Eddie the Eagle – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

eddie the eagleEddie the Eagle – 3.5/5 – A feel good story can be found in many parts of our lives.  From friends, neighbors, the local news report to athletes; they are everywhere.  Another place they are prominent is in the world of film.  These films take you on a journey; an individual/group takes on all odds to achieve some kind of goal or dream.   No matter what the specifics are, they can be repetitive and boring. Sometimes, there is an exception to the rule.  Eddie the Eagle is a film based around one young man’s journey to achieve his dream of ski jumping.  Even if the directive has familiarity; it is that humanity like touch that makes you feel the emotions of the tale.  Even in its basic direction, being based on true events creates something that you will believe in.

Premise: The true story of Eddie Edwards; the British Underdog that took the 1988 Winter Olympics by storm.

There are two individuals that are stand outs in this film:

Taron Egerton as Eddie

Hugh Jackman as Bronson Peary

Taron Egerton (of Kingsman fame) as Eddie provides you a character that represents the ‘everyday’ man.  Eddie lives at home with his parents, works with his father, but also dreams of bigger things.  In this case, it’s ski Jumping in the Olympics.  The façade of layers is brought out with a simple approach.  You see the depth in his purpose as his methods of acting creates that authentic human spirit.  That posturing shows purity to him on a human scale, one that is discrete and individualistic.  Eddie’s character depth is further driven by the contrasted relationship he has with Hugh Jackman’s character, Bronson Peary.  Jackman’s Bronson does a great job in providing an opposite ideal to the ‘focused minded’ Eddie.  He is brash, blunt and straight the point.  His harsh criticism helps build up Eddie, providing an awkward but authentic ‘Mentor/pupil’ relationship.  As you see these two interact; it is rash, harsh but honest and real.  This helps break the typical; becoming a true friendship in the end.  When it comes to the rest; the secondary cast does not standout from the script.  The rest of the characters play second fiddle to Eddie and Bronson.  The actors/actresses in these roles perform along the typical beats that parallel the plot points that emphasize the ‘feel good’ journey for Eddie.  You have your common ‘love/hate’ supporting family, the ‘eccentric’ group of competitors and the all common clichéd representative(s) of resistance.  For this, it is usually a group, single character or an overall idea.  In the case of this film, it’s the British Olympic Committee.

The direction goes long the basic path of the ‘feel good story’ method.  In that, you have the acts as followed:

First act: Intro/back story of main character(s) and ‘theme’ of their quest.  The initial beginning ‘obstacles’.  A prelude of the dream occurs and first ‘moments’ occur.

Second act: Main character(s) plateaus in the endeavor. An initial crossroad to improve idea/dream through a mentor of sorts. There is then a mixture of high and low moments with first hurdle overcome.  New challenge commences.

Third act: Main character(s) faces toughest odd against dream.  Conflicts arise (Personal or Emotional). There is a trickledown effect of sudden failures.  Character hits (climax); a crossroad that leads to an epiphany like exposition.  The final achievement with the feel good ending (completion of prelude first act).

This is the basic directive you find in any typical feel good themed film.  As the story goes, the protagonist always hits certain ‘benchmarks’ in the plot; creating that aura of predictability.  There is a sense of knowing this before going into the deeper parts of the story, but the obviousness is what can create a boring atmosphere.  The rarity is trying to find a balance between that predictable nature and creating something with emotive value.   For this film, it draws you in through the uniqueness of the sport (Ski Jumping) and its main character (Eddie).  As mentioned above in the acting description; Eddie has a dream of ski jumping in the Olympics; specifically for his country (Great Britain).  Through the outline above, he reaches certain ‘benchmarks’ in the plot, moving along each moment to succeed in his endeavor.  Along this ‘true story’ inspired journey, we see him face all the odds of the doubters, his coach’s strong methods and the resistance from his own country’s Olympic Committee.  As this happens, his purpose, drive and perseverance pushes him through each obstacle.  You get to watch all the thematic ‘feel good’ ideas unfold; pursuing your dreams, taking on challenges and never giving up.  That honorable path is driven beyond its commonality base through its grounded nature of the main two characters, Eddie and Bronson.  Even for all the gravitas that happens above the average details, the overall predictable nature still has an effect on some emotional events.   You see slight melodrama at times; and comedic elements not hit its mark.  Even so, it never draws you completely out of the experience.  As the third act unfolds, the ‘trickle down’ path takes you through a ‘montage’ style of scenes, till you get to see Eddie face his final confrontation in the climax.  As all comes to head, the ‘triumph’ cliché becomes heartfelt instead of overtly posh; and the ‘Feel Good’ ending feels as real as if you were there making your dreams come true.

The visuals do not go beyond what the direction and story is trying to do.  In short, it is a basic look of where Eddie grew up In England combined with the general complexion of the winter sport of ski jumping.  Its normality provides a window into being real for the audience.  The score is nothing beyond standard, but it helps add to the emotional heart of the film.  From some riveting song-like melodies to emotional instrumentals, it builds on the moments of the film.  The score adds to the ‘happy ever’ mood to bookend the ‘feel good’ direction.

Eddie the Eagle takes the run-of-the-mill feel good mantra and spins it in a way to create something riveting and unique.  For all the predictable beats, its originality comes from the characters and true story elements that infuse a worthy experience.  If you’re a fan of ‘Feel Good’ films and want to have a good time with the family, this is one for you.  It is a film worth watching at the theaters; a good outing if you believe in dreams.

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