I am really excited and nervous to kick off this year’s reviews with my first review ever – on ‘Eddie the Eagle,’ as directed by Dexter Fletcher, starring Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, and Christopher Walken.
To sum up, Michael “Eddie” Edwards’ (Egerton) ultimate dream since childhood is to become an Olympian. Growing up, he passes through phases of different sports – until he realizes that it’s really the Winter Olympics he wants to participate in. One thing leads to another, and his new ambition is to become a ski jumper for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
However, just as he has grown used to his whole life, he is the underdog for the spot – despite there not having been a British ski jumper in the Olympics in more than almost 50 years, thus no competition. In fact, not only is the whole of his own country is counting him out, but so is his own father – though he doesn’t let that deter him from pushing through and fighting for his dreams, and with the help of his coach and former American Olympic ski jumper Bronson Peary (Jackman), he goes on to make history.
The last movie I can recall seeing that was similar to this was ‘McFarland, USA,’ and while that was a good movie itself, ‘Eddie the Eagle’ was great. It resonated with me more personally because for Eddie, it wasn’t about winning, it was about doing his personal best and proving wrong the people who were more determined to set him up for failure than they were to see what he was actually capable of.
I used to be part of a team where we weren’t even counted as a sport, despite the athleticism and skill involved and all the hours we practiced. We were driven off practicing on our own campus and had to relocate someplace that wasn’t even associated with our school. Our peers made rude comments about us and never took us seriously, no matter how hard and long we tried. Even the instructors who were meant to look out for us didn’t deem us worth the effort of securing practice times or places. It might have helped if we’d come in first place or even second during our competitions, but that wasn’t why we did it. We kept at it because we all shared the same passion for colorguard and winterguard, and we never gave up – we always put ourselves out there even if we knew we’d get last place for all our efforts. We had no reason not to try.
That is why ‘Eddie the Eagle’ is so important and inspirational to me, because this is real – this is, well, based on a true story anyway, one that doesn’t need to miraculously pull off a gold medal win in the ending in order to make you feel good and warm and ready to take on the world. Eddie Edwards is a real person who endured and came out on top – because he loved what he was doing and he had no reason not to try his best. You don’t need a trophy to fly, you just need to believe in yourself and never, ever give up.
- Plot: 7/10 – Just because I had done research on Eddie Edwards a few months ago when I heard Taron Egerton had a new project, and I’d already gone in anticipating the end. The way it was executed, however, kept me on the edge of my seat anyway – the pacing was fantastically done, so even if you think you know the story (or even if you saw it happen on television in real time), you’ll enjoy this! (After all, it’s based on a true story, so there are some fictionalized elements you might not see coming.)
- Characters: 7/10 – Everyone was good, but of course Egerton stole every scene (even when he was asleep/had no lines). Overall, it felt very effortless.
- Music/Score: 6/10 – Fun, added to the suspense during certain scenes, although nothing personally struck me enough besides a certain triumphant scene towards the end.
- Cinematography: 7/10 – The views were incredible at some parts, especially the shots of the actors skiing down the ramps, both in their close ups and in following them down the steep slopes. The camera would stay on Eddie right up until he flew, and you were left gripping the armrest, waiting to be shown whether or not he would land safely.
- Editing/SFX: 8/10 – It seemed simple but it was very effective. It helped with the pacing of the story, which never lulled. Even during the set up of the plot, the scenes were cut together so smoothly and cleverly that a few years of Eddie’s life didn’t drag on. The stunt teams and effects must have been crazy, I never questioned anything – which can either be a very good or a very bad thing. In this case, it was good – I was lost in the movie. (Remember: special effects. Don’t try ski jumping at home.)
- Theme: 9/10 – I might be being generous as its my first review and I did personally enjoy this movie, but I do think the true and time-tried theme of believing in yourself (even when no one else does) is never one that should get old by any means. This is a feel-good movie by the very textbook definition, and you can never go wrong with one of those.
- Public Reception: 7.5/10 – It seems critics and audience members alike have taken well enough to the film, although some say it’s almost too sweet and full of clichés, while others are inspired and enjoyed the embellishments that turned the film into what it became. Unfortunately, when I went to the theater to watch on opening day this past weekend, there were only four other people there with me (of course, I went on a Friday afternoon to an eat-in theater, which may have affected things). Still, everyone seems to agree that Egerton delivered just as he did in Kingsman, as did Jackman in his imagined role as coach and former Olympian Bronson Peary.
I would definitely recommend that more people go out and see this. It’s got a good, easy message behind it, and even if you don’t enjoy it as much as this review might lead you to believe you will, you’ll at least (hopefully) come away with the knowledge that you should never teach yourself how to ski jump unless you’ve actually lost your mind – in which case, you probably still shouldn’t, but you know, that’s just me.
Check out the trailer below: