Friday, February 19, 2016

Eddie The Eagle - Movie Review: It’s No Cool Runnings

Didn’t they already make an inspirational sports movie about the 1988 winter Olympics? How many more films are we going to have to watch with poor quality television broadcast’s spliced in?  When is and HD era sports movie going to be made?
Eddie the Eagle starring Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, and directed by Dexter Fletcher. The movie tells the story of an Olympic hopeful who changes sports in order to make it to the Olympic Games. He must enlist the help of a down on his luck alcoholic coach who is seen as a disgrace to the sport he was once good at. Sound familiar? Yeah, because another movie told basically the same story, and did it better twenty two years ago.  
Taron Egerton plays Eddie Edwards who’s only dream is to make it to the Olympics. He starts out as a young kid wanting to make it to the summer games. He changes to winter sports and becomes a good downhill skier. The real Eddie Edwards almost made the British Olympic team as a skier just missing out on qualifying. They show he was a good skier in the movie, but not how close he actually came to making the British team. They play it off like it was all on the one evil guy from the Olympic committee preventing Edwards from making the Olympics. The film really tries to play on how un-athletic and out of sorts Eddie is in everyday life. This was my biggest complaint of the movie. How the character of Eddie Edwards was portrayed in the film.
He’s cartoonish and completely unbelievable. Egerton plays the dorky bumbling fool to the best of his ability, but I still saw the charming movie star underneath. Edwards in real life was also a bit clumsy and nerdish, but he was still an athlete. It takes talent to almost qualify in one sport, and then to learn a completely new one in just a few years. He was never top of the class at ski jumping, but I don’t think I would ever be able to land a jump off of a 40 meter platform, let alone a 70 or 90 meter one, regardless of practice.  The character portrayed on screen is a complete naïve bumbling mess. They capture his spirt and determination, but no real person could be as oblivious as he is to the true world around him. This is a real person, I am not sure why they went so cartoonish with his portrayal.
The rest of the characters are also over the top and one dimensional. The doting mother who wants him to do well and encourages him no matter what it costs. The practical father who wants him to give up on the Olympic nonsense and just go to work with him. The evil British Olympic committee person who can’t stand Eddie because he is different and not like the other marketable athletes. The other ski jumping elite who bully and make fun of Eddie because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. The only standout is Hugh Jackman’s character, mainly because he is just a naturally charming human being. I think for the most part he is basically playing his natural on camera persona. Egerton isn’t bad in the title role, you just can tell he is acting for most of the movie.
The film overall is the stereotypical sports movie. Eddie has to convince his coach he is worthy of training. We get a training montage of him getting better, and then the competition when he proves himself to the world. The movie is moving and touching, and it did invoke an emotional response from me a couple of time. The ski jumping scenes are well done and build good tension and excitement within the film. They did rely on CGI and close up face shots a couple of times and it pulled me out of the movie in these cases. The competitions are still the best part of the movie and they should have focused more on them rather than the comedy and bad guys who didn’t want Eddie to tarnish the sport and his country.
The comedy for me was a complete miss. I chuckled at a few moments, but all the jokes have been used before. Other people in the theatre were laughing, so it could have just been me. It seemed they were shooting to make this more of a comedic sports movie, I just think they missed the mark. If Eddie Edwards hadn’t been, and still is, a true person it might have made a good over the top sports comedy. They didn’t find the right balance of believability and zaniness in the film.
I wanted to like Eddie the Eagle. True life sports stories are some of my favorite types of film. This just didn’t live up to the heartwarming inspirational story it could have. They tried too hard with the comedy and made the characters unbelievable, when the story actually happened. It’s a case of straying too far from the source material. I’ll put a link in the description below to a story about the real Eddie Edwards written a couple of years ago which sheds more light on the true person. Read up on that instead of going to see Eddie the Eagle, because this movie is Not Worth Seeing. If it’s on a paid channel it’s entertaining enough to stop and watch one time, but overall it’s forgettable. If you need movie to take your kids too for the weekend, then it’s worthy of a manatee price and has a good enough message to inspire kids. That could be the issue, this movie just isn’t for my demographic.
Do you plan on seeing Eddie the Eagle? If you have seen it, let me know what you thought. Am I being too harsh? Tell me your favorite sports movies based on real life events. I’ll go with an unconventional pick, Without Limits, based on the runner Steve Prefontaine. If you haven’t seen it and like sports movies check it out.  If you like my review give it a thumps up. Share if you think it’s worth sharing. Subscribe to my channel if you think I say interesting things. Click the links at the end to hear me babble on some more. Thanks for watching, bye. 

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