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Review: Fire Saga strikes the right chord

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Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams star in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Photo: John Wilson/NETFLIX
Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams star in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Photo: John Wilson/NETFLIX

Will Ferrell shimmers in film tribute to Eurovision

Beginning in 1956 as a way to bring countries from war-torn Europe together, the Eurovision Song Contest has grown to be one of the most popular and longest-running television programs in history.

Its uniquely European mixture of power ballads, ethnic rhythms and cringe-worthy lyrics is just one of many iconic attributes that have gathered a mostly young following of viewers in their hundreds of millions each year.

One notable fan of the song contest is actor Will Ferrell who has reunited with his Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin to bring together the best of Ferrell’s humour and Eurovision’s inimitable appeal in the comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, now streaming on Netflix.

In 1974, ABBA’s Waterloo became the winning entry for Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest, inspiring many artists and bands to target the Eurovision Song Contest as a platform to launch their own music careers.

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One such fictional band is Fire Saga, an Icelandic duo of childhood friends whose dream it is to make it big on the Eurovision stage and put their small fishing village on the map.

Fire Saga’s Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams) get that chance when their audition tape is one of the 12 chosen to compete in the country’s finals which would determine who represents Iceland on the European stage.

Though producers had already chosen the winning performer, a young singer named Katiana (Demi Lovato), a freak incident ensures that Fire Saga is the country’s only option.

Once they get closer to the finals in the host city of Edinburgh, it doesn’t take long before these small-town singers are swept up in the excessiveness that is the Eurovision competition and the underlying complications of their relationship begin to surface.

However, through the onslaught of on-stage disasters, typical of most Will Ferrell movies, and agenda-driven contestants on the way to achieving their dream, the singing soul mates discover what really matters to them.

This movie is not for everyone and it is quite clear from the very first scene that Dobkin and Ferrell had fellow Eurovision fans in mind when making the film.

From the iconic musical style to the controversial political and geographical voting, Dobkin highlights everything that makes the song contest unique by embracing Eurovision’s quirkiness.

As a result, the at-times bizarre tangents from the story line and Ferrell’s tiresome man-child persona can only benefit.

Rachel McAdams is a standout as the loveable best friend wanting more out of their relationship and you’ll find yourself questioning what someone like her sees in the single-minded Lars Erickssong.

Her comedic timing never misses a beat and, though audiences could feel that the film goes longer than it should, McAdams will keep you invested until the end.

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