Biography, Comedy, Drama
Directed By: Dexter Fletcher
Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman
For Fans Of: Cool Runnings, Mighty Ducks
My Rating: 8 out of 10
Before I begin this review, here is something you need to know about me, I am a total sucker for a good sports film, and even more so when it's an underdog story. So realistically this film was always going to tick all my boxes, the real question would be whether it stood up against others in this category. So many of my favourite films have come in this form; Mighty Ducks, Space Jam, Little Giants and of course Cool Runnings, perhaps the closest film in comparison with Eddie The Eagle.
Both are based around underdogs going to the Winter Olympics in Calgary, and both are a similar humorous but biographical telling of the story. That being said I was nervous about this one, it had the appearance almost of a Bridget Jones on Ski’s in the trailer and I wasn't sure whether it was going to work. How glad I am to be wrong...sometimes.
The story, incase you need it explaining, is based around a dude called Eddie Edwards, who for all his life has wanted to be an Olympian and after trying various sports falls in love with skiing. Sadly though the British Olympic board don't like the guy and basically try their hardest not to allow him to compete for them. After figuring out they don't even have a ski jump team, he realises if he could figure out how to ski jump, they would have no option but to let him enter. So he packs his bags, fucks off to Germany and sets out to right some wrongs and jump. I love this guy.
Eddie is played by Taron Egerton, who for me puts in an awesome performance as the quirky and determined jumper. Often you really do feel for the lad with the amount of knock backs he gets, but despite the physical bumps and bruises along the way, mentally he is hard as nails and just keeps getting up and trying again. All those Cool-Running-feels ooze through you and make you all gooey inside. Obviously like every good sports film, you need a good coach. A coach who used to be in the sport, a coach who due to some kind of misdemeanour, has been kicked out of the sport and is enticed back to fix their tarnished reputation. Predictable, but why change a winning formula?
Our coach is Bronson Peary, a former ski jumper for the USA, who clearly had talent but threw it away with his actions off the slopes. Bronson, who is played by Hugh Jackman, comes into the film as a bit of an alcoholic nobody, who Eddie latches on to once he figures out who he used to be. It's played out sincerely enough by both of the actors, the relationship formed between them is just as good as that Jamaican Bobsled team and John Candy. The likability, humour and connection between both shines out in this movie and you are left rooting for both, every step of the way. Clearly I’ve already been totally sucked in. But again, in all good sports films is the coach of the coach, who usually looks unfavourably down on our heroes. Predictably again, we have this in the form of Warren Sharp, Bronson Peary’s former mentor, who is played by none of other than Christopher Walken. Who although has very little screen time, usually always brings a smile to my face. A little slice of Walken pie was just an added extra that I wolfed down gladly and made up for the ridiculously large monkey role he just came out of. (See my Jungle Book review for more details).
Now every sports film has “that” moment, where they usually win the game or come 1st. That isn't the case in this film, but that moment is none the less wonderful. When it first happened I was practically jumping for joy myself, so engrossed in the film and the story of this man. But then to top it off, the film kicks in with Van Halen “Jump” a few seconds later! EUPHORIA! I can't help it, I’m done! I'm absolutely brimming full of good vibes and spoilt in emotion. I don't cry, but I want to throw water into my face to make it seem like I am. It really is brilliant, and I can't stress enough how good you feel watching this movie. My vibe-ometer has hit 'positively lovely'.
The soundtrack fits perfectly with the mood of the film throughout, again the classic training montage found in every good sports film is there, accompanied by “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates. It's another master stroke in another key part of the film, I must have had a stupid big grin on my face for the majority of this flick. They could probably prescribe this as an antidepressant. Clearly then I loved it. And I immediately rushed onto my IMDB account where I have a “Best Sports Film List”:
(Not ashamed, go here for all your sports film needs http://www.imdb.com/list/ls031937922)
And added it straight in. It sits alongside Cool Runnings with ease. It's a very loveable film. But I really did not expect it to be quite as good as it was. I sit here now trying to pluck something out of it that I didn't like. Sure it's predictable, but it is a true story and to be fair, as said above, all sports films follow this formula and usually it's a recipe for success. With that said it's hard to pick fault because of that. I would say that it almost seems a little far fetched, but again it is a true story. This actually happened, it may have been polished up in area’s for the big screen, but it has enough heart-warming fuzziness and it's funny enough to allow that. I really do recommend next time you have a hard day at work, or next time you face a setback in these hard lives of ours, that you pop on this fantastic movie and let the tension be smoothed right out of you. Anyways has anyone got a ladder so I can get down off of this cloud?