Will Ferrell’s Eurovision movie, The Story of Hearth Saga, was solely launched on Friday, but it surely’s already leapt to primary on Netflix’s most-watched motion pictures chart.
The comedy follows the fortunes of a clumsy Icelandic band, Hearth Saga – Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams) – who get the possibility to fulfil a lifelong dream after they’re chosen to enter the 2020 Eurovision Music Contest.
Written with apparent affection by Ferrell, the movie is crammed filled with Easter eggs and cameos for long-time followers.
It incorporates a band referred to as Moon Fang, whose horrific masks are a call-back to 2006’s Eurovision winners Lordi, whereas a sing-off in the course of the movie options visitor appearances from real-life contestants Alexander Ryback, Conchita Wurst and Netta.
Ferrell’s character even performs inside a large hamster wheel – identical to Ukraine’s entrant in 2014.
Regardless of US publications having to explain Eurovision to confused viewers, and reviewers turning up their noses, the movie has already picked up a legion of followers.
On overview aggregator Metacritic, viewers have rated it 7.8 out of 10, in comparison with 4.9 from critics.
However as with all movies “based on true events”, The Story of Hearth Saga takes a specific amount of dramatic licence with the details. Listed here are just a few noticeable moments the place the movie gets it wrong… And two the place it’s surprisingly correct.
1) The primary scene immediately raises questions…
Each movie wants an inciting incident that units the plot wheels turning – and Eurovision: The Story of Hearth Saga would not waste any time in that respect.
The opening scene finds Lars and Sigrit as kids, watching Abba performing Waterloo on the 1974 Eurovision Music Contest.
Lars instantly (and appropriately) falls in love with the band’s glam rock ode to the Napoleonic wars, and units his sights on profitable Eurovision himself sooner or later.
However at the moment, Iceland did not participate in Eurovision. The truth is, they did not even broadcast the competition reside till 1983, and solely entered for the primary time in 1986.
One other by-product of utilizing Abba’s victory as a framing machine is that Hearth Saga are of their 50s by the point they lastly get to carry out at Eurovision (though Sigrit seems to have aged rather a lot slower than Lars).
That is completely possible, although: Eurovision’s oldest-ever contestant is Englebert Humperdinck, who was 76 when he represented the UK in 2012.
2) The Netherlands gained Eurovision in 2019, however the contest is being held in Scotland…
Hearth Saga meet their competitors for the primary time at a celebration hosted by Russian entrant Alexander Lemtov (Dan Stevens, chewing up the surroundings like a very hungry intercourse kitten).
“This Julia Jay,” he purrs, introducing the UK contender in damaged English.
“She come number one in England’s Got Talent four years ago, so she quite good – but everyone hates UK, so zero points.”
It is a well-observed gag – besides that the 2020 contest is being held in Scotland which means that… er, the UK gained Eurovision final 12 months.
There are two methods to clarify this one away: To begin with, the UK may have stepped in as host if the actual winners (The Netherlands) had declined to stage the competitors. This has occurred six occasions up to now, though not since 1980.
Alternatively, Hearth Saga are competing in an alternate timeline the place Scotland has devolved from the remainder of the UK, and seen their Eurovision possibilities get better consequently. They most likely despatched The Proclaimers.
3) The performers hold breaking the principles
Eurovision has a number of archaic guidelines, largely designed to maintain an extremely complicated reside TV present from going off the rails. Unencumbered by these constraints, the movie takes just a few minor liberties when it recreates the competition.
Sweden’s act, Johnny John John, has seven performers on stage when the utmost is six (gasp!).
Lars’s piano is definitely wired up and plugged in, so he can play reside – which is definitely forbidden (double gasp!).
And most egregiously of all, Hearth Saga’s tune Double Hassle lasts three minutes and 22 seconds, exceeding the utmost permissible size by virtually half-a-minute. (Mér er ofboðið!)
4) The scoring is all wonky
As Eurovision followers know, the competition really stretches over 5 days, with two semi-finals previous the grand finale. From every of these heats, 10 acts keep within the competitors, and the remainder are unceremoniously despatched residence.
Within the movie, Hearth Saga’s semi-final efficiency goes disastrously wrong – they usually retreat to the backstage space, sure that their goals are over, to observe the scores coming in.
However in actual life, the scores aren’t revealed in the course of the semi-final. As a substitute, they’re saved secret till your entire contest has ended, to make sure there are not any clear favourites going into the ultimate.
Within the film-makers’ defence, the voting sequence serves a dramatic objective – ramping up the stress and elevating the stakes for Hearth Saga because the movie enters its third act.
However there is a continuity error that is illogical at greatest, and careless at worst…
5) Iceland’s rating retains resetting
Each time a rustic awards factors to Iceland, their rating is proven to be zero. However Eurovision factors are cumulative, so you’d count on to see their whole rise as extra votes had been forged.
What’s extra, the scoreboard reveals Germany, Spain and the UK participating within the semi-final when, in actuality, all three qualify mechanically for the finale as a part of the “big five” monetary contributors.
Within the screenshot above, you may additionally discover that The Netherlands seem to have entered the competition twice. Is that what’s referred to as “double Dutch”?
6) Edinburgh’s geography is senseless
Movies typically take liberties with the structure of a metropolis, however Hearth Saga actually takes the biscuit (or on this case the Highland Shortbread).
For a begin, Dan Stevens’ character owns a lavish Scottish mansion that gives sweeping, panoramic views of Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh Fortress.
To get these views in actual life, the fort must be positioned on the high of Calton Hill within the metropolis centre – which might imply he’d constructed his home on a world heritage website, excessive of the Nelson Monument. (In actuality, the mansion was Knebworth Home, 367 miles away in Stevenage, and the backdrops had been added in post-production.)
Inflicting extra confusion for cartographers in all places, the movie’s efficiency segments had been clearly filmed at Glasgow’s Hydro Enviornment – which has one way or the other been picked up and deposited on the finish of George IV Bridge on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
It is virtually as unhealthy because the time Thor caught the London Underground.
7) Graham Norton retains interrupting the songs
When Terry Wogan stood down from the commentary field in 2008, after 35 years, few anticipated that Graham Norton would match so snugly into his footwear.
But during the last 12 years, the presenter has proved splendidly adept at guiding us by means of the evening, along with his eyebrows completely set to, “oh, really?“
“If you’re going to get someone to dress as a gorilla,” he commented on Italy’s 2017 efficiency, “at least get a decent outfit. That looks like couple of old car seats sewn together.”
However irrespective of how dire a efficiency gets, Norton by no means talks over it, permitting viewers to soak up each excruciating second.
The movie throws that rule out the window, nevertheless, and has Norton offering commentary for each act whereas they’re on stage. He even swears, which might get him into all types of bother with Ofcom.
8) The hosts aren’t from the host nation
Annually, the host nation chooses two (or extra) presenters to helm the four-hour Eurovision extravaganza.
Historically they’re awkward, stilted, cursed with the worst script recognized to mankind, and utterly unknown exterior their residence nation – though honourable exceptions embody A-Ha’s Morten Harket, Boyzone’s Ronan Keating and Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli.
So it appears unlikely that the BBC would select the heavily-accented “Corin Ladvitch” and “Sasha More” to helm the present if it came about in Scotland.
For reference, the final time the UK hosted Eurovision in (unravels scroll of parchment) 1998, the presenters had been Terry Wogan and Ulrika Jonsson. Lately, we might most likely see Graham Norton, Mel Giedroyc or Dermot O’Leary helming the present for the Beeb.
…And two things it gets proper
In an early scene, Lars and Sigrit are standing on the docks of their hometown of Húsavík in North Iceland, when two humpback whales breach floor of the Greenland Sea and soar into the air.
Whereas they’re clearly CGI, humpback and orca whales are frequent guests to the world, and common whale watching journeys set sale from the close by Skjálfandi bay.
You may additionally be stunned to study that the movie’s sub-plot about Elves who help Hearth Saga of their journey to Eurovision has some foundation in truth.
Based on a 2007 research by the College of Iceland, greater than 60% of the nation believes within the existence of Huldufólk, or hidden individuals, who sometimes lend a serving to hand to people.
You possibly can learn extra concerning the phenomenon on the BBC Travel website. Or possibly you’d simply desire to observe Ja Ja Ding Dong for the 90th time. Immediately.