Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman and Christopher Walken
Directed by: Dexter Fletcher
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hr 45 mins
20th Century Fox
Our Score: 3.5 out of 5
If anyone ever took the slogan “Follow Your Dreams” to heart, it was England’s Eddie Edwards. Even though he grew up with braces on his legs, the young man knew, even as a boy, that he was destined for the Olympics. Too bad nobody let destiny in on the secret.
An enjoyable film, more in the tradition of “Cool Runnings” than “Remember the Titans,” “Eddie the Eagle” follows young Eddie (Egerton) as he tries, repeatedly, to find a sport he can represent his home country of England in the Olympics. His mother (Jo Hartley) does her best to encourage him, even giving him a biscuit tin to “hold all of your medals.” Unfortunately the only thing Eddie is able to collect is a growing number of broken eye glasses. Finally, he discovers ski-walking and is soon excelling in it. However, his odd personality and life class are used to keep him off of England’s Olympic Team. Heartbroken, he stumbles upon a sport where England hasn’t competed in almost 50 years – ski-jumping. If he can handle the landings he just may have his wish granted.
Hollywood loves promoting the stories of the underdog. Ironically, the Jamaican Bobsled Team that was the basis of the film “Cool Runnings” also competed, alongside Edwards, in the 1988 Olympics. Even though the outcome of these films is already known, a good movie will hold your attention. This one does almost in spite of itself. Egerton is fine as Edwards, and he bears a strong resemblance to the awkward young athlete. Supporting Egerton is Hugh Jackman, who plays a former ski-jumper named Bronson Peary now working at the international training facility in Germany. Jackman has always had a way of lighting up a screen when he shows up and he doesn’t disappoint here. What takes you out of the story is how, with the exception of the Finnish team, nobody else apparently needs to train for the games. Eddie pretty much just walks into the facility and begins throwing himself off of 40 meter jumps – nobody stops him. Because nobody is there. Just Eddie, Bronson, the chick who owns the bar and the Finnish team.
That being said, the production values are pretty good, especially the point-of-view shots coming down the ski jumps. “Eddie the Eagle” doesn’t soar as high as it could have, but at least it doesn’t crash.