Release date: February 26, 2016
Directed by: Dexter Fletcher
Written by: Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton
Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jim Broadbent, and Christopher Walken
Everyone loves a sports movie, right? When they’re done right — the formula is pretty simple – they can inspire you, bring you to laughs and tears and darn it…just make you feel good. “Eddie the Eagle” is yet another feel-good inspirational sports story, based on British Olympic ski jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards.
Is it predictable? Yes. Is it fun? Yes! Let’s get to it!
Who or what the heck is “Eddie the Eagle”?
Eddie is a dreamer. Growing up in England, he made it his life purpose to become an Olympic champion. The problem is, Eddie isn’t exactly an athlete, but he had heart and determination and was pretty much set on accomplishing his goal no matter what. This includes a trial and error montage of young Eddie growing up through the years, trying his hand a numerous events, and failing at all of them – but he took to skiing – especially ski jumping, a lunatic event at the Winter Olympics that one either becomes great at or a pancake on the snow.
Why should I care about Eddie’s story?
Everyone loves to root for the underdog. Eddie is a fun character and this is a fun movie that never takes itself too seriously and delivers a fairly routine story about this British kid who defied the odds – England hadn’t had a ski jumper in the Olympics since the early 70’s – so Eddie’s journey to compete at the 1988 Calgary Games becomes a source or pride for the country. But what really sells it is Taran Egerton’s performance as Eddie.
What do I know Taron Egerton from?
In “Kingsmen: The Secret Service”, he’s Eggsy. So, this is a bit of a different character than most American audiences have seen him play. But, he does it well. Eddie is awkward and weird, but he has such a vibrant, positive spirit, you can’t help but root for him, and a lot of that credit goes to Egerton, who is teaming with his “Kingsmen” director here (Matthew Vaughn, serving as producer). In fact, Vaughn has stated publically that Egerton should play a young Han Solo. So, there’s that.
How many sports clichés does this movie touch on?
Pretty much all of them, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. Most sports movies are pretty much the same anyway. Underdog. Adversity. Challenges. Obstacles. Sports movies are pretty formulaic as it is. A good sports movie is like chocolate chip cookies or warm apple pie. Follow the recipe and you’ll create something that hits the spot in just the right way.
How is Hugh Jackman in this?
When is Hugh Jackman bad? I mean, come on, unless you flat-out don’t like him, the dude is usually pretty good even when a movie is bad. He’s clearly having some fun here, working with Taron. He’s playing a disgraced for American Olympic stud who spent more time drinking and partying than he did taking his career seriously. He acts as the Obi Wan to Taron’s Luke. They have great chemistry and kinda makes you wonder about action movie potential with them – how about Jackman for the bad guy in “Kingsmen 2”?
Does this movie share a universe with anything else I may have seen?
Oddly, yes. The 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics were also the debut of the Jamaican bobsled team, made famous by the 1992 John Candy flick, “Cool Runnings”. There’s actually a nice reference to the Jamaican team in this and would make a nice “Olympic Movie Night” double feature down the road.
Is this good for the family?
This is an excellent movie for the family. It is PG-13, due some and some partial nudity, but it’s an uplifting story, with a lot of heart and a fun sense of humor.
“Eddie the Eagle” isn’t perfect. It’s not original. It offers absolutely nothing new to the sports movie genre. But what it does, it does well and it has great performances from Egerton and Jackman.
Running time: 1 hour 45 mins
MPAA rating: Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material, partial nudity and smoking