Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga reviewed by Charlie Hughes
As Eurovision fans mourn the cancellation of this year’s competition, what better time to have Netflix’s fictional Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga?
It’s a Will Ferrell comedy film that had been meant to tie in with the 2020 competition, but instead takes its place to supply us with a welcome dose of bonkers theatricality and surprisingly worthy music.
Ferrell and Mean Girls graduate Rachel McAdams put on strangely accurate accents as the Nordic hopefuls whose band, Fire Saga, is selected as Iceland’s entry in the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest.
Having secured the nomination only through a series of mishaps involving all other competition, Ferrell’s Lars and McAdams’ Sigrit are ridiculed by everyone in their close-knit home town, not least Lars’ own father Erik (played with knowing gusto by Pierce Brosnan).
Co-written by Ferrell and directed by David Dobkin (one of the brains behind the mediocre Wedding Crashers and the abysmal R.I.P.D), The Story of Fire Saga has less than flattering credentials. But, as it turns out, it’s a hugely enjoyable comedy that boasts a wealth of catchy songs and a cast who are clearly having a whale of a time.
Dan Stevens chews the scenery as camp Russian superstar Alexander Lemtov, whilst McAdams proves her comedy chops in a role that anchors the emotional heft of the film. Even the irritating man-child persona for which Ferrell is famous is slightly less irritating here, itself a considerable achievement.
Having duly learnt his lesson from Mamma Mia, Brosnan doesn’t pick up the mic, though the cast that do are convincingly good. It helps that they are supported by fantastic original songs such as ‘Volcano Man’ and ‘Lion of Love’, which wouldn’t seem out of place in a real Eurovision Song Contest.
It may not have a terribly original plot, but that doesn’t matter: the film works as both a feel-good underdog story and a laugh-out-loud comedy.
I’m not generally a Eurovision fan, but The Story of Fire Saga gets my vote.
Star rating: ****
* Charlie Hughes is the Stortford Indie's film reviewer and a student at Bishop's Stortford College.