It is hard not to state the importance of the Eurovision Song Contest, for over 60 years, countries divided by culture, politics and language come together in a fabulous display of pageantry and artistry. One that attracts universal attention even outside the content of Europe. In 2020, An American comedy took a playful look at the continent-spanning competition in Eurovision Song Contest The Story of Fire Saga.
From an early age, Lars and Singrit fell in love with the Eurovision Song Contest and want nothing more than to perform on that stage. 20 years on, their band Fire Saga still have not got that far, and only evoke bemusement from their local fishing village. But their luck may change when the current Icelandic Eurovision hopeful (and most of the other Icelandic contenders) are brutally killed in an apparent freak accident. Lars and Singrit take to the Eurovision Song Contest and soon get caught up in the heady world of Eurovision, Remixing their beloved songs, revamping their stage designs, and mixing with the best of the international music scene. Will their band last throughout the competition? Can they secure Iceland the victory that the country cannot afford?
Iceland is a perfect place for setting for this film, known for its captivating creative output. The island’s scenic qualities are more than flaunted, from its ultra-stylistic skyscrapers and offices to its picturesque fishing villages and elfin homes. The internet’s favourite stars are assembled to represent the population of the smallish island. Notably in the starring role is Frat Pack alumni Will Ferrell. He has played some interesting characters (see his interpretation of Sherlock Holmes) in the past and Lars is no exception. It is a pleasure to see Rachel McAdams playing Singrit. Once again, she leans into the role with her trademark optimism and energy, which served her well in other comedies such as Game Night. Pierce Brosnan is also a fantastic addition as the serious fisherman Erick, who sees no future with Lars’s obsession with music and just wants him to quit embarrassing himself and take up fishing. It would be easy to make that role, dare I say cartoonish, but Brosnan brings a serious down-to-earth element that accentuates the comedy potential.
As is to be expected, musical montage lies at the heart of the competition and The Story of Fire Saga creates some clever homages that would not feel out of place in the serious competition. Props should also go to the film for recreating the visual spectacle of with its costumes and sets too. The minutia is also captured, particularly with the inclusion of Graham Norton, a staple of the British coverage (after Sir Terry Wogan passed away) is a wonderful touch. Like most comedies that excel, this one comes from the love of the subject that it is parodying, with Ferrell being a fan of the contest for decades.
Much like the contest itself, Eurovision Song Contest The Story of Fire Saga is entirely emblematic of its focus. Cute fun, with serious talents letting their hair down and embracing the goofiness. As a parody of the event, it is all here, the songs are catchy, the tongue-in-cheek based emulation of the acts are extravagant, and the jokes are plentiful. While it might not be for everybody, it will be hard to see this walk away with anything but nul points.
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