If you haven’t watched the movie yet, I don’t suggest you continue reading this article as it contains spoilers.
Note: This is an opinion article. It reflects the views of the editor and not necessarily of the website.
The “Eurovision Song Contest: the Story of Fire Saga” is the first original creation inspired by our beloved Eurovision Song Contest. It consists of roughly two hours of comedy narrating the story of an Icelandic duo dreaming to win Eurovision.
Alright. I’m okay with that.
However, the problems begin with the production: Netflix. It is an American-originated content about one of the purest European products since World War II. As I expected the movie is filled with stereotypes and exaggerations.
There are a few well-used stereotypes, like the Icelanders speaking English with a somewhat recognizable Nordic accent. Also, the Swedish representative being all about dancing (even though there were 7 people on stage, clearly against the rules!). I even liked the representation of a typical Eurovision act during the Icelandic national final or during the semi-final in Edinburgh. But my compliments end here. Besides the nice – albeit totally predictable – happy end and enjoyable performance during the Grand Final, the plot is so foreseeable that I could be writing this article without having gone through all the 123 minutes.
It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s…
The American mark on the production can be seen in a few sudden and unnecessarily violent episodes (like the bombing of the boat in Reykjavik killing dozens) that are nothing less than failed intentions of comedy-drama. The whole movie alternates a wannabe love story with an equally wannabe complicated family relationship, two additional parallel love affairs and a few moments of violence, drama and horror. The announced main story-line about a hopeless duo from a remote Icelandic village dreaming to win the contest gets lost in the middle of it.
I feel that they tried to put a bit of everything without exactly developing any of the bottom lines. At the end of the movie I wasn’t even sure whether it was a comedy, a drama or a love story. I had no idea whether they were expecting me to laugh, cry or “aww”. Even the attempt of self-irony on the four American backpackers in Edinburgh is miserably botched and made the movie – again – unnecessarily American-centered. The Eurovision Song Contest is a European story and we would like to keep it that way, thank you.
No, no points announcement in the semi-final please
For purists like myself, the movie entails several huge and unacceptable mistakes. It is simply unimaginable that an act arrives on stage for the first rehearsal without having a clue of the choreography, or that the national broadcaster has no idea of what is going on with the representatives. It was also cringy to see Russia on the scoreboard when the singer had announced that he was not going to compete during that semi-final. Or even seeing Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany (member of the so-called Big Five and therefore direct qualifiers) taking part in a semifinal. Not to mention Switzerland announcing points when they do not appear to compete. Even worse: the simple points announcement during the semifinal was the farthest thing from reality. I’m okay if you want to do a fiction movie, but at least get your rules straight.
As a Eurofan, I enjoyed the cameos of several former Eurovision entrants. If you have followed some reactions to the movie, the few minutes of “Song-A-Long” have been appreciated by many. To me it is no surprise. If you make a movie about Eurovision make sure to put some Eurovision in it. Without it, “The Story of Fire Saga” could be about just anything else. Great thanks belong to Graham Norton for being in it and for saving at least a bit of the genuine Eurovision spirit. Even he seemed deeply uncomfortable.