Where an Eagle flies, on a mountain high…
A feel good biopic of Eddie Edwards, the beloved British Olympic ski jumper who reached the height of fame in the 1988 Olympics.
Eddie The Eagle – UK & IRL Official Trailer – In Cinemas Now, LionsgateFilmsUK, http://www.youtube.com, pictures © Lionsgate
So Darlin’ husband raided the local DVD hire shop and came back with a couple of
Huge Hugh Jackman movies. One was a major disappointment, the other was a surprising delight. The former film being a Superhero movie, X-Men Apocalypse (2016) which was yet another of their origin films (yawn) which lasted hours but felt like days. Luckily my perceptive husband realised that I too was flagging after the first two hours and riffed the rest of the movie. This made it much more bearable, as did spotting Jackman and Stan Lee in their appearances, which have to be their least fun ever. The established cast also seemed to be getting lethargic too. Michael Fassbender appeared to resort to hamming it up Shakespearean style and Jennifer Lawrence looked like she was pissed off with everyone. All the time. Period. The younger cast were more enthusiastic but maybe its just because they were cast in a Marvel movie. Yay! (?)
The latter film was the now reviewed sports biopic, Eddie the Eagle (2016) which to my relief was labelled a comedy-drama. This film starts in 1973, with young 10-year-old Eddie Edwards telling his mum (Jo Hartley) he’s made his best time ever in holding his breath underwater. He then says he’s going to represent this skill in the Olympics. His mother (Jo Hartley) is happy for him and encourages him in his dream. Conversely, his dad Terry (Keith Allen) is more cynical dismissing it as an Olympic obsession and not a real career. It is revealed that young Edwards has a physical disability in his knees which he slowly recovers from over the next five years. After attempting a variety of sports as a teenager, the hapless clumsy kid fails in all. Then after spying an outdoor ski ramp, Edwards changes his goal to appear in the winter Olympics. His dad wants him to give up his dream and be a plasterer.
Then flashforward to 1987, Edwards changes into Taron Egerton and is one of several hopefuls for the downhill Olympic ski team. He doesn’t qualify due to the snobbish Olympic selector holding Edwards’ working class upbringing against him over his obvious talent. So the determined Edwards leaves for Germany to further his goal, which now is to better the British record made 60 years previously for ski jumping. There he is given free bed in lodging by the kindly bar lady of the ski centre but is mocked by the other professional skiers including his Finnish idol.
He meets the snow groomer, Bronson Peary who is played – in a delightful slow panning up shot – is revealed as Hugh Jackman. It is revealed that Peary was an Olympian ski jumper and the protegé of a famous skier, Warren Sharp (a clue to this actor’s identity later). Peary is now bitter having left this sport after a disagreement with Sharp, with a drinking problem but a sardonic sense of humour luckily lost on Eddie. However a lovely bromance between the two develop after a bar fight, Peary reluctantly coaches Eddie with the aim to help him qualify for the Olympics in an upcoming qualifying session…
The reminder of the film can be revealed in the usual ways but I would certainly recommend it. Watching this feel good movie, with Jackman taking a well deserved break from being Wolverine and the infectious enthusiasm of him and his co-star Egerton this was like a breath of fresh air. Egerton – who I last saw in Legend (2015) as Ronnie Kray’s pretty boy boyfriend – was unrecognisable. He totally transformed himself from boy band extra into Edwards by almost gurning throughout and with Edward’s 1980s spectacles propped annoyingly on his nose. Jackman had some delightful dry comic lines and quips which made his Peary character more and more endearing as the film progressed.
There was also a lovely scene with both these actors where on coaching Edwards, Peary explains the technique as making love to his favourite actress with an indirect reference to a some movies from the 1980s. This leads to Peary demonstrating his pre and post orgasmic technique – waiting for the mash-up of this and the famous When Harry Met Sally (1989)’s scene – and catching Edwards in a jump – reminiscent of Dirty Dancing (1987). It was nice to see a few nods to other movies such as Cool Runnings (1993) and movies of the Northern working class boy wins parental pride ilk in namely Billy Elliot (2000).
The more awful fashions of the 1980s were evident, until this film I’d forgotten about the garish jumpers and their colours from this time, Jo Hartley’s wardrobe was exceptionally tastlessly 1980s but with her enthusiastic performance as his supportive mother even outshone them. The fashions were accompanied by a feel good 1980s soundtrack with new and old songs from many 1980s acts. The film surprises you from all angles – and that doesn’t just include the terrific camera shots as you see the view from some bloody high ski jumps – with a couple of cameos, a Flying Finn and a Norwegian coach ably played by Rune Temt. However, Darlin’ husband felt in line with the more bizarre casting choice not mentioned, he should have been played Will Ferrell who this Norwegian coincidentally resembled.
The film engages you from the start – despite the familiarity of the story – as young Eddie aims to reach the heights of Olympic glory until reaches the pinnacle of his success. His enthusiasm and determination for a British Record as to him it truly was the taking part in the Olympics more than the Gold medal that he was interested in. It is important to remember, this is another film based on a true story with a couple of fictional characters with one being a Huge, Hugh part and one a Walken cameo.
Weeper Rating: /10
Handsqueeze Rating: /10
Hulk Rating: /10
Bonus Trailer: No
Play to the Whistle Blogathon 2017, No 34
This was reviewed as part of Play to the Whistle Blogathon run by Film & TV 101 and Reffing Movies . Other reviews with this cast include Legend (2015) with Taron Egerton. Hugh Jackman also stars in The Prestige (2006).