each Other. Full of original bops and gorgeous scenery, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is sweet and uplifting and everything Pitch Perfect 3 wished it could’ve been.