What’s the story?
2020 has been a rough year for the movie industry, and there’s no better proof than what happened to Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. The movie was originally slated for release alongside the Eurovision contest, but had to be delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
That said, The Story of Fire Saga is an enjoyable, albeit repetitive, Will Ferrell comedy that’s sure to entertain any audience, even if they’ve never heard of Eurovision before.
The Story of Fire Saga is about the rise of the Icelandic band Fire Saga, as they try to fulfill their dream of winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdóttir are the main characters of the film, played by Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams respectively, two childhood friends who make music for fun.
Like the comedy of errors that it is, The Story of Fire Saga follows the journey of the band as they somehow succeed through their country’s pre-selection contest for Eurovision. Sigrit is also madly in love with Lars, but her affections are unrequited. She hopes that by winning Eurovision, she finally can muster enough courage to confess her love to her childhood friend.
For non-European audiences, Eurovision is one of Europe’s biggest competitions, where representatives from European countries gather together presenting original songs and deciding who’s the best new musical revelation of the continent. Like the movie reminds us in its opening, one of the most popular bands to ever come out of the contest was ABBA, the Swedish supergroup.
Although Europe’s obsession with Eurovision is exaggerated for comedic effect, some of the most outlandish performances seen in the movie are actually inspired by real Eurovision contestant. To add realism to the movie, some of the past winners from the contest have cameos in the movie, mostly for laughs, but also to provide the singing voice for McAdams in some of Fire Saga’s performances.
Fans of Will Ferrell’s movies will find similar story beats in The Story of Fire Saga to what we’ve seen in some of Ferrell’s more popular movies, like Anchorman. In fact, the whole final act of the story feels very similar to what we saw on Blades of Glory, complete with a main character showing just in time for the final of a contest.
Is it any good?
Like we mentioned in the beginning, the original plan was to release the movie in May 2020, coinciding with the real Eurovision contest. That’s an important fact, because the movie works mostly as a parody of the contest, and some of the jokes on the film might fall flat for audiences that aren’t familiar with the mythos behind the contest.
As always, Will Ferrell proves to be a master of seemingly improvisational comedy, delivering his lines without fault and while keeping his persona as the straight-faced comedian that fans know and love. His only fault might be that we’ve already seen him playing this character before; Lars isn’t that much different from Ron Burgundy, or from Ricky Bobby, and frankly, it might tire some audiences seeing an actor typecast himself so much.
The exaggerated Eurovision performances are a nice touch and are sure to make most people laugh, but some of the gags are more like inside jokes that require a previous knowledge of the contest to fully grasp. That said, for anyone that knows the madness that’s Eurovision, the exaggerated aspects are a fun little detail that fans are sure to enjoy.
As the movie revolves around a song contest, it makes sense that the music would be the focus of the production, and luckily, it is. The original songs are very good and really capture the comedic energy of Fire Saga. Rachel McAdams also proves that she’s a skilled singer, as the actress sings some of her character’s songs, and does so with ease.
While The Story of Fire Saga doesn’t thread any new ground for comedy, the overall experience is a fun comedy with an entertaining musical value that will appeal to fans of Ferrell’s antics and Eurovision bizarre performances.
If you’ve enjoyed other comedies starring Ferrell, or if you’re just looking for a comedy with bizarre characters pursuing even more absurd goals, then Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is just the movie you were looking for.