Quite some time since I blogged last about a movie, no? I don’t know if it’s the lack of new movies during the Corona crisis or just a scarcity of good movies in general. However, today’s review victim isn’t much to write home about either, and usally I’d give it a couple lines in one of my roundhouse kick multi-film-reviews.
But since circumstances are as they are right now, here’s a full-fledged write-up of …
When aspiring musicians Lars and Sigrit are given the opportunity to represent their country at the world’s biggest song competition, they finally have a chance to prove that any dream worth having is a dream worth fighting for.
Hubby said it straight away: “Americans don’t get it.”
That’s it. Review over, Kthxbai
Naaww, my frens I’d not let myself off the hook that easily, and instead take some time explainifying … only to get more or less to the same conclusion as hubby. Here are the reasons why Fire Saga bombed so badly with us.
I guess most of you are kinda familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest and its great potential for ridicule, as a basic principle, personnel, organisation and mindset of the competitors, sponsors, managers and organisers. So we expected a totally over the top joke fest, a fireworks of crackling ridiculousness. Too bad the screenplay was rather tame, pretty sympathetic with the stupid characters and very politically correct.
Wrong subject for political correctness, Hollywood, totally wrong place. The Eurovision Song Contest deserves every piece of bad press, ridicule and low-level puns we can muster up to fire at it. It’s really like your local mental asylum tries to put up a grand spectacle show. Poor, in bad taste and pity high-flying ambitious.
I think most contenders don’t take themselves too seriously as you can see in sick figures like Austria’s Conchita Wurst a couple years ago, or Germany’s Stefan Raab even earlier. The whole contest is a parody in and of itself.
You see, there’s no reason for velvet gloves when it’s about the Eurovision Song Contest. 🙂
This movie is strangely bereft of LOL moments but bumbles along for – too long – two hours runtime filled with harmless, good-hearted fun and some smiles.
Then there is the matter of Will Ferrell: He’s doing his best best to play the Don Quixote, tragic figure, made funny by his weird antics. But here on the European battleground the alleged Icelander Lars Erickssong is one of the more “normal” asylum inmates. The screenplay made sure of that. He appears more like an observer of other people’s insane antics and not concentrating on his own gaga shit.
Nearly every other character in this movie is more interesting, with more charisma than Ferrell’s Lars Erickssong. Particularly the Russian contender Alexander Lemtov, nicely slimey and overacted by Dan Stevens . But in the end the screenplay didn’t give him a single evil bone. Why not? The fuk. This is an American film, the role is Russian. Hello? Pun department, you fallen asleep?
Ferrell’s duo partner Sigrid Ericksdottir (probably not Lars Erickssong’s sister) – a charmingly naive Rachel McAdams – played her role as earnest as if she was a real contender in this most stupid competition ever. Totally talented actress, totally wasted by bad screenplay and direction.
For the low density of jokes and shockers, Fire Saga is with 2 hours runtime about 30 minutes too long. A more focused edit would have saved the movie in some aspect. But not in its entirety as the filmmakers missed so so many opportunities to make this flick one of the best comedies of the 21st century. The amount of cameos and guest roles would alone have made for a dozen new jokes but was glanced over by a production so sure of itself, it squandered all the potential away rather carelessly.
CONCLUSION: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) wasn’t a totally bad film, as was entertaining and not boring. Even charming in parts. And that already means a lot for American-made movies of today. But it could’ve been so much better, with more bite and anarchistic nonsense. Fire Saga could’ve been a second (or third in this regard) Anchorman. But it missed that particular mark by a country mile. Maybe a reason why it ended on Netflix?
Honestly, there was no need to make a movie about this travesty and its cast. Just look at the reality of the ESC:
All those people are punished enough by their very existence.
They’ve been plugging this film the last few weeks on the music radion station I occasionally listen to during the day — your review spares me the ordeal of watching it. Phew!
Yeah, when it comes to Eurovision, no parody or send-up could ever match the sheer silliness of the real thing. 😛
I did a Eurovision special last year, the night after the contest, and the songs themselves weren’t too bad by themselves. But then that’s not what gets judged on the night. And apparently it’s because the event is managed by the European Broadcast Union (EBU) and Israel, Tunisia and Australia are members of that, so they get to take part. (Fun fact: my dad worked in television here in the UK, and several times he was responsible for booking the communication links and hook-ups to bring Eurovision broadcast to UK viewer.)
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I remember, when I was just a wee little killerwhale youngling, the Eurovision Grand Prix – as it was known back then – was a much more earnest, somber competition. It was about real singers, and real music … and totally boring. 😦
But at least it wasn’t just a joke.
Oh, and please don’t get me wrong. It’s not an ordeal to watch Fire Saga. It’s a harmless little feelgood film to watch on a rainy sunday, while munching on mountains of brownies and milk. It just could and should have been so much betterer!!!