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Movie Review: “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Netflix Release: 6/26/2020

Netflix Release: 6/26/2020

Synopsis

At a young age, Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) developed a passion for the Eurovision Song Contest. While his father (Pierce Brosnan) made it very well known that he hated the idea and would rather die then see his son perform at Eurovision, Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams) supported Lars’ passion, and she joined him in his fantasy. Thus, the two formed the band known as Fire Saga, and began performing and writing songs with the hopes that they would one day make it to the Eurovision Song Contest. Unfortunately, decades have come and gone, and the duo are no closer to achieving their dream than when they started.

However, in a stroke of luck, Fire Saga is chosen at random to audition for Eurovision. However, their stroke of luck has only gotten them an audition, and there are many other great bands and vocalists trying for the same spot in the Eurovision Song Contest. The competition will be great, but Lars and Sigrit know that this may be their only chance at achieving their dreams, and they will not let this opportunity slip away. Lars’ father Erick is already ashamed of his son, and fears being embarrassed by his son on an international scale, but Lars intends to prove everyone wrong, including his father.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The ProsThe Cons

Eurovision & Musicals (+4pts)

The Comedy (-6pts)

Pierce Brosnan (+3pts)

The Producer & The Plot (-6pts)

Will Ferrell & Rachel McAdams (+3pts)

Predictable (-6pts)

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Pro: Eurovision & Musicals (+4pts)

It was not that I loved the premise or thought that there was some great plot around it, but one thing that the premise did effectively was make way for songs. There were songs from various auditions and there were songs at the Eurovision Song Contest as well, but there were even musical numbers in which a bunch of characters just started singing. The premise worked as it was simple and easy to get behind. The protagonists wanted to get to Eurovision, and win the whole thing, which made sense, but it also worked because it made this a musical in which all of the songs felt like they occurred naturally.

One thing that always annoys me about musicals is that the songs never seem to occur naturally or realistically. You could see a character’s father die, then see that same character break out into song, and be joined by a bunch of strangers. I just cannot buy into musicals for that reason, but this movie did not have that problem. Every song was either part of a performance in front of an audience, or they were songs sung by a bunch of singers, and it let me buy into the musical nature of this story.

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Con: The Comedy (-6pts)

The comedy in this movie was not great, and by that I mean there were only a few moments that were even able to make me chuckle. If you see this movie, you will know to expect Will Ferrell’s dumb style of comedy. However, the comedy in this movie was dumb even by those standards. There were a lot of “comedic” moments, but pretty much every single one of them fell flat. There were a few minor exceptions, but it was overall not funny, and that made the rest of this movie’s problems more apparent.

When watching a comedy like this one, you can expect to have to overlook a ridiculous or predictable plot, and one-dimensional characters. However, the audiences ability to overlook these issues depends entirely on how effective the comedy is. If a comedy is really funny, it makes those sacrifices seem worthwhile. If the comedy is not effective, then it becomes yet another issue to add to the movie’s pile of issues, and that was what happened with this movie. This was a ridiculous, poorly developed and predictable story, and the lack of even decent comedic moments made this movie feel like a dud.

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Pro: Pierce Brosnan (+3pts)

I was a little surprised when I saw Pierce Brosnan was in this movie, as it seemed like the kind of movie that would be beneath him. That being said, he added quite a lot of depth to the story, especially when considering how little screen-time he got. He played the role of Lars’ disapproving father well. The shame his character felt toward Lars was clear, both in his words and in the facial expressions that Pierce Brosnan brought to the screen so effectively, but the character was more layered than just that. During the scenes in which he was watching his son perform, it was clear that as much as he disapproved of what his son was doing he still wanted to see his son succeed. It was a complexity that Pierce Brosnan handled very well, so well in fact, that it felt like Pierce Brosnan was in a different movie than every one else.

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Con: The Producer & The Plot (-6pts)

I already mentioned this while talking about how I thought the comedy in this movie mostly fell flat, but I will go into it with more detail here. The lack of comedy made the rest of the movie’s problems more obvious, and one of those problems was the plot. I thought the filmmakers did a poor job of setting up Lars and Sigrit’s path to winning the Eurovision Song Contest. As a result, each performance felt somewhat meaningless, like nothing more than an excuse to squeeze in a couple more songs.

It also made it such that I was not invested in the story, because I had no idea what Lars and Sigrit had to get through in order to achieve their goal. Then there was the storyline regarding the producer, who played a pretty important role in the story, but got almost no focus. It gave me the impression that the filmmakers used him as a plot device to write themselves out of a corner—the corner they wrote themselves into by establishing Demi Lovato’s character was a sure thing—then they wrote him out of the story as an almost after thought once they no longer needed him. The plot for this movie was weak, and it felt like the filmmakers did not really think it through entirely. Instead, it felt like they just slapped together a rough story in order to loosely tie all the songs together.

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Pro: Will Ferrell & Rachel McAdams (+3pts)

As uninteresting and unfunny as I thought this movie was, I thought it was tolerable because of Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams. They completely leaned into the silliness of their characters and the plot, and I thought they made the best out of the situation. Granted, Will Ferrell is known for improvising comedic moments, and I never thought the movie was very funny if at all, so I am sure he is partially to blame for the comedy not working. That being said, I do not think the failure of the comedy was entirely his fault. I think he was funny enough in the moments that felt improvised, but I think the lack of comedic writing behind him made it hard for him to throw in effective improvised comedy on top of that. Their story was predictable, and the comedy was lacking, but I thought Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams did the best they could in their situations, and they were among this movie's few strengths.

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Con: Predictable (-6pts)

This should really be no surprise, as the rest of the movie was pretty poorly developed, but the plot of this movie was incredibly predictable. I knew whether or not they would make it to the Eurovision Song Contest, I knew what would come of the storyline between Lars and his father, I knew what would come of the storyline between Lars and Sigrit, and I even knew the role Dan Steven's character would play in it all. Do not get me wrong, I was not expecting plot twist after plot twist, but the movie did not seem to do anything special with its story. It was just a generic plot that had absolutely no surprises, and it made this a pretty boring movie to watch.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: D+ (67pts)

I like Will Ferrell and his comedic style, but this movie was a struggle to get through. The comedy was pretty much not there at all. Do not get me wrong, there were many attempts at comedy, but almost none of them landed, and that made the rest of the movie's issues a lot more obvious. Those issues were a plot that the filmmakers did a poor job of explaining, and a story that was predictable in almost every way. These things made this movie boring, and I had to make a conscious effort not to turn the movie off, because I knew I was doing this review.

The movie was not without its strengths, but those strengths were far from enough to save this movie. I liked the depth that Pierce Brosnan brought to his character, and I liked the way that the songs were part of the story, rather than having a musical where characters just break out into song at random and sometimes inappropriate times. Finally there were Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams, who did an okay job with what they were given, but they were not given much. I like Will Ferrell's comedic style and I normally like his movies, but I thought this one was bad.