Over the years, Will Ferrell has become rather well known for starring in some rather out there comedies. What else can we say other than he plays crazy well. He delights in bringing these outlandish colourful characters to life and has often brought his own writing talents to the screen in many a movie. In a year that has been anything but ordinary, we have often found ourselves turning to Netflix for entertainment whilst stuck at home with little else to do, and the popular streaming service has been churning out new movies and series as if it was going out of fashion. In June, Netflix and Ferrell came together in the release of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, and well it was interesting to say the least.
Let’s be honest here, the Eurovision Song Contest is bonkers. It always has been and always will be. Crazy contestants, ridiculous costumes, songs that mostly make absolutely no sense, and the knowledge that any entrant from the UK is always going to come pretty far down the score sheet. When you think about it probably, it’s actually rather surprising that a film about this strange musical and somewhat political competition hasn’t already been made, but that’s where Will Ferrell comes in with the creation of the story of Fire Saga. The film takes the craziness of Eurovision, mixes in the strange lives of two performers from a tiny town in Iceland, adds many a series of surprising events and throws in some rather catchy songs along the way. It’s all rather odd and stupid really, but for a couple of hours of light entertainment, it’s pretty easy watching.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga tells the story of Lars (Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams), two residents of this tiny little town in Iceland who grew up together. As children, they hear ABBA performing ‘Waterloo’ on the Eurovision Song Contest and together develop a dream of representing Iceland in the singing competition. As adults they struggle to even entertain a pub crowd with their music, but they are determined to make it to Eurovision together, and when they finally get the chance, they won’t let a series of odd and over the top circumstances get in the way.
Together as Lars and Sigrit, Ferrell and McAdams are both likable enough to make you want to support them through to their dream, even if they are both a little stupid and slow on the uptake at times. With no one at home really believing that they can do it, they have an admirable level of determination, even when being told by those in charage of picking Iceland’s entry that they will never be good enough. Not even Lar’s father Erik (Peirce Brosnan) has any faith in his son, and tries to ignore everything that he is doing in order to get to the competition. I have to admit that Brosnan did seem an odd choice for this angry and constantly frowning character, with an attempt at an Icelandic accent falling flat throughout. I think that the constant anger, ignoring and somewhat bullying behaviour was supposed to be comical, but overall it was all just rather annoying.
Downton Abbey and Beauty and the Beast star Dan Stevens plays Alexander Lemtov, a fellow Eurovision hopeful who takes the shy and reserved Sigrit under his wing. Ridiculously confident and larger than life, he takes her to parties featuring huge sing alongs and tells her that anything is possible. Whilst it may appear that he’s purely there to lead her away from Lars, Alexander is likable and actually rather sweet. Demi Lovato appears throughout as Katiana, another hopeful Iceland representative for the song contest and a number of Eurovision favourites from across the years also put in appearances, along with Graham Norton playing himself commentating on the song contest.
Whilst the basis of the story is pretty basic, making for a film that is easy to follow and enjoyable enough for light entertainment, there are some moments that are just plain stupid. I won’t spoil anything but there are some points where you do just have to take a moment to think ‘what the actual hell’. Yes, it’s ridiculous and yes, it’s stupid, but somehow it sort of works. We automatically associate the Eurovision Song Contest with craziness and stupidity, so in a film that is based completely around it, we can let a few stupid moments slide and allow ourselves to laugh at the craziness of it all.