“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” stars Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens, and Demi Lovato. Released on Netflix on June 26, 2020, the film has two Icelandic singers representing their country at an international song competition.
The film is directed by David Dobkin, who also directed films such as “Clay Pigeons”, “Wedding Crashers”, “The Change-Up”, and “The Judge”. Now here’s something that left me completely mind-boggled. We have a film that’s centered on a singing competition that some of us aren’t familiar with. Fancy that. I did some research on it and here’s what I learn from it. Apparently, the film is based on the “Eurovision Song Contest”, which is an annual international song competition that features participants representing their European countries by performing their original songs. So, think of it as Europe’s version of “American Idol”, but instead of doing cover songs, you have to come up with your own song. This latest comedy was originally planned for a May 2020 release to coincide with the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest, but the competition was sadly cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that didn’t stop the film from being released. The show must go on, I guess. This is a pretty neat opportunity for me to experience a singing competition that doesn’t have “American Idol” in the title. But aside from that, is it able to blow me away with its talent?
The story follows Lars Erickssong (Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdottir (McAdams), two small-town friends who form a musical duo known as Fire Saga. When they are chosen to compete in a singing competition called Eurovision Song Contest, the duo must face multiple obstacles in order to come out on top and impress Lars’ disapproving father (Brosnan) as well as their hometown. The film is best described as both a tale about chasing one’s dreams and proving the naysayers wrong and an introduction to the Eurovision Song Contest for the newcomers. They can always look back at the competitions from the past if that’s an option, but if not, I would say that this is a suitable choice for those who are curious. As for the film itself, there’s nothing really special about this one due to its formulaic storyline, but aside from that, it’s a mildly entertaining comedy that’s backed up by its amusing, yet strange, humor and David Dobkin’s handling of its inspiring message. Yeah, that’s right. This is another Will Ferrell movie that I actually enjoy. Come at me, bro! On second thought, please don’t. Ferrell and McAdams did a pretty decent job carrying the film together when it comes to their performances and the chemistry between the two. While the film doesn’t offer any surprises in its storytelling, it immediately makes up for it by having the two main actors sing their hearts out and letting the sparks fly in the process. Dan Stevens and Pierce Brosnan were also decent in their roles as Alexander Lemtov and Erick Erickssong respectively, and Demi Lovato…well, she’s not in the film that much, but her singing is still top-notch in my book. The film’s humor wasn’t all that bad either. Sure, it’s got a couple of shenanigans that Ferrell is known for, but there were actually some humorous parts that worked quite well for me. It’s not going to win everybody over because humor is subjective, but in my eyes, it’s funny enough to keep me entertained. I also have to give the film credit for its soundtrack. Despite a few jukebox songs thrown in there, the soundtrack has enough enjoyable moments to make me tap my feet with glee and fill my ears with happiness and good cheer. What can I say? I’m a sucker for these types of soundtracks. My personal highlight of the soundtrack would have to be the songs that were performed by Ferrell, McAdams, and Swedish singer Molly Sandén, such as “Double Trouble” and “Volcano Man”. By the way, it was actually Sandén singing for McAdams and not McAdams herself. As I mentioned before, the plot has that “been there, done that” scenario even though Dobkin’s execution on its formula was fairly acceptable. The film also has this issue where a simplistic story that could’ve been 90 minutes long got a bit too stretched out. Its two-hour runtime is indeed questionable for something like this. Fortunately, it didn’t distract me long enough to ruin my experience. I think I would’ve liked it a bit more if they either remove or shorten a couple of scenes that were too dumb or too surreal for its intended tone.
Overall, as an introduction to the annual singing competition from Europe, “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” has enough moments to get newcomers interested. As a comedy with a heartfelt message, it’s a formulaic, but watchable, Netflix film that hits most of the high notes. The story is indeed predictable and its narrative structure can be a bit overlong, but despite those flaws, the film was able to earn second place due to the likable chemistry between Ferrell and McAdams, some decent humor, and its soundtrack. It’s not the type of film that’s going to win a lot of Grammys or a lot of Academy Awards, but if you’re still interested in it regardless, it’s worth a watch.