“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” (“Fire Saga”) is a new comedy release from Netflix. Starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams, “Fire Saga” tells the story of two Icelandic dreamers who’ve spent their lives trying to make it onto Europe’s longest running and most prestigious singing competition.
Pro – Bursting with Heart
Perhaps the most surprising thing, and the most enjoyable thing about “Fire Saga” is that movie has a lot more heart than one would expect. Ferrell and McAdams play childhood friends from a small fishing village in Iceland. Ferrell’s Lars is obsessed with making it on the European-wide singing competition, Eurovision. McAdams plays Sigrit, the pretty girl in town who only has eyes for the goofy Lars, who only has eyes for the aforementioned contest. As the unlikely duo make it through the Icelandic competition and into the finals, their true love for each other is forced to the fore. It’s goofy for sure, but also surprisingly heartwarming. Even all but one of the “bad guys” is actually not the cookie cutter horrible person that usually would populate a spoof comedy like this. Everybody is just genuinely nice, and it lends the movie an enjoyable quality that one might not expect. The laughs are here, but so too is the heart.
Pro – Star Studded
Perhaps is just this reviewer’s bias, but it’s always shocking to turn on a Netflix direct movie and see such a loaded cast. Beside Ferrell and McAdams, two bankable stars, “Fire Saga” also includes Peirce Brosnan, Demi Lovato, Graham Norton, and Dan Stevens who plays the Russian Lion of Love, Alexander Lemtov. McAdams is the clear A+ talent here. Her skills make the coupling of Lars and Sigrit believable and she carries what emotional weight exists. Steven’s Lemtov is the most enjoyable part of the film, and his time on screen is almost without exception the best part of the film.
Con – misguided mashup
“Fire Saga” is goofball funny at times, and heartfelt at others. The problem for the film is the two do not mix well together. Ferrell’s “Anchorman” is one of the funniest, idiotic movies of all time. His film “Stranger than Fiction” is heartfelt, endearing, and funny, in an understated way. Both are great films, but what would happen if they were put together? “Fire Saga” aims to find out, and the results aren’t pretty. It reminds one of having orange juice and chocolate cake. The heartfelt moments are nice but spoiled by the lunacy of slapstick comedy non-plot lines. The comedy is funny, but so broken up that it’s hardly laugh a minute stuff. In fact, the absurd moments that work so well in something like “Anchorman” feel out of place after seven minutes of unexpected kindness between characters.
“Fire Saga” at times delivers a different movie than one is likely to expect. It has genuinely funny moments, and also heartfelt ones with a nice message. There are plenty of things to like here, but unfortunately the whole is lesser than the sum of its parts. The two aspects of the movie feel bolted together in a way that just does not flow well. It is not a bad way to spend a Friday night, but it’s not a great way either.