Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Familiar, yet incomplete
Worldwide quarantine is a blessing to many people. The inability to afford monumental works of genius in-person loses its resistive stranglehold—streaming the totality of human artistic expression brings the world home to us. Many offerings that would be lost in the cacophony of modern-day life now stand a chance as the answer to, "What do you wanna watch next?"
Studios reap the benefits of our current situation. "Pump and dump" films stand to gain significant revenue from a quick sale to Netflix. Streaming providers care little about critical reception—they want options that will keep you subscribing to their service.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is one of those options. Sitting at a aggregate Rotten Tomatoes rating of 65%, the film is something to watch—but ultimately forget.
"Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga contains inspired ingredients and laugh-out-loud moments, but they're outnumbered by the flat stretches in this overlong comedy."
Those "flat stretches" are a result of two competing incomplete Storyforms. With little to argue and lots of time to do it, the film drags to its culturally foregone conclusion.
David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter agrees:
"If ever a comedy cried out for tight 85-minute treatment that keeps the gags pinging fast enough to disguise the thin sketch material at its core, it's this hit-or-miss two-hour feature."
David just lacks the vocabulary of the Dramatica theory of story to explain why.
Eurovision is both a father/son narrative (you embarrass me, you make me proud) and a contest/romance narrative (the typical Pitch Perfect story). While the father/son storyform appears as the "sub" story (because of its insufficient exploration of OS and RS Throughlines), the "main" story fails to adequately explore its subjective Throughlines (notably the RS and IC in both Signposts 2 and 3).
The result is the sense that the film was a "great idea" that lagged in the middle. Defining a Storyform is one thing, accurately illustrating every Beat of that Storyform is another.
Ask anyone what happened after the ship blew up, and they would be hard-pressed to answer in detail ("The Elves were funny!"). Ask another group of people to define Lemtov and Mahut (the Russian and Greek contestant "couple"), and the answer will come back confused or silent? At first, they seemed co-conspirators…then they weren't…
There is adequate thematic material to get the sense of a Storyform, but not enough to make it memorable. That the Storyform in question is the definitive Western culture K-based narrative (Steadfast/Obtaining/Avoidance) only makes it less appealing to critics and Audiences.
How many saw the trailer and felt like they had seen the movie a thousand times?
That sense of familiarity and inability to communicate what has otherwise appeared a thousand times before explains why Eurovision received a low rating.
Audiences are captive worldwide—we're just waiting for a great story.