Genre: Sports Dramedy
Length: 105 Minutes
Main Cast: Taron Egerton
Production Company: Marv Films
Written By: Sean Macaulay
Directed By: Dexter Fletcher
Written By Nelson Cumming
Eddie the Eagle is a consistently good movie. The entire story is formulaic and predictable so “Eddie The Eagle” relies on the execution to succeed. Fortunately, it does succeed. There is good chemistry between Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton and everything else fits like set design and cinematography fits into the story. All I can really say is that “Eddie the Eagle” is a feel-good movie about a nice guy trying to achieve his Olympic dreams. It does not challenge the intellect but it pleases the mind.
Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton) is British boy off the street who dreams of making it in the Olympics. Trouble is, Eddie is not alethetic in any way as he comedically trips over hurdles, smashes windows with a javelin and carries all his broken reading glasses from his comedically failed attempts in a tin. At age 22, Eddie sees the opportunity of making the Olympic team through ski jumping (only because there are no qualifications or regulations since a Brit has not competed in the sport since the 50’s). On pen and paper, all Eddie had to do was ski jump in a formal event. As we learn, it is not as simple as that. Eddie has to overcome adversity to try and live his dream.
Ten minutes in and I knew “Eddie the Eagle” was essentially “Cool Runnings”. You have the over-optimistic, almost naive, lead character paired up with a pessimistic coach who was destined for greatness but lost himself along the way. The movie was set in the winter Olympics and it involved northern Europeans belittling the main character Eddie. Hell, this movie was set in the same Olympic Winter Games in 1988. There is even a little easter egg in the movie about this similarity. So at least the filmmakers were self-aware and paid homage to its predecessors. If you like “Cool Runnings” you will like this movie without a shadow of a doubt.
The good thing is I like “Cool Runnings” so liking this movie is a natural fit. Taylor Egerton is good enough at being charming and friendly that we care for him. Even with the predictability of all the scenes I was saying in my mind “Oh my God, Eddie you are just going to hurt yourself. I know it’s going to happen but don’t do it Eddie” instead of “He is probably going to fail the jump and fall on his ass” It’s pretty amazing how an invested interest in characters gets me into a movie quickly. That is always a big tick when I rate movies.
This film also brings Hugh Jackman as Bronson Perry, a rising Olympic star who fell short of glory by his own demons. Perry teaches and trains Eddie to the art of ski jumping. Great character development from Jackman. From the guy who depends on his “Jacket” to just converse with Eddie to the guy who bonds with Eddie through his “Jacket”. Through Eddie, he slowly finds happiness. Jackman finds the magic spot of being distant from Eddie but not so much that we would think he is mean, self-centered and detracting from the movie. It’s is actually a little delightful to see the various training montages with him and Eddie.
My final compliments go to both the cinematographer and the set designer. The design looked convincing as it has the large slopes and the large crowd. The locker rooms and the cafeteria fit the environment effortlessly. The cinematographer was especially good at presenting how scary and dangerous the high jumps were while also showing us how fun those jumps would be if you had the confidence and the technique. There is one scene where Jackman does the 90-metre jump slightly drunk with a cigarette in his mouth that was fun to see instead of being worried that he might be stretchered out.
Eddie the Eagle is an all round good movie. It doesn’t break away from the mold and it doesn’t really offer anything to take away from, but it does make you care and it does fulfill the basic objective of a feel good movie: To make you feel good at the end! ***1/2