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Film Review: Eurovision Song Contest - The Story of Fire Saga

26 June 20 words: Katie Green

An over-the-top parody of the much-loved song contest, with a star-studded cast that pays homage to the competition and is laughable – despite the criticism it has received.

Director: David Dobkin
Starring: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan
Running time: 120 minutes

The Eurovision song contest - as many of you will know - is the wacky competition that brings European nations together for one night and one night only to display the talent that their country has to offer. 

In this feature film, we see a young Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McCadams) watch as Abba – winners of the 1974 Eurovision song contest – perform Waterloo and it dawns on both of them that it's their destiny to perform at Eurovision for their home country, Sweden.

We flash forward to the present day. To no surprise at all  - otherwise we wouldn’t have a film - the duo are picked (at random) to perform in the Icelandic finals to make it towards the final Eurovision competition. However, they fail in this and singer Katiana (Demi Lovato) is picked to represent her country.

As the pair believe their dream is over, all of a sudden, a party boat with all the Icelandic contestants on it blows up, meaning only one thing: they are going to Eurovision! By the help of Sigrit’s elf friends, of course (it’ll make sense after watching the film…)

So, they venture to good-old Scotland and compete in Eurovision, but it’s for you to find out what their destiny is.

The budding friendship between these two characters is both comical and sweet

The leading pair - played by comedy actor Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams - surprisingly has an unexpected chemistry that may not work on the surface but succeeds in certain parts of this film. Especially in the beginning of the movie, the budding friendship between these two characters is both comical and sweet viewing due to their quirky anecdotes they share between themselves such as their catchphrase “I’m checking you out.”

In the past (real) Eurovision contests over the years, we have had some catchy songs and this film does not disappoint in this. The songs that are performed by these fictional contestants – although they were written for the film – are not only catchy but also similar to the beloved Eurovision style. 

The fact that this film pays homage to the contest makes it even greater viewing as the crazy and irrational characters mirror the craziness that is Eurovision itself. This is made even greater when we see some cameo appearances including Conchita Wurst and Alexander Rybak, as well as Graham Norton. 

Perhaps one pitfall to the film is the length as at times it does feel like it is dragging out. Towards the end, there is a point where they are performing in the competition that tires a bit, and it may feel like it is time for the film to end. However, it picks up pace again and the ending is not only comical but satisfying for our main duo. 

Although there has been much criticism towards this film - due to the comedy you expect from Will Ferrell - it is a film that shouldn’t receive all the bad press that has fallen upon it. Not only does it pay homage to the Eurovision song contest, it provides us with a parody version with a star-studded cast and quirky comical viewing. 

Did you know? To coincide with the release of the film, a pair of researchers conducted a study into the formula behind a Eurovision-winning song. They found that over the course of the 2010s, slow ballads of less than 85bpm and “extreme” Euro-pop exceeding 125bpm both dominated the higher end of voting results.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is available now on Netflix