Eddie The Eagle is a film that the man in question has been looking to make for about 17 years, and looked great from the trailers, but fell strangely fairly flat in the full telling, early on at least.
It takes some time to get going as we see Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards (real name Michael Edwards) getting the Olympics bug as a schoolboy, then making his way for real to tackle the big jumps with minimal training and zero coaching, starting with the 15m jump. He’s fine with that, but then crashes out on the 40m counterpart. Amazingly, despite the real Mr Edwards being total rubbish at ski jumping, he never broke anything serious.
However, just as we’re coming up to the final hour, and Eddie (Taron Egerton – Kingsman) and Bronson (Hugh Jackman – X-Men: Apocalypse) – a former ski jumper and, now, alcoholic bum – start to get some decent screen time together, the humour begins to start, and they bounce off very well with reasonably well-paced wisecracks, so just as our titular hero is about to practice the 70m jump for the first time…
- Eddie: “Got any tips, then?”
Bronson: “Don’t die(!)”
Eddie: “You’re not coming up?”
Bronson: “Crashes look pretty good from here.”
However, it’s still not quite what I was hoping for and is played a bit too much for slapstick so, for example, the first time we see the Eagle on the slope, he crashes into his fellow team-mates and they all fall over. It just needed a ba-dum-tish! sound to accompany it(!)
In reality, he qualified but he came last. After those Winter Olympics, the rules were changed further than we see happening there, so there’s no way that someone in his position could take part now.
In addition, there were a few changes with the truth, some of which makes it less what it should be. These include:
- He didn’t wear calipers on his legs as a schoolboy. Instead, he had a condition with his legs which had him going in and out of hospital for two years, but as it couldn’t be seen, it was easier to just show him wearing calipers.
- His father is shown being very disapproving when that was completely the opposite.
- Hugh Jackman’s coach character is an amalgamation of 27 coaches, each assisting him with different things, but you can understand that change as the alternative is chopping an changing between an unfeasible amount of characters within less than two hours.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and brilliantly brings to live the late ’80s with the pistes Mr Edwards has to conquer, along with plenty of bright sunshine (one good reason to watch it, while summer is on the turn!)
The audio is in DTS HD 5.1 and is fine, but doesn’t do a great deal out of the ordinary, perhaps other than Eddie zooming over your head into the rear speakers.
There are two extras, but the first is the main one:
- Let The Games Begin: Soaring with Eddie The Eagle (46:40): Split into three parts, this is a ‘making of’ which at least is well-chaptered with ten across the running time – far better than the film, itself!
It features features chat with key cast and crew members, starting with All or Nothing: The Hero’s Heart, starting with the real Eddie Edwards feigning surprise that the film rights have been bought and filming is about to begin – and feigning because he’s been dealing with all of this for, as I said earlier, about 17 years. This is followed by the self-explanatory An Unlikely Friendship: Eddie & Peary and Attitude is Altitude: Filming the Ski Jumps. Along the way, Mention is made of Cool Runnings, released in the UK in 1994, which is based around the same Winter Olympics.
- Deleted Scenes (4:52): Four brief ones here, showing his early years, some training, and nothing which needs to be put back in.
Echoing the cover, the menu shows animation of ‘Eddie’ on top of the van, while Hugh Jackman is driving, annoyingly set against the opening 30 seconds to Hall & Oates’ You Make My Dreams Come True, playing repeatedly. There are subtitles in English and the usual, lame low 12 chapters most studios insist upon. I always work on the rule of thumb of one every five minutes.
Running time: 106 minutes
Released: August 8th 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Atmos, DTS 5.1 HD-MA
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Hawk Scope, Hawk V-Lite Anamorphic Lenses, Hawk V-Plus Anamorphic Lenses, Hawk V-Series Anamorphic Lenses, IO Industries – Flare 2KSDI (some scenes), Red Epic Dragon)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Producers: Adam Bohling, Rupert Maconick, David Reid, Valerie Van Galder and Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay: Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton
Music: Matthew Margeson
Eddie Edwards: Taron Egerton
Bronson Peary: Hugh Jackman
Janette: Jo Hartley
Terry: Keith Allen
Warren Sharp: Christopher Walken
Eddie (10 years old): Tom Costello
Eddie (15 years old): Jack Costello
Dustin Target: Tim McInnerny
Richmond the BOA Official: Mark Benton
BBC Commentator: Jim Broadbent
Clive North UK Reporter: Paul Reynolds
Carrie: Ania Sowinski
Appleby: Graham Fletcher-Cook
Matti Nykänen: Edvin Endre
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.