Did the elves really go too far? Rachel McAdams may think so, but we certainly don’t. Here’s our review of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
Eurovision. The most ostentatiously outrages song contest to ever grace our screens, yet it’s been an absolute hit since the first airing way back in 1956. Just when you thought that the show couldn’t possibly get any crazier, each year another performance has us on the edge of our seats. Whether it’s through fits of giggles, horror or sheer disbelief, it’s a contest that just keeps on giving. From dancing grannies to pirates and air hostesses. The pan-European competition has proven that the impossible can be made possible. In fact, it comes with added sparkles, glitter and the occasional sexy roman soldier or milk-maid.
Alas, like everything else that is wholesome with the world Eurovision 2020 did not go ahead due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Netflix gifted us with a show that encompasses everything that is Eurovision.
“Wedding Crashers” director David Dobkin has created an endearing comedy. With an infectious charm that entertains in the most bizarre of circumstances. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is fun, quirky and unbelievably outrageous with a full cast. Including Demi Lovato, Dan Stevens and Pierce Brosnan.
It follows the story of two life-long friends Lars and Ingrid (Will Farrell and Rachel McAdams). They have dreams of entering the contest, and after a fluke entry acceptance, they begin their journey towards Eurovision fame. Although Rotten Tomatoes only presented it with 3 stars, I believe it’s worth so much more, and here’s why.
A review of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga must look at performances. Farrell returns to his initial charming comedic persona. One that saw his fanbase rocket in the mid-nineties during his time on the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. But it’s McAdams who steals the show with her innocent portrayal of Ingrid. An elf-loving, free-spirited woman who is secretly (but blatantly) in love with Lars. Having grown up watching Farrell in films such as “Elf” and “Anchor Man”. And McAdams with her fantastic portrayal as Regina George and her heart-wrenching performance in The Notebook. I thought I would never see the day that the two would combine in a rom-com. Yet both compliment each other perfectly, with the added pizazz and charm that was very much needed for such a film. McAdams brings the house down with her brilliantly-timed witty reactions to Farrell’s comedic style.
One of the movie’s first scenes reveals Will Farrell and Rachel McAdams in full Nordic costume. Singing at the top of their lungs in the middle of Icelandic vista about a volcanic protector. If that doesn’t set the scene for the whole movie, the soundtrack itself certainly does.
It encapsulates the silly traditions of Eurovision without making offence. Yet it is catchy enough to have you bobbing your head without even realising it with a mixture of techno vibes and some rather absurd lyrics.
Room for improvement
The only downside I can find to the music as a whole is that while Farrell sings to the best of his ability, only adding to the overall wit. Ingrid’s vocals are mainly voiced by Swedish singer and junior Eurovision 2006 entry Molly Sandén. Who we can thank for that spectacular high note at the end of “Husavik – My Home Town”. Still, according to music producer Savan Kotecha, McAdams did contribute to most of the soundtrack, albeit in small doses. According to Kotecha, McAdams’ voice blended in well with Sandén’s tone. Though, when Vanity Fair questioned Sandén on the comment, she disagreed, stating “I didn’t really hear her in the soundtrack… maybe it’s mixed in somewhere.”
Either way, the finale of the film is simply stunning thanks to McAdams’ innocent and effortless acting performance. On the subject of “Husavik”, it is, in my view, the only song of the whole soundtrack that isn’t shadowed by dramatics. It has strange lyrical combinations and odd noise amplifications. Although the rest of Eurovision’s music is fun and energetic, “Husavik” brings you back down to earth with a huge bump. It’s a breath-taking end to an all-round crazy journey.
The annual contest is, by all means, theatrical and I’m completely for it, but The Story of Fire Saga is in a world of its own when it comes to melodramatics. Take Lars and Ingrid’s stage set up during their first Eurovision performance, “Double Trouble”. It’s practically comical that the soft notes of Ingrid’s opening lyrics are juxtaposed with two very brightly dressed male dances waving their arms dramatically either side of Ingrid. Enter Lars dressed in a blinding modern replica of a 90s boiler suit. Riding downstage on a giant hamster wheel. And it quickly imitates Verka Serduchka’s 2007 entry “Dancing Lasha Tumbai”, with a touch of Conchita Wurst’s “Rise Like A Phoenix”.
The theatrics don’t stop with the performances, though. They ricochet throughout the movie. Especially with the tremendous boat explosion scene. Which, in true King Ralph fashion, exterminates all other Icelandic candidates. Leaving nothing but the half-dismembered ghost of pop singer Katiana (Demi Lovato). She follows Lars in attempts to warn him of the dangers ahead.
Between the chaos of inexplicable lyrics, stage lighting, dramatic costumes and outrageously comic script lies Pierce Brosnan. A gentle reminder that this story is, in fact, an exaggerated replica of real Eurovision life. And that behind every eye-popping, mind-boggling performance that graces our television each year. There is almost certainly a parent back home shaking their head in complete disbelief.
Now let’s all sing a few verses of “Jaja Ding Dong” together.
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10
Thanks for reading our review of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, currently streaming on Netflix. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
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Read IMDB information about Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga HERE.
Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters
Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?
Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw
While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.
Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor
Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff
Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.
Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw
Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.
Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.
Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor
Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.
Dr Strange- Ravenclaw
Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.
Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff
Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.
Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin
This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.
T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff
T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor
At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.
Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.
Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.
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