Eddie the Eagle (movie), PG-13 (2016); movie reviewed February 24, 2016.
Starring Taron Egerton (you know him from Kingsman: The Secret Service), Hugh Jackman, and Christopher Walken (you know them from pretty much everything they’ve ever done!).
I wanted to see and review this film for 3 reasons.
First, not only am I a huge fan of the Olympics, but one of my earliest Olympic memories was seeing Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. As an 8 year old with no discernible athletic ability, his story immediately appealed to me. When I heard they were making his story into a movie, I knew I had to see it.
Second, we at Casual Runner are all about inspiring others to greatness. If a movie, especially one telling true life events can help to motivate and inspire others, then it is right in our wheelhouse. Even though the film is not about running per se, it is about one man’s adventure, and life is an adventure!
Third, it gave me an opportunity to share some pictures from when I visited the Olympic ski jump hills in Park City, Utah. 🙂
When one thinks of Olympic ski jumping royalty, mustachioed glasses-wearing Brits usually do not come to mind. But, for a few days in the Winter of 1988 at the Calgary Olympic Games, Eddie the Eagle (Taron Egerton) captivated the world’s attention. This movie chronicles his (at often time hilarious) struggles to grow from an awkward young lad into an awkward young Olympian.
Along the way during his not-so-direct path to international stardom, he meets and interacts with many intriguing personalities who demonstrate various and quixotic levels of support for his Olympic dreams.
It is hard to share more about the plot without including any spoilers, so I will simply stop here. If you want to know more about his athletic career before you go to see the movie, you can always Wikipedia it. However, if you do not know the full story, I’d recommend NOT doing any advanced research, as a good degree of historical ignorance may increase your enjoyment of this film.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (but not really).
This is not your typical story of a sports underdog overcoming adversity to triumph. Ok, so it kinda of is, but it really isn’t. Here’s why: what surprised me the most about this movie was just how funny it was. As in, genuinely funny, especially for a film that is not billed as a comedy.
There were times (very early on in the film) where I was literally laughing out loud. Add to it the non-formulaic darkish sort of anti-hero ski coach (played very well by Hugh Jackman), and you won’t mistake this for the litany of other formulaic inspirational sports movies (which, I admittedly do enjoy). I believe that this is what will enhance the appeal of this film to broader audiences. Watching this film is not only inspirational, but it is genuinely enjoyable and fun.
How fun is this film? The screening that I attended was marked by open laughter and even 3 discernible outright instances of group applause during the sporting scenes. One could also sense the notable tension in the theater during the training scenes. Needless to say, all of these are the result of a well-conceived and well-executed film that created in an enjoyable cinematic experience for audiences of all ages.
I must admit that I was confused with how prominently Christopher Walken was used in promoting this film. Don’t get me wrong, I love him as an actor and am a firm believer that everyone can always use more cowbell, but his role was very small (though important), and he left you wanting more. Much, much more.
This movie is filled with spectacular visuals, well-placed but not overdone humor, and great little Easter eggs throughout. Aside from good performances all around, I particularly enjoyed the way the musical score complimented both the story and the era, right down to background music that reminded me of St. Elmo’s Fire and other great films of the era.
Is this the best film ever? No, but it does not have to be. Was Eddie the Eagle one of the greatest ski jumpers ever? No, but he did not have to be. This film, like Eddie himself, just work…very well. The story and the execution of the storytelling are extremely captivating and worth you investing an hour and 45 minutes of your time. The film will work equally well whether you are going out on a date, taking your family to the movies, or having a night out with friends. So, yes, I would definitely recommend this film. Enjoy!
What did you think about this movie? After you see it, please come back and let us know by leaving a comment below, we’d love to hear what you think.
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Tickets to this advanced media screening were provided for purposes of this review. Neither Mike nor Casual Runner received any consideration or compensation for this review, and the opinions are solely those of the author.