Eddie the Eagle
This is good, clean, feel-good, family fun. Eddie the Eagle is Britain’s very own Cool Runnings, though it’s unlikely to reach the same cult status.
The film tells the “true” story of the plucky young Brit who, desperate to become an Olympian, embarks on a journey to master ski jumping in just a year, in time for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. As the typical underdog, he must overcome all the usual challenges: lack of talent, an unsupportive father, elitist opponents and a drunk Hugh Jackman for his coach. It carries a message of British tenacity at its best and also at its worst as certain people try to stop him competing.
An Eddie the Eagle movie had been planned for some years with Steve Coogan and Rupert Grint both pegged to play the title role, though that honour eventually fell upon the shoulders of up-and-comer Taron Egerton (best known for Kingsman). Egerton once again proves himself worthy of a lead role and is no doubt on his way to become a leading British actor. He is completely unrecognisable in his clumsy awkwardness as Eddie Edwards, showing off his incredible range.
Hugh Jackman is clearly just around to provide star appeal. His fictional character as a disgraced former-athlete-turned-coach, torn straight from the pages of Cool Runnings, feels a little forced, though Wolverine-on-ice does provide additional opportunity for humour that might otherwise leave large chunks of the movie feeling bland.
Narratively speaking, the movie is almost identical to Cool Runnings, but without the song and with a slightly more British style of humour, which ultimately makes it less fun. Nonetheless, overall it provides plenty of wit to snigger at. Eddie the Eagle will, at the very least, put a smile on the face of everyone who sees it. It’s hard not to love the underdog story and the eponymous hero has always been a crowd favourite. Though largely fictionalised, this story of the Olympian achieving his dreams has just enough fun, humour and intelligence to make it a gratifying watch.
Eddie the Eagle is an enjoyable movie, full of British pluck. After a bit of a slow start (to show us Eddie’s childhood and backstory), it builds to a crescendo of comedy, tension and gorgeous snowy scenery.
Eddie the Eagle is released nationwide on 26th February 2016.
Watch the trailer for Eddie the Eagle here: