When Eddie the Eagle stepped onto the slopes in 1988, little did he know he would become a cult icon. Almost 30 years later, Eddie the Eagle finally has his own movie, but is he going down a slippery slope or is it a soaring success.
The fundamental premise of Eddie the Eagle is one that won’t be foreign to most. Those familiar with Cool Runnings, the story of the Jamaican bobsled team, will definitely create links between the movies. Both focus on the true stories of underdogs and their journeys towards the 1988 Winter Olympics. Eddie the Eagle focusses on British ski jumping cult icon Michael Edwards. Edwards became an international sensation when he became the first competitor to represent Britain in the sport. Here is Edwards’ actual jump in 1988.
Taking some liberties with the truth, the movie gets across the root of the story. Against all odds and the will of the British Olympic Committee, Edwards battled adversity and a general lack of ability to qualify for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. The whole story makes for a heart warming underdog story. Lead actor Taron Egerton delivers a great performance of the quirky Eddie the Eagle, forcing the audience to root for him. In fact, during the screening I attended, several audience member applauded and cheered Edwards on.
The film itself delivers a little something for everyone. There is humour, drama, action and quite a bit of emotion throughout as we follow Eddie the Eagle on his journey. Many at the time felt that Edwards as living out the Olympic dream to its purest form. The movie draws upon a quote from Pierre de Coubertin, responsible for the 1894 revival of the games – “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” Given his distint lack of skill, but massive heart and desire to compete, Eddie the Eagle is the definition of a great underdog story.
Also adding to the experience are some cracking tunes throughout, including Thin Lizzy and Van Halen.