Audiences love an underdog; particularly a funny one. So it seems EDDIE THE EAGLE has the perfect recipe for success.
In an interview, producer Matthew Vaughn recounted watching COOL RUNNINGS with his children:
“My kids were loving the film,” Vaughn said, “and I started thinking, ‘why does nobody make movies like this anymore?’ I wanted to make a movie that you could watch and just come out feeling inspired. And I wanted to do a film I could show my kids!”
So it’s no coincidence that Vaughn went on to produce EDDIE THE EAGLE, another true story of heroic failure at the very same 1988 winter Olympics.
EDDIE THE EAGLE is based on the insanely determined antics of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, an English plasterer-turned-ski jumper.
After missing out on the Olympic team in his chosen sport, the downhill ski, Eddie decided to create a new British Olympic squad for a sport Britain hadn’t competed in (nor updated the admission requirements for) in over 50 years. Thus Eddie embarked on his Olympic journey… despite possessing little more than spades of bravery and determination.
The real Eddie Edwards was warned this film would be roughly 10% fact and 90% fiction, and that’s a pretty fair estimation.
The story plays out very well on screen thanks to a fair whack of creative license, yet there’s enough truth to the story to maintain it’s inspirational feel.
Taron Egerton as Eddie is utterly loveable – and still pretty spunky despite his best efforts to pull daft faces! He is balanced by a gruff, and equally spunky, Hugh Jackman playing the entirely fictional character of Eddie’s washed up coach (major cliché alert!)
Director Dexter Fletcher may only have two other films under his belt, but he’s steered this formulaic film well: Like COOL RUNNINGS, EDDIE THE EAGLE never tries to be something it’s not, nor does it ever take itself too seriously – and the film is better for it.
The comedy is obvious and the story arc predictable. There’s corny music, cheesy slow motion and clichéd characters abound. Yet it’s packaged so sweetly, wrapped with an adorable bow that despite its simplicity you can’t help but fall in love with it.
Not exactly historically accurate, and unashamedly riddled with clichés, EDDIE THE EAGLE is nothing new…. But it’s so damned sweet and entertaining no one will mind. You’ll be hard pressed not to laugh out loud, and you may even burst into enthusiastic applause. This is solid feel good cinema. I rate it 7 stars.