Friday, March 18, 2016
Flying High With Eddie The Eagle: Part 2
Should I feel let down because the movie "Eddie The Eagle" doesn't depict the life and exploits of Olympic ski jumper Michael Edwards accurately? I know I enjoyed the movie the way it was written and filmed. Actor Taron Egerton's portrayal of Eddie inspired me, and I liked how actor Hugh Jackman played his fictional coach Bronson. There were also some short but enjoyable performances from big name actors. These included Christopher Walken, who played Bronson's former coach, and Jim Broadbent, a TV commentator at the Olympics who gives Edwards his nickname. The movie even offered a short role for Tim McInnery, who played Lord Percy and Captain Darling in the 1980s British TV series "The Black Adder."
"Eddie The Eagle" did what good fiction always does. The movie gave me a protagonist I could care about, and a mentor in Bronson who helped the protagonist gain skills and mastery over his innate talent. It offered a few sidekicks, including his mother who helps fund his efforts, and Petra, the woman who gives Eddie room and board in Germany in return for working in her bar. It also offered an antagonist in the form of Dustin Target, played by Tim McInnery, the British official who routinely tries to block Eddie's Olympic dreams.
All in all, I found "Eddie The Eagle" a really enjoyable film. I cannot fault the filmmakers for the story they told. Had it been entirely fictional, not one "based on a true story," I would be entirely happy with it. Having learned a little of Michael's real life story, I can't help but feel as though they could have told a great story, had they found a way to incorporate the real people and events into the story. But then, that would have been a different story, and would likely have cost more money to film.
The fact of the matter is that every story is a compromise. Publishers and movie studios invest in stories they believe they can sell. The way "Eddie The Eagle" was written attracted name actors, and a sufficient budget, to allow the filmmakers to get some of Eddie the Eagle's story in the cinemas. Even if it was only five percent, as real life Michael Edwards claims, it was a really good five percent.
Besides, it's pointless to compare a story that was completed with your ideas for what an improved version might be.