Fire Saga does not win the Eurovision Song Contest. Let's just get that spoiler out of the way, shall we?
It's OK. That fact absolutely will not ruin Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga for you. And if it does, well, sorry. But it's really not the point of the movie.
No, what we have here is two hours of movie on Netflix that's just a fun little watch. You don't need to overthink it. It's best I f you don't get anywhere near using that part of your brain, actually. Just enjoy the zaniness that is Eurovision, and let the music wash over you.
What's that? You refuse to read a Fire Saga review that doesn't find some sort of point to the film? Fine. We can come up with a few.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Fire Saga Story
The bottom line: Don't overthink this one. Just sit back, relax, and let the somewhat goofy (but mostly accurate) music competition wash over you.
- It's as close as we'll get to Eurovision this year
- The music is solid
- McAdams and Ferrell are great together
- Pierce Brosnan's beard is sublime
- Some of the characters don't make much sense
- Maybe a half-hour too long
Point No. 1: Will Ferrell is still funny
Look, dude's not breaking any real ground here. If you've seen Will Ferrell at any point over the past 20 years or so, you know what you're getting here. And that's not a knock on him or his talent. Quite the opposite, in fact. He's the Waffle House of entertainment. The menu doesn't really matter. You know you'll come away fed, and you know you'll have a good time eating.
Ferrell's Lars Erikcssong is annoying. His hair is annoying. His obsession over the Eurovision Song Contest is annoying. He's a caricature of Nordic culture, of course — it's Ferrell playing a character. But at the same time, you want to root for the poor bastard. You want his father, Erick (Pierce Brosnan), to not be so much of a dick to his son.
You want Lars to succeed, if only so he doesn't have to play crowd-favorite "Jaja Ding Dong" to a bar full of his drunken neighbors for the rest of his life. You want Lars to wake up to the fact that his musical partner and lifelong friend Segrid Ericksdottir is in love with him and he'll be hard-pressed to do better.
Ferrell brings it with all the charm and lack of shame that we've come to know and love.
Point No. 2: You'll still love Rachel McAdams
Has Rachel McAdams ever been in a show in which you didn't fall in love with her just a little more? Even in the messy second season of HBO's True Detective, you just can't take your eyes off her.
Same goes for Segrid. Even though she's basically Rachel McAdams with a Nordic accent, there's just something about the innocence. Whereas Lars is there for the contest, Segrid's in it for the music — and for her friend. Her belief in the Huldufólk — the Icelandic elves — is cute and a little odd, but also pivotal to the story.
Segrid doesn't quite fall for the trope of the bad-boy competitor who threatens to break up Fire Saga, but she comes close. Sort of. It's ... kind of a thing.
Point 3: You need to know Dan Stevens
If you didn't yet know who Dan Steven is, you've missed out. He's David in the excellent (but totally weird) FX series Legion. He was the Beast in the 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson and Josh Gad and Luke Evans and Kevin Kline.
If anyone in this movie was made for Eurovision, it's Stevens and his Russian character Alexander Lemtov.
Lemtov, like a number of the other ancillary characters in the movie, doesn't quite feel fully formed. He's an antagonist, but not a particularly bad one. He threatens to steal Segrid away, but not really.
Point 4: Pierce Brosnan is a fine wine
Those of us of a certain age are still very much used to the younger, more clean cut Pierce Brosnan. Remington Steele. James Bond.
But, damn, the man has aged well. The only thing perhaps better than his nearly completely gray beard is the mane atop his head. He is, fittingly, the next-generation Sean Connery.
Brosnan's Erick never really liked his son, Lars. He didn't like the music. He didn't like the silliness. He thought a hard day's work should have been enough. And he never really moved on from the loss of his wife.
Erick's change of heart was hardly a surprise. You could see it coming from the other side of the Norwegian Sea. But that didn't make it any less heartwarming.
Point 5: It's fine to enjoy the finale
If you've learned nothing else watching The Story of Fire Saga, it's this: the Eurovision Song Contest is fun. It's goofy and campy and not-so different than what the various reality music shows in the U.S. are trying to do — only this is on a continental stage. It's the sort of national pride that we simply don't have in a country that calls the championship of its national pastime a "World Series."
Many of us got our first real taste of Eurovision in 2006 when Finnish GWAR-lookalikes Lordi won the competition. But the event itself has been going on since 1956 — missing only 2020 due to the global pandemic.
And you know what? The Fire Saga Story just feels good. All the pieces fall where they're supposed to. And you see them coming. There are no real surprises here. (Save for maybe Demi Lovato's character, which is mostly extraneous and overly charred.)
So maybe this is the perfect movie for right now. You don't have to think about it too much. You just need to sit back and let the music wash over you.