Fly like an eagle. Or Eddie, too, I guess.
Throughout his whole life, Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton) had everything going against him. His dad always wanted him to work more, rather than spend his time focusing on silly dreams of being a superstar athlete, and even when he does finally get a chance to make something of his athletic career, it turns out that he gets cut from England’s Olympic ski team. Rather than being frazzled and with nothing to do with his life, Eddie decides to travel to Germany and test his skills at the very dangerous, but ultimately rewarding sport known as “ski jumping”. While there, Eddie meets the one and only Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), a former ski jumper who now works as a snowplow driver. Though Bronson has been done with the sport for quite some time and is now all about drinking, partying and starting fights, he sees something about Eddie that he just can’t resist. That’s why, together, they train, night and day, as hard as they can, so that they can ensure that Eddie gets a chance to show his face at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta.
Eddie the Eagle is a lot like other sports movies of the same nature. In a way, you know Eddie is going to be the typical sports biopic protagonist who has an undying spirit for overcoming the odds, is earnest, sweet to everyone around him, and generally, puts up with a lot of crap from people who are mean to him for no exact reason. But in all honestly, that’s actually fine.
See, even though Eddie himself was all about breaking the conventions of what made a typically-seen athlete, the movie itself, more or less, just wants to give Eddie’s story the movie spotlight it actually deserves. While you may not at all care about ski-jumping, this Eddie fella, or even Brits for that matter, Eddie the Eagle, slowly but surely, will have you eating out of the palm of its hand, while simultaneously making you forget that you ever saw any other sports movie before it.
Okay, maybe that’s a tad too far, but you get the picture.
There’s a fun-loving, kind spirit to Eddie the Eagle, the person, as well as the movie itself, that’s downright infectious. It’s 80’s theme and style, while overbearing at first, soon starts to work its way into actually getting to understand the feel and appeal of that era; while there’s maybe one too many synths in the score, it turns out that it actually works for the sport the movie’s portraying, as it’s a little hard to have a ski-jumping movie with a Metallica-like score backing it all up. No offense to ski-jumping, but it’s not necessarily considered the roughest, toughest, and rigorous sport of them all.
But that doesn’t keep Eddie the Eagle away from being a solid movie, at the very least, an inspirational sports movie, as well. You see the twists and turns coming from a mile away and even if you didn’t already do your own homework on just who this Eddie character was in the first place, chances are, it won’t matter. You’ll know exactly where this story is going to end up and while that would normally tick me off to high heavens, here, it didn’t seem to matter.
I was just happy to be in the presence of Eddie, Bronson, and well, basically everybody else who showed up.
Speaking of Eddie himself, Taron Egerton has slowly, but most definitely surely, shown himself to be one of the brighter, more promising young voices in film nowadays and it’s great to see where he’s going with his career. While the movie definitely overdoes it in trying to making Egerton look like the actual Eddie himself, with titled-glasses, terrible hair and whatnot, Egerton gets past all of that and makes us sort of fall in love with this guy. He’s nice to basically everyone around him and hardly utters a naughty word throughout the whole movie, which may seem like total bull-crap, but once we actually get to see the real Eddie himself, it becomes all too clear that this is exactly who the guy might be. He may be overly earnest and kind to those around him, but it’s hard to hate a person who, quite frankly, is exactly as he appears to be in actual, real life. And yeah, Egerton’s great at him, showing both the inspired, as well as the lovable side to our hero.
And even though there’s no such person as Bronson Peary (well, at least not in relation to Eddie’s story – there’s most likely a porn star with that name out there on some corner store shelf), Hugh Jackman does a solid job at giving us a likable mentor, who also has a few demons of his own. Obviously, by the way story goes, we’re going to have to expect at least some sort of issue between these two that they need to overcome and though the movie does predictably bring one up, it actually seems believable to the situation. While the world may look at Eddie like a fool and he may not care about it, there’s also the argument to be made for him not even trying to be apart of the Olympics, for that exact reason. Because Peary’s character is a point-by-point caricature of conventions that we typically see with these mentor types, it makes sense why he would have a problem with Eddie taking himself one step further, even if we want him to achieve his dream at the end of the day.
But if anything, what Eddie the Eagle does best that, some other sports biopics like, for instance, Race, didn’t seem to do, is get down to the meat of the story and make us realize why we care so much to begin with. Jesse Owens was way more inspirational than Eddie, however, this movie at least shows that Eddie is like you or I. We may be a little troubled and clearly not in perfect shape to do everything that we want to do, but as long as we have the right mind and spirit, we can achieve whatever we want.
Sure, it’s hokey as hell, but it’s the kind of hokey I don’t mind to smile at and go along with.
Consensus: Conventional and corny, Eddie the Eagle may not surprise viewers familiar with the sports biopic, but is still so likable, well-acted, and enjoyable, that it’s easy to push away these issues and just fly along.
7 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz