Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – Review – The long awaited Eurovision film was released yesterday to mixed reviews from the so-called critics, but what do Eurovision fans think of it? Eurovision Times took a look on release day at the film and the response to it from the Eurovision bubble.
Icelander Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) has dreamt of winning the Eurovision Song Contest since seeing Abba win in 1974 as a child. Along with friend Sigrid, his accident prone and not very good band Fire Saga stands little chance. His father, Erick Erickssong played by Pierce Brosnan, is disappointed in him. By complete luck, they end up in Iceland’s Songvakeppnin national selection, where it all goes horribly but predictably wrong. By a freak accident (or is it?? Certain members of national broadcaster RUV desperately don’t want their country to win as they think they can’t afford to host the competition the following year) all the the other contestants die in an explosion including clear winner Katiana Lindsdottir, played by Demi Lovato.
Demi Lovato’s new song ‘In The Mirror’ taken from the soundtrack will be released this Friday, June 26th.
So off go Fire Saga to the Eurovision Song Contest! To a very cheap bed and breakfast as RUV don’t want to spend much money.
We can only presume some Eastern European country won last year but couldn’t host, as the contest is in Edinburgh even though it’s pointed out in the film everyone hates the UK. The foreign hosts are classic hosts and its clear Will Ferrell has been watching some of the poorer ones we’ve seen over the years!
Without spoiling it too much, the track released in advance of the film, ‘Volcano man’, isn’t actually Fire Saga’s entry for the Song Contest. We get snippets of various fake entries… Belarus have sent a Lordi-type band called Moon Fang. Greece has Mita stripping off to a figure hugging body suit. There’s over the top dancers, ridiculous props and crazy pyros, but in amongst it all some pretty catchy and decent songs!
There’s lots of cameo appearances starting with Salvador Sobral (Portugal 2017) busking in Edinburgh. The ‘song-a-long’ (surely this MUST become a thing in real Eurovision?!) sees lots of former contestants pop up to sing a few lines during the party at the Russian delegation’s mansion. It’s a medley of Cher’s ‘Believe’, Madonna’s ‘Ray of Light‘, ABBA’s ‘Waterloo’, Celine Dion’s ‘Ne partez pas sans moi’ and Black Eyed Peas’ ‘I Gotta Feeling’. There’s cameos from John Lundvik (Sweden 2019), Anna Obodescu (Moldova 2019), Bilal Hassani (France 2019), Loreen (Sweden 2012), Jessy Matador (France 2010), Alexander Rybak (Norway 2009, 2018), Jamala (Ukraine 2016), Elina Nechayeva (Estonia 2018), Conchita Wurst (Austria 2014) and Netta (Israel 2018)
Commentary in the semi final and final is more than ably supplied by the BBC’s Graham Norton with his usual scathing sense of humour which works perfectly in this film as he rolls his eyes and prepares for the worst as the hapless Fire Saga take to the stage. We even get a cameo from William from Wiwibloggs which is a nice nod to the Eurovision bloggers who make up such a huge part of the eurovision community.
A disastrous semi-final performance sees the large hamster wheel prop and both singers crashing into the audience. Is their journey at Eurovision over? In true Eurovision-style inexplicable voting from the Eastern bloc sees them through to the final, but not before much drama.
Dan Stevens steals the show for me as the camp Russian entry Alexander Lemtov, favourite to win with an over the top production (sound familiar, eurovision fans?!), and the film will please some with a subtle dig at Russian homophobia.
Canadian actress Rachel McAdams plays a very likeable Sigrid Ericksdottir, who thankfuly believes in elves, and her vocals are actually sung beautifully by Sweden’s Molly Sandén (JESC 2006, Melfest 2009, 2012, 2016).
Will Ferrell has managed to take some of the fun parts of Eurovision and incorporate it in to the film by laughing with it and not at it. He clearly loves the contest. Yes there are things that aren’t right (it’s a fictional film, we can live with it) and Pierce Brosnan will never master an Icelandic accent, but the message that the contest is more than about winning was great to see. We won’t spoil the end by announcing the winner of the contest but it wasn’t predictable, but with the help of the Icelandic elves we get a happy ending.
Whilst it is never going to win any Oscars Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a feel good, throwaway, silly romcom that gives a handful of laugh out loud moments, puts a smile on your face and gives Eurovision fans some in-joke moments to enjoy, as well as real bops of songs to download from the soundtrack album. ‘JaJa Ding Dong‘ is bound to become a fan favourite on the Euroclub dance floor after a few drinks.
Some critics have loved it. Johnny Oleksinski of the New York Post wrote “Will Ferrell’s “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is a terribly funny send-up and the most enjoyable music industry parody since Christopher Guest’s folk satire “A Mighty Wind.”
Others however are not as kind with Chris Hewitt from Empire saying “The votes are in, and it’s official: this largely unfunny paean to Eurovision is a waste of some serious talent. At least some of the songs are decent.”
So far the film has got a rating of 58% on Rotten Tomatoes, 47% on Metacritic and 6.7/10 on IMDb. So what are Eurovision fans saying?
It’s certainly not the nil points some people were predicting, with many Eurovision fans giving it a worthy 8 or 10 points for its feel good escapism for a couple of hours. If you watch it, let us know what you think!