Eddie the Eagle, directed by Dexter Fletcher is a humble little film with an endearing character at its core, and a story that you can easily get behind. Now this is a film that is more than burdened with a few problems, but in the end, most of those didn’t end up ruining the experience for me. There’s a lot that may frustrate you about this film but there is just as much to love. So let’s get into what they are.
Based on the true story, Eddie the Eagle coincidentally revolves around Eddie Edwards – played by Taron Egerton – who from a very young age has the dream of one day being an athlete in the Olympic Games/Winter Olympic Games. Failure after failure sees Eddie ready to give up – that is until he discovers the sport of ski jumping. Now with a new goal in mind, Eddie sets out to compete as a ski jumper at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
So I think the first thing that will jump out at you in this film is the lead performance by Taron Egerton (of ‘The Kingsman: Secret Service’ fame). Let’s just say, I wasn’t on board with the way in which he chose to portray lead character… at first. Things felt awkward and he struggled to settle on just how he wanted the character to come across. I was preparing to watch a performance that was swaying between okay and terrible. But as the film progressed and Egerton found his groove with the character, I began to not only enjoy his performance, but also became completely endeared by the positivity and naïve fun of the character. I don’t think it is possible to not like Eddie Edwards by the end of this film – there is a determination and a spirit to him, which just makes him a person that you want to root for – and follow along with – on his journey to Olympic success.
Someone who you never really need to worry about when it comes to delivering a good performance is Hugh Jackman. His character – Bronson Peary – his perhaps a little cliché, but that doesn’t stop you from liking him. But the best part about Jackman and his character is the dynamic between him and Egerton’s character Eddie Edwards. The two work so well together, and certainly deliver the biggest laughs in the film – that’s right, Eddie the Eagle is actually a funny film, I know, I wasn’t expecting it either. Though it takes time, the bond between the two characters is what makes this film such an enjoyable watch; they deliver the laughs and they also deliver a little heart with it too.
Despite the enjoyment that the characters bring to the film, they are however let down by a pacing that is unrelenting in its want to move. Eddie the Eagle has a runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes and in that time the film rushes – at great speed – through a lot of important information and scenes. Sometimes the film just needed to calm down, take its time, and let some of the more reflective moments play out. It also didn’t help that large portions of development are either rushed through or skipped altogether – get ready for quite a few montage scenes, but with a killer soundtrack I must add. I just wanted the film to not be so insistent on getting to the next thing – I really think that this film would have benefited a lot more from some patience.
Something else that would have benefited Eddie the Eagle was a better approach to showing the ski jumping scenes. As you’d expect, this film has a lot of moments where you’ll be watching people ski jump, but the problem that quickly becomes apparent is that the film didn’t have the budget or time to actually hurl the actors (or even stunt doubles) down ski slopes. Instead they used some truly awful looking CGI to present these scenes, and boy oh boy does it take you out of the film. Now it’s not all the time, sometimes there are scenes with people going down slopes and completing jumps but when they do resort to the awful CGI, it is completely damaging to the intensity of the scenes and any meaningfulness they might have had in them. It’s disappointing, but somehow still doesn’t write this film off.
Eddie the Eagle is a weird one because with the number of flaws this film had, I should have been walking out of the cinema and readying to write a review that pans the film. But there’s something that makes this film an enjoyable watch. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I left the cinema and immediately told my friend how enjoyable of a time I had watching it – even stranger was the fact that it came up 1 or 2 more times in conversation. Now I should be clear that I’m not saying this film is in any way incredible, or a must watch, it’s just that at its core, it is a film that offers up something small, sweet and approachable, and sometimes that’s all you need.
So with that all being said I’m going to recommend Eddie the Eagle. Not a perfect film by any stretch of the matter but a film that will sneak its way into your heart and leave you with a good feeling at the end of it.
So what are your thoughts on Eddie the Eagle? Leave them in the comments down below. If you’d like to keep up to date on the rest of my ramblings, you could either follow this blog directly or follow me over on Twitter – @GavinsTurtle. Last but not least have a wonderful week.