Eight things Will Ferrell’s Eurovision movie gets wrong (and two it gets right)

Graham Norton in Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga

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Graham Norton makes a cameo, in his standard position of Eurovision commentator

Will Ferrell’s Eurovision movie, The Story of Fire Saga, was solely launched on Friday, however it’s already leapt to primary on Netflix’s most-watched films chart.

The comedy follows the fortunes of a clumsy Icelandic band, Fire Saga – Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams) – who get the possibility to fulfil a lifelong dream once they’re chosen to enter the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest.

Written with apparent affection by Ferrell, the movie is crammed filled with Easter eggs and cameos for long-time followers.

It contains a band referred to as Moon Fang, whose horrific masks are a call-back to 2006’s Eurovision winners Lordi, whereas a sing-off in the course of the movie options visitor appearances from real-life contestants Alexander Ryback, Conchita Wurst and Netta.

Ferrell’s character even performs inside an enormous hamster wheel – similar to Ukraine’s entrant in 2014.

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Despite US publications having to explain Eurovision to confused viewers, and reviewers turning up their noses, the movie has already picked up a legion of followers.

On evaluate aggregator Metacritic, viewers have rated it 7.8 out of 10, in comparison with 4.9 from critics.

But as with all movies “based on true events”, The Story of Fire Saga takes a certain quantity of dramatic licence with the info. Here are a number of noticeable moments the place the movie gets it wrong… And two the place it is surprisingly correct.

1) The first scene immediately raises questions…

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Every movie wants an inciting incident that units the plot wheels turning – and Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga does not waste any time in that respect.

The opening scene finds Lars and Sigrit as kids, watching Abba performing Waterloo on the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.

Lars instantly (and appropriately) falls in love with the band’s glam rock ode to the Napoleonic wars, and units his sights on profitable Eurovision himself sooner or later.

But at the moment, Iceland did not participate in Eurovision. In reality, they did not even broadcast the competition dwell till 1983, and solely entered for the primary time in 1986.

Another by-product of utilizing Abba’s victory as a framing machine is that Fire Saga are of their 50s by the point they lastly get to carry out at Eurovision (though Sigrit seems to have aged loads slower than Lars).

That’s completely possible, although: Eurovision’s oldest-ever contestant is Englebert Humperdinck, who was 76 when he represented the UK in 2012.

2) The Netherlands gained Eurovision in 2019, however the contest is being held in Scotland…

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Fire Saga meet their competitors for the primary time at a celebration hosted by Russian entrant Alexander Lemtov (Dan Stevens, chewing up the surroundings like a very hungry intercourse kitten).

“This Julia Jay,” he purrs, introducing the UK contender in damaged English.

“She come number one in England’s Got Talent four years ago, so she quite good – but everyone hates UK, so zero points.”

It’s a well-observed gag – besides that the 2020 contest is being held in Scotland that means that… er, the UK gained Eurovision final yr.

There are two methods to elucidate this one away: First of all, the UK might have stepped in as host if the true winners (The Netherlands) had declined to stage the competitors. This has occurred six instances prior to now, though not since 1980.

Alternatively, Fire Saga are competing in an alternate timeline the place Scotland has devolved from the remainder of the UK, and seen their Eurovision possibilities get well in consequence. They in all probability despatched The Proclaimers.

3) The performers preserve breaking the principles

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Eurovision has loads of archaic guidelines, largely designed to maintain an extremely complicated dwell TV present from going off the rails. Unencumbered by these constraints, the movie takes a number of minor liberties when it recreates the competition.

Sweden’s act, Johnny John John, has seven performers on stage when the utmost is six (gasp!).

Lars’s piano is definitely wired up and plugged in, so he can play dwell – which is definitely forbidden (double gasp!).

And most egregiously of all, Fire Saga’s track Double Trouble lasts three minutes and 22 seconds, exceeding the utmost permissible size by nearly half-a-minute. (Mér er ofboðið!)

4) The scoring is all wonky

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As Eurovision followers know, the competition really stretches over 5 days, with two semi-finals previous the grand finale. From every of these heats, 10 acts keep within the competitors, and the remainder are unceremoniously despatched house.

In the movie, Fire Saga’s semi-final efficiency goes disastrously wrong – and so they retreat to the backstage space, sure that their desires are over, to look at the scores coming in.

