Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga!
Warning: This article contains spoilers
Last week, Eurovision fans gathered round their television screens across the globe, not to watch the contest itself but for the premiere of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga! Of course, we at EuroStarz were there too, and this is what we thought:
Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachael McAdams) are childhood friends, who grew up in the small town of Húsavik on Iceland’s far northern coast (population: 2,307). They make music together under the name of Fire Saga, and they love the Eurovision Song Contest. Inspired by Abba, Lars has a dream of winning the coveted Eurovision title for Iceland. Lars is a bit of a hot head and desperate to seek his father’s approval, Erick Erickssong (Pierce Brosnan), particularly after the untimely death of his mother in 1973.
They apply and are accepted into the Icelandic National Final, Söngvakeppnin. Sigrit believes in the old Icelandic folklore of Elves and asks them to help Fire Saga win. Unfortunately, they lose out to the favourite, Katiana (Demi Lovato). All of the contestants are invited to a party on a boat, but depressed and disappointed at their disastrous performance, Lars and Sigrit decide not to go. The boat suddenly explodes, killing everyone on board. As the only remaining entrants, Fire Saga automatically become Iceland’s entry into Eurovision.
Lars and Sigrit jet off to Edinburgh, the host city for the Contest, where they met up with the favourite to win, the wonderfully flamboyant Alexander Lemtov (Dan Stevens) from Russia. On the day of the First Semi-Final, Fire Saga are set to sing their entry, “Double Trouble”. It starts off well, but ends disastrously when the scarf of Sigrit’s dress gets caught up in Lar’s giant rotating hamster wheel. They recover and finish the song. Despite the disaster, they successfully make it to the Grand Final. Lars doesn’t know this, because he has stormed out before the vote is announced, packs his suitcase and jets off on the first flight back to Iceland, believing his dreams of Eurovision glory are in shatters.
Back home, he is made aware that Fire Saga has made it through to the Grand Final. Lars has to hurry back to Edinbugh. Enroute to Reykavik Airport, he hitches a ride with Victor Karlosson, Governor of the Central Bank of Iceland. A short stop is made to the a trio of tiny houses on a hill top near the side of the road, where the Elves live. After having a few words with the Elves, Lars is attacked by Victor, who confesses that he murdered all the Söngvakeppnin contestants because he didn’t want Iceland to win Eurovision, as the country cannot afford to host the Contest. Earlier, Lars had been troubled when he sees the ghost of Katiana, warning him his life is in danger. Her cryptic message now makes sense. The unseen Elves save Lars by killing Victor.
Lars makes it back to Edinburgh in the nick of time. At the Grand Final, there is a last minute change of song. Instead of “Double Trouble”, they sing a power ballad about their home town, “Húsavik”, (secretly written by Sigrit) and receive an overwhelming positive response from the audience. Unfortunately, change of song means instant disqualification from the Contest. Despite this, they return home to a hero’s welcome.
Here’s a video of highlights from the movie to “Double Trouble”:
Eurovision 2020 may have been cancelled, but have no fear! This movie acts as a great consolation. Co-written and starring American actor, Will Ferrell, this is a very affectionate homage to our beloved Eurovision, and will have you both laughing and crying.
Here the cast talk about Eurovision:
The songs featured are excellent and well-crafted compositions that would not go amiss at an actual Contest. “Double Trouble” has a very Scandinavian-Abba-pop feel about it. “Húsavik” is a power ballad, the sort of song that does very well at Eurovision. The giant hamster wheel makes a return, initially made famous at the 2014 contest by the Ukrainian entry.
Húsavik, the small town in northern Iceland, will definitely be put on the tourist map now. Iceland is a truly magnificent country and the location shots are stunning, including its most famous waterfall, Skogafoss, and the black beach at Reynisfjara, featured in Fire Saga’s video for “Volcano Man”. Other filming locations include Edinburgh and Glasgow, and some of the audience and stage sequences were filmed at the Expo Arena in Tel Aviv, during the 2019 Contest.
Special treat for fans is the cameo appearances by a select group of past Eurovision artists; eleven in total – Salvador Sobral, the 2017 winner for Portugal, plays a busker in Edinburgh. And ten others feature in a sing-a-long - past winners Alexander Rybak (Norway, 2009), Loreen (Sweden, 2012), Conchita Wurst (Austria, 2014), Jamala (Ukraine, 2016) and Netta (Israel, 2018), plus Jessy Matador (France, 2010), Elina Nechayeva (Estonia, 2018), and John Lundvik (Sweden), Anna Odobescu (Moldova) and Bilal Hassani (France), all contestants from the 2019 contest.
Here's the fabulous singalong at the party scene:
Will Ferrell uses his own singing voice on the soundtrack, with Rachel McAdams has her vocals synched with Molly My Marianne Sandan, a Swedish singer who has represented Sweden at Junior Eurovision 2006 and participated in the Swedish National Finals for Eurovision, Melodifestivalen. Graham Norton, who commentates on Grand Final Night for UK TV, also makes an appearance.
The movie includes a nod to the huldufólk (or hidden people), the elves of Icelandic folklore, who save Lars from the murderous Victor Karlosson. Sadly, the Contest is not broadcast in North America, so folks from the United States and Canada are largely ignorant of Eurovision; a point well highlighted with the inclusion of a group of American tourists visiting Edinburgh. Lars tries to explain what Eurovision is all about after begging them to drive him to the venue of the Contest in their hire car.
Music video for Volcano Man, highlighting the stunning scenery of Iceland:
This feel good movie is the perfect antidote for dedicated Eurovision fans, especially in the amidst of this horrible coronavirus pandemic. Originally scheduled to coincide with Eurovision week in May, the film’s release date was put back to 26 June, due to the Contest being cancelled. It’s ironic that the movie follows the story of a music act from Iceland, because Iceland were the bookie’s favourite to win 2020!
“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is available on Netflix.