Eddie the Eagle (2016)

Eddie the Eagle US posterReleased: February 26, 2016. Directed by: Dexter Fletcher. Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley. Runtime: 1hr 46 min.

Inspired by the life story of Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, the only slightly fact-based Eddie the Eagle is a touching story about chasing a dream.

What makes this so inspiring is that Eddie was never the most natural athlete. He’s shown with a brace on his knee from a young age, but he would have these passions for different sports where he just wanted to go to the Olympics.

This seemed to be after he read a book, Moments of Glory, about notable moments at the Olympic Games – and he wanted one of those moments for his own.

After Eddie, portrayed by Taron Egerton, isn’t able to go along with the alpine skiing team because he just isn’t “Olympic material,” he has to forge his own way to the 1988 Winter Olympic Games by becoming his own ski jumping team.

We see Eddie’s journey there alongside his very hesitant coach, Bronson Peary, portrayed by Hugh Jackman.

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Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman in Eddie the Eagle. (Source

The characters at hand are definitely the beating heart of the feature – where in a sports movie like this, if the main character isn’t great – nothing about it works. It’s not the case with Eddie Edwards, as he’s really just an inspiration.

He’s just the poster boy for trying the best someone can do and just never underestimating themselves. He’s also truly a role model for any kid on the playground who was always picked last. He’s just inspiring for those who aren’t natural athletes – and basically, everyone.

The reel counterpart of Edwards is Taron Egerton who was great in Kingsman: The Secret Service. He’s excellent here, too, even if he’s much less cooler than a spy. The way he looks adversity in the face and bounces back as Eddie is marvelous.

He truly sells the optimism and tenacity of the character. Also notable is Hugh Jackman as the drunken coach. He, as well as Egerton, brought a ton of humour to the film and their banter was delightful.

The characters surrounding Eddie very much get the Hollywood treatment. There’s an unprecedented amount of cruelty from even those close to Eddie – where his sweet mother (Jo Hartley) seems to be the only person to believe in him throughout the film.

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Taron Egerton as Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards in Eddie the Eagle. (Source)

The British Olympic Association were depicted as especially cruel – where they tried their hardest to not allow him to compete in the Games. They seemed afraid because he’s not exactly the face that sponsors might want to invest in. The Committee think he doesn’t have any of the qualities of an Olympian – even though he sure as Hell has more heart.

The cruelty from basically everyone just feels a bit over-the-top in its lack of realism, but it just seems tailored to make us angry that they’re undermining him and make the audience root harder for Eddie.

It’s manipulative in a way – but it works. The cruelty probably did get so Hollywood because only about 10 to 15 per cent of this is factual, suggested Edwards himself in an interview with BBC.

The film still tells a rousing tale all the same, and it appears to keep the absolute heart of the man and his spirit and love for the sport intact. It only adheres to sports movie formulas on the road to the Olympics – and going against it since Eddie wants to participate and isn’t a natural athlete.

He’s like the Rudy Ruettiger of ski jumping – he just wants to show how much heart he has and have his moment to shine. It’s a feel-good, lighthearted underdog story and I found myself smiling throughout.

Score: 75/100

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Release Date: December 9, 2005

Director: Andrew Adamson

Stars: Tilda Swinton, Georgie Henley, William Moseley

Runtime: 143 min

Tagline: The beloved masterpiece comes to life December 9.

It’s a pretty great fantasy children’s and family film.

I wasn’t aware that this was actually based upon a literary masterpiece until I saw the film, but I never read the book so I’m not sure how great of an adaptation this is, but I’d think it would be because this is a pretty sweet flick that children will enjoy and some older people.

The Pevensie children are relocated out into the England country to stay at a professor’s mansion to protect them from the dangers of World War II. They are very unaware of the adventure they are about to encounter. When young Lucy finds a wardrobe, she enters it (and later all of the siblings) and finds a magical kingdom called Narnia. Narnia has been plunged into winter for years, as the citizens feel threatened by the White Witch (played by Tilda Swinton) They learn of their destiny with the help of Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) a lion who is the rightful ruler of Narnia. They must restore peace to the kingdom of Narnia, and eventually enter a war between Aslan’s army and the White Witch’s army.

Some of it’s moderately boring, and it’s a little lengthy for a film that isn’t completely incredible, but still is good. It’s really a great fantasy film for children, though. I liked it for the most part, as it had some pretty good action sequences, the occasional fantastic moment, and the big war was pretty great (not Braveheart or 300 great, but as good as war scenes can be in a PG film).

It isn’t in the same great franchise ranks as Harry Potter, but it’s enjoyable for a watch (or two, but not necessarily ‘desert island’ movie status) and can be generally memorable. This is really the only film in the Narnia franchise I cared for on a moderately high level. Liam Neeson lending his majestic Irish voice to the character of Aslan was the film’s real masterwork.

The film stars Tilda Swinton, Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Liam Neeson (voice of Aslan), James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Skandar Keynes and Anna Popplewell.

I just think there could have been more action, and just a little less lengthy. I loved it much more on initial viewing, but it still is enjoyable after seeing at my age (of seventeen) after all of these years.

Many adults may enjoy it too, and if you have a kid with a running imagination, it might make a wholesome flick for a family movie night that surpasses two hours. And, this film might be a good tool for babysitters, it should keep the attention of the kids for a near two-and-a-half hour experience.

75/100