But in actual life, the scores aren’t revealed throughout the semi-final. Instead, they’re saved secret till your complete contest has ended, to make sure there aren’t any clear favourites going into the ultimate.

In the film-makers’ defence, the voting sequence serves a dramatic goal – ramping up the stress and elevating the stakes for Fire Saga because the movie enters its third act.

But there is a continuity error that is illogical at finest, and careless at worst…

5) Iceland’s rating retains resetting

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Every time a rustic awards factors to Iceland, their rating is proven to be zero. But Eurovision factors are cumulative, so you’d count on to see their whole rise as extra votes had been solid.

What’s extra, the scoreboard exhibits Germany, Spain and the UK participating within the semi-final when, in actuality, all three qualify routinely for the finale as a part of the “big five” monetary contributors.

In the screenshot above, you may also discover that The Netherlands seem to have entered the competition twice. Is that what’s often called “double Dutch”?

6) Edinburgh’s geography is not sensible

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Films usually take liberties with the format of a metropolis, however Fire Saga actually takes the biscuit (or on this case the Highland Shortbread).

For a begin, Dan Stevens’ character owns a lavish Scottish mansion that provides sweeping, panoramic views of Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh Castle.

To get these views in actual life, the fortress must be positioned on the prime of Calton Hill within the metropolis centre – which might imply he’d constructed his home on a world heritage web site, excessive of the Nelson Monument. (In actuality, the mansion was Knebworth House, 367 miles away in Stevenage, and the backdrops had been added in post-production.)

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Causing extra confusion for cartographers all over the place, the movie’s efficiency segments had been clearly filmed at Glasgow’s Hydro Arena – which has one way or the other been picked up and deposited on the finish of George IV Bridge on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

It’s nearly as dangerous because the time Thor caught the London Underground.

7) Graham Norton retains interrupting the songs

When Terry Wogan stood down from the commentary field in 2008, after 35 years, few anticipated that Graham Norton would match so snugly into his footwear.

Yet over the past 12 years, the presenter has proved splendidly adept at guiding us via the night time, along with his eyebrows completely set to, “oh, actually?

“If you’re going to get someone to dress as a gorilla,” he commented on Italy’s 2017 efficiency, “at least get a decent outfit. That looks like couple of old car seats sewn together.”

But irrespective of how dire a efficiency gets, Norton by no means talks over it, permitting viewers to soak up each excruciating second.

The movie throws that rule out the window, nonetheless, and has Norton offering commentary for each act whereas they’re on stage. He even swears, which might get him into all types of bother with Ofcom.

8) The hosts aren’t from the host nation

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Each yr, the host nation chooses two (or extra) presenters to helm the four-hour Eurovision extravaganza.

Traditionally they’re awkward, stilted, cursed with the worst script recognized to mankind, and utterly unknown exterior their house nation – though honourable exceptions embrace A-Ha’s Morten Harket, Boyzone’s Ronan Keating and Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli.

So it appears unlikely that the BBC would select the heavily-accented “Corin Ladvitch” and “Sasha More” to helm the present if it occurred in Scotland.

For reference, the final time the UK hosted Eurovision in (unravels scroll of parchment) 1998, the presenters had been Terry Wogan and Ulrika Jonsson. These days, we would in all probability see Graham Norton, Mel Giedroyc or Dermot O’Leary helming the present for the Beeb.

…And two things it gets proper

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In an early scene, Lars and Sigrit are standing on the docks of their hometown of Húsavík in North Iceland, when two humpback whales breach floor of the Greenland Sea and soar into the air.

While they’re clearly CGI, humpback and orca whales are widespread guests to the world, and common whale watching journeys set sale from the close by Skjálfandi bay.

You can see footage of humpbacks in Húsavík here and a few superb stills on photographer Daniel Enchev’s Flickr stream.

You may additionally be stunned to study that the movie’s sub-plot about Elves who help Fire Saga of their journey to Eurovision has some foundation in truth.

According to a 2007 research by the University of Iceland, greater than 60% of the nation believes within the existence of Huldufólk, or hidden individuals, who often lend a serving to hand to people.

You can learn extra concerning the phenomenon on the BBC Travel website. Or perhaps you’d simply desire to look at Ja Ja Ding Dong for the 90th time. Today.

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