One year ago I went to a London Apple Store Q&A with Taron Egerton, the fresh newcomer from Kingsman: The Secret Service, a film I adored. Although I spent most of the talk looking at his cheekbones, Egerton told us he was just wrapping up filming Eddie the Eagle, a new film he was doing with Hugh Jackman. At the time it did not seem like something I’d really want to watch, but everything for Taron and as soon as the trailers came out I actually got more excited. Everybody loves a cute underdog story, especially when it has such a dorky protagonist like Eddie Edwards. Although it is a bit cheesy at times, Eddie the Eagle is a very happy film and will guarantee to make you smile.
Ever since he was a little boy, Eddie Edwards has wanted to be an Olympian. His one problem: he sucks at sports. After countless of try-outs and even one shot at the Winter Olympics of 1988, he finds the one sport for which there is no British team and therefore no qualifications: ski jumping. With the help of former ski jumping star and alcoholic Bronson Peary, Edwards starts training to get a place in the Olympics, much to the dismay of the British Olympic Committee.
Since the story is based on the true event of Eddie the Eagle, there should be few surprises in the plot. Still, like true Hollywood fashion, the underdog story and emotional moments are heightened so that it feels a lot more dramatic. Each build up for the next step in Eddie’s training is huge, so that you cannot help but get emotionally involved in the journey, whether you want to or not. There are a lot of ups and downs for Eddie in the story, so you start feeling really protective over the poor little geek. Does all of this make it cheesy and predictable? Yes, quite. But I’m such a sucker for cheesiness that it does not bother me at all. We all could have guessed it was going to be a feel good movie to begin with, so we might as well stop being Negative Nancy’s for two hours and enjoy a bit of sweet happiness.
Taron Egerton does a marvelous job in portraying the odd but driven Eddie Edwards, something that definitely differs from his chavvy part in Kingsman; The Secret Service. Although he is a bit more handsome than the original Edwards (no offense, Eddie), he captures his whole strange essence, including his specific mannerisms like the jaw sticking up. He makes a great team with Hugh Jackman, who kind of plays a Winter Olympics version of Wolverine. The couple is so odd that it could have been very easy to get the wrong chemistry, but the two have a natural charm to them. There’s a nice cameo of Christopher Walken as Peary’s old coach, although I have to admit that his reconciliation with Peary and the whole ‘I’m finally proud of you’ thing might have been a little too much, even for this film.
Another thing that brings a lot of charm to Eddie the Eagle is the time period. It’s set in the late eighties, which calls for old school outfits, technology and of course music. There’s plenty of eighties tunes used, which will make most of the adults watching very happy. Especially You Make My Dreams from Hall & Oats really sets to mood for the kind of cheerful, funny and slightly guilty pleasure-like film that this is. Occasionally we see original footage of the real Eddie Edwards, like his special shout out during the closing ceremony. It’s amusing to see the connections to the actual story, but it does sometimes take you out of the visual illusion. When we are in the cheesy comedy bubble, we’d rather actually stay in it until the end.
Those that are a bit more critical and serious about their films might feel like Eddie the Eagle is a bit over the top. It’s very predictable in both the Hollywood and the real life sense and the moral of working for your dreams is strong with this one. Still, Eddie the Eagle is a delightful and charming film that will make you laugh and perhaps sometimes even cry. Want to look for the perfect feel good film to watch after a break up, a failed exam, or during period cramps, then look no further. The eagle has landed.