Eddie the Eagle review

Funny, endearing, and ultimately cheer-worthy, Eddie the Eagle hits all of the expected beats for a film of its ilk

When the first trailer for Eddie the Eagle debuted back in December, the lighthearted biopic of British ski-jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards immediately drew comparisons to Cool Runnings, Disney’s 1993 film about Jamaica’s first Olympic bobsled team.

Both films were set against the backdrop of Winter Olympics — the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, to be exact — and both films followed underdog athletes competing not just against other athletes, but the system itself.

On the surface, the comparison seemed apt, given the limited amount of footage the trailer provided — and it remains so, even after seeing Eddie the Eagle soar into theaters.

Directed by British actor-turned-filmmaker Dexter Fletcher, who helmed the critically praised 2013 musical Sunshine on LeithEddie the Eagle casts Kingsman: The Secret Service star Taron Egerton as the first ski jumper to represent Great Britain in the Olympics. Gifted with more stubborn persistence than athletic ability, the bespectacled, awkward Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards is smitten from a young age with the idea of becoming an Olympic athlete, much to the frustration of his working-class parents.

After suffering one setback after another in his dream to become an Olympic downhill skier, Edwards comes to the conclusion that his best path to the Olympic Games runs through — or rather, down — a ski jump, as Great Britain has never fielded an Olympic ski jumper, and every country is able to send one athlete to compete in each event. Now, with his heart set on being his country’s first Olympic ski jumper, Edwards embarks on a mission to qualify for the 1988 Olympics that has him crossing paths with a washed-up American ski-jumping champion played by Hugh Jackman, a British committee that wants no part of Edwards representing his country, and the painful results of defying gravity.

Eddie the Eagle is probably best described as exactly the sort of film its trailers tease — which isn’t always a given in the modern era of movie previews.

Fletcher certainly plays with the PG-13 rating at various points … this isn’t a Disney movie.

Funny, endearing, and ultimately cheer-worthy, Eddie the Eagle hits all of the expected beats for a film of its ilk and pulls all the anticipated heart-strings in its story of one of the Olympic Games’ most unlikely heroes. Anyone familiar with Edwards’ real-life story knows that “The Eagle” received more attention for his spectacular failures on the ski slope than his achievements, and the film does an excellent job of capturing not just his questionable aptitude as a ski jumper, but his indomitable will to overcome his shortcomings through sheer, practice-makes-perfect perseverance.

In portraying Edwards, Egerton does a fine job of inhabiting his flailing, awkward alter ego. It’s a surprisingly good transformation, given that his last prominent role had him playing a suave British super spy who saved the world without breaking a sweat. Anyone unfamiliar with the real-life Edwards might suspect that Egerton is over-playing the role, but the abundance of available real-world footage featuring “The Eagle” proves just how well Egerton captured Edwards’ assorted quirks and mannerisms.

For his part, Jackman performs admirably as the typical, Icarus-like former star who let his ego get the best of him and fell from grace, only to earn redemption through mentoring an athlete with the odds against him. The role is a common ingredient in just about every underdog movie, but Jackman seems to enjoy it enough to make it his own. Still, circling back on the Cool Runnings comparison, Jackman’s take on the character isn’t nearly as entertaining as John Candy’s take on what was essentially the same character in Disney’s bobsledding comedy.


Given the comparison that’s being made, though, it’s worth noting that Eddie the Eagle isn’t what some might consider an all-ages film. There’s a bit of a rougher edge around this ski-jumping story than the Disney-fied tale of Jamaican bobsledders, and Fletcher certainly plays with the PG-13 rating at various points. One scene in particular features Jackman loudly simulating sex acts while teaching Egerton’s character the proper build-up of momentum heading into a jump, and it serves as a helpful reminder that this isn’t a Disney movie.

What Eddie the Eagle does share with Cool Runnings and so many other compelling underdog stories, though, is a compelling evolution for its main characters — both the athletes and their mentors — that makes both their journeys and the one the audience takes with them feel worthwhile. As with similar films, you can see the end of Eddie the Eagle coming from far away, but that doesn’t make you any less inclined to take the jump with its hero.


I tried an LTE laptop for a month, and I wasn’t really convinced

LTE laptops offer up plenty of benefits and are becoming more common. After spending one month with one in my daily life in New York City, I really wondered if it is something that consumers really need in their lives.

Want to make one hard drive act like two? Here's how to partition in Windows

If you don't want all of your files stored in one place but only have one drive to work with, partitioning is your best way forward. Here's how to partition a hard drive in Windows 10, step by step.

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

Sit down and watch some of the best stand-up comedy on Netflix

Feeling a little funny? There are hundreds of hilarious comedy specials out there, and you can't be expected to comb through them all. Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of the best stand-up specials on Netflix.
Movies & TV

Lose the torrents. Here's how to watch 'Game of Thrones' online (legally)

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on TV, but unless you're a cable subscriber, finding a way to watch isn't always easy. Check out our guide on how to watch online, whether you prefer using HBO, Hulu, or Amazon.
Movies & TV

Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’ sequel conjures up a director and a release date

Doctor Strange director and co-writer Scott Derrickson will return to helm the Sorcerer Supreme's next big-screen adventure. Filming will begin in 2020, after Strange's mysterious Avengers: Endgame fate is resolved.
Home Theater

Kill your cable and switch to streaming with our painless guide

If you're going to quit cable or satellite for a streaming TV solution, you're going to want to get it right the first time. We've outlined exactly how to get started, step by step. Follow our lead, and you'll never look back.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what’s leaving in January 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for January 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Movies & TV

Our first look at 'The Punisher' season 2 hints at January 2019 premiere

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero, Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Movies & TV

Pedro Pascal officially cast as 'The Mandalorian' as Disney show fills out cast

The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series planned for Disney's streaming video service, will be one of the most expensive television shows ever made. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Movies & TV

A ‘Venom’ sequel is on its way, and Spider-Man could play a role

'Venom' screenwriter Jeff Pinker confirms that a follow-up to Sony's Spider-Man spin-off is in the works. Could a certain friendly neighborhood webslinger join the action? Pinker says that it's "not impossible."
Home Theater

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ season 2 gets a new, Spock-heavy trailer

CBS has released a new trailer for Star Trek: Discovery season 2, which premieres January 17 on CBS All Access. The new trailer features series newcomers Spock and Christopher Pike prominently.