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.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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