Tag Archives: 1988

EDDIE THE EAGLE

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Hooked on Film rating:

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

You’ve probably seen this kind of uplifting movie before because it goes all the way back to The Little Engine that Could, and you wonder: why do you keep coming back for more? This is what I thought on first viewing of the trailer which came out of nowhere a month ago since leaving Sundance. Eddie the Eagle can basically be summed up in its title and aforementioned trailer. There are no surprises to be found here, no insurmountable conflicts to be had, no left turns. Not one. But . . . damn it! Talk about getting suckered in. It’s a well-made,  often funny movie about proving the opposition wrong with a feel-good vibe led by newcomer Taron Egerton and flanked by Hugh Jackman, and offering some solid supporting by British actress Jo Hartley as Edwards’ redoubtable mother.

Now, the only thing I differ with is the “based on a true story”. While in fact, Eddie Edwards did go on to make last place at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, the movie is as true as the final sequence of Argo by introducing a mentor character played by Hugh Jackman. No–Bronson Peary did not exist, and no, that’s not a spoiler.

Most movies about underdogs feature some kind of mentor-pupil relationship down to Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Greek fables about heroes in the making. The mentor In this case is Peary, a one-time Olympian himself, who at first shoos Edwards away, but reluctantly (or because Edwards himself refuses to leave) comes to his aid and in the process comes to discover he’s not a loser after all. Cue the Kleenex! So as you see, this story is, predictably, no different.

The real Edwards went at it in a completely different way. Which makes me think that whoever produced the story believed that this would be the way to go and thus, keep audiences engaged.

I’ll admit, adhering or not to the actual events, Edwards’ cinematic story is purely anchored by the freshness and innocence of Taron Egerton who tackles the role as a man-child Mr Magoo in a world of pros. If he were but a little less so, the film, for all its intents and purposes, would have nowhere to go and would be a hard sell. The audience always loves a winner, especially when he has all the odds stacked against him, and Eddie the Eagle in this case is a total crowd-pleaser.