Eddie The Eagle Review

Everyone seems to be raving about Eddie The Eagle. it’s been getting incredibly high ratings and people are calling it the best British film and best British comedy in a long time. After putting it off for a couple of days, I finally went and watched it. Is it one of the best British films?

Eddie The Eagle stars Taron Edgerton. Hugh Jackman, Keith Allen, Jo Hartley and Tim McInnerny and is directed by Dexter Fletcher. The film follows the true story of Eddie Edwards, A British ski jumper, who entered the Winter Olympics despite coming last at every stage.

The story of Eddie Edwards is a proper underdog story. A man who proved everyone wrong and defied all the odds and went to the Olympics, not to win, but just to take part. The film dutifully recreates his story, spanning several years of his life and makes the film an all-round feel-good movie. If that’s all you really want from your film, a good old underdog story, then Eddie The Eagle is a fine choice. I’m not sure how much of the story is fabricated, but it does have some underdog sport film clichés, but you can easily overlook these. It fits perfectly into director Dexter Fletcher’s other films, such as Sunshine On Leith, he aims to make a film that will leave the audience feeling happy by the end.

The film has been billed as a comedy and the trailer was incredibly funny. Sadly most of the best jokes are given away in the trailer. There are some good moments that weren’t shown, including an extended sequence by Hugh Jackman as Eddie’s trainer Bronson describing ski jumping in comparison to spending a passionate night with film actress Bo Derek mainly from how absurd it gets. The training montage is also another good moment as the duo have some unorthodox methods as to how to prepare Eddie for the bigger jumps. Jackman and Edgerton have a good chemistry and helps to keep the film together when the jokes don’t appear. There is even a sly joke at Cool Runnings, the story of the Jamaican bobsled team who competed at the same Winter Olympics, despite Cool Runnings being the better film.

The ski jumps are created very well and are a highlight of the film. For every jump we get a point-of-view shot going down the slope, a reaction shot of the people on the ground and then a shot of the skier flying through the air, usually in slow motion so we can see it in all its glory. It’s very good and entertaining to watch, as well as been shot and edited to make them as exciting as possible. The jumpers should be getting billing next to Edgerton and Jackman, mainly due to them having to throw themselves down the hill and crash to show Eddie’s change from failure to triumph. Over and over again we see them crash and fall from the forty metre slope, it deserves praise that they are willing to be grievously injured for the film.

In the end, Eddie the Eagle is just alright. The good jokes are a bit few and far between and even at 1 hour 45 it feels a bit too overlong. Billy Elliot does the British underdog film better and Cool Runnings does the Olympic underdog story better as well. If you’re wanting to go to the cinema, pick Zootropolis instead.

Score: 5/10 Doesn’t soar as far as it could.

Creed Review

Rocky is one of the most recognisable film franchises in the world. It’s the film that was one of Sylvester Stallone’s first major roles and arguably his best-known role (with Rambo being his second). But now a new film steps away from the Rocky title, ready to make its own legacy using new characters from the Rocky world. That film is Creed.

Creed stars Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad and is written and directed by Ryan Coogler. The film follows Adonis Johnson (Jordan), the son of Apollo Creed, who decides he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and enlists Rocky (Stallone) to train him.

Ryan Coogler was the director of one of my Top 10 favourite films, Fruitvale Station and for a first film it’s a solid entry. Now with Creed, he’s showing that he will be soon be one of the most sought-after director’s working today. Coogler is already an expert at crafting a story and has a very good eye for composition and camera work.

Michael B. Jordan (who worked with Coogler before on Fruitvale Station) shines as Adonis Creed. The actor obviously bulked up and trained hard for the role and it pays off, he looks every part the fighter Creed would be. Sylvester Stallone is just Rocky again (you get what you pay for) but manages to add a lot more complexity to the role, with small scenes like him visiting the graves of loved ones or the little mementos of his family around his house adding to the character. Tessa Thompson (who was here last year in Dear White People) as Adonis’ love interest Bianca is a good addition, even if sometimes I didn’t quite think there was a lot of chemistry between her and Jordan.

The boxing fights, while not the main focus of the film, are punishing and bloodied. While there are only two full matches, Coogler and his cinematographer Maryse Alberti capture the gladiatorial bouts perfectly. The first fight, which looks like it was shot in one take, is breathtaking. The camera dances around the ring with our fighters, and it still manages to be engaging despite not having any noticeable edits in it. Edits help keep the pace up in a fight sequence, but all we have here is a very well choreographed scene with two actors who can sell the hell out of beating each other up. The final fight scene, while more traditionally edited than its earlier counterpart, is still very enjoyable, even if it has a weird edit where rounds are cut down to ten second montages.

The sound design in the fights is what sells it though. We hear every punch and every block, with some of the more heavy blows making me wince at the sound of it. It’s a film where you feel as if you are in the middle of the fight, almost to the point where you are about to start shouting along with the crowd. It’s hard not to get a contact high from it. It got to the point where I thought that the guys on screen facing Jordan weren’t actors but full-blown boxers they just got for the film (and then I went and looked it up for the review and found that is opponents were actually boxers).

I’d already addressed the main problem I had, that of the chemistry between Thompson and Jordan, but I’ll broaden it out a bit more. While they have some good scenes together, including a “first date which isn’t an actual date”, their blossoming relationship isn’t really expanded upon to any great length, which is a shame. It would have been nice to see these two together in more scenes and break away from the usual classical Hollywood tropes of romance subplots.

In summary, Creed is a breath of fresh air in a series that should have been dead a long time ago. To paraphrase what the old man said, “It’s not about how many films you make, it’s about how many you can make and still make them fun.”

Score: 8/10 Good, solid entertainment.