Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga is the Eurovision 2020 we never had, complete with great music, costumes, heart, and hamster wheels!
When I first heard about Will Ferrell making a movie about Eurovision, I along with the Eurovision fanbase worldwide made a collective gasp thinking “Oh no! He’s going to make a mockery of our beloved song contest!”. While waiting for more information about the project, I found out that although Ferrell is American (where Eurovision is not televised), he is actually a huge fan and has a love for the Eurovision Song Contest. So I had hope it would be respectful to the contest at the very least, and not be a slapped together comedy using the Eurovision Song Contest as a mere plot tool.
The story starts in a small town in Iceland, Lars (Will Ferrell) a seemingly sad young boy watches ABBA singing Waterloo at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest and finds joy, sparking a dream to one day win the song contest. Cut to present day and Lars has formed a band, ‘Fire Saga’ with childhood friend (and sweetheart, which he hasn’t realised yet) Sigrit (Rachel McAdams). She has a great singing voice, but their parents (with Lars’ father played by Pierce Brosnan) don’t believe in them and Lars and Sigrit become the laughingstock of the whole town.
The Icelandic Television Committee is looking for their first winning Eurovision entrant and believe they have found it in Katiana Lindsdottir (Demi Lovato), but they need a 12th contestant for the Icelandic decider competition. As fate may have it, they randomly pick Fire Saga’s demo (a cassette tape, very fitting with the connection to history) out of the box of assumingly rejected submissions.
Lars and Sigrit perform at the decider on live national Icelandic television but ruin their chances with technical difficulties and a hilarious mishap. Later that night, a boat party they chose not to go to (due to embarrassment), which held all 11 other contestants blows up, leaving them as Iceland’s only option as their Eurovision Song Contest entrant. Lars and Sigrit’s Eurovision dreams seem to be finally coming to fruition.
What follows is a heartwarming, charming, nostalgia driven story of music and love (with a hilarious Dan Stevens as Russian ESC contestant Alexander Lemtov), with surprise cameos and musical numbers from Eurovision past winners and favourite contestants including Conchita Wurst, Netta and Salvador Sobral, plus UK commentator Graham Norton. You will also notice the film was partly shot at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv on the actual stage, which really makes it feel like you are actually watching behind the scenes of the real contest.
Many favourite moments, characters, and themes from ESC history that make Eurovision ‘Eurovision’ are replicated and referenced in such a purposeful yet comedic way, that not only does it neither disrespect nor mock the ESC, but the film uplifts and pays homage to Eurovision’s charm, heart, sense of fun, and the core message of bringing people together (and the world) through the love of music.
From the costumes, fabulous soundtrack (some actual ESC worthy songs), cameos, love story, to even a giant hamster wheel, Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga aims to please. If you are a true lover of Eurovision, which Ferrell obviously is (and I am), you will enjoy this film. Even my husband who avoids Will Ferrell films like the plague, but is also a passionate Eurovision lover, gives this one a BIG thumbs up!
To me, Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga is the Eurovision 2020 that we never had after this year’s event having to be cancelled due to the current social climate and global pandemic. This movie is surprisingly exactly what the world needs right now. JAJA DING DONG! (Watch the movie. You’ll get it!)
Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga is available on Netflix now.