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Will Ferrell’s Eurovision version of Iceland

How do we feel about it?

July 7, 2020

Will Ferrell’s Eurovision version of Iceland

How do we feel about it?

July 7, 2020

By now, you‘ve probably heard about the new Netflix Will Ferrell movie, Eurovision Song Contest: The story of Fire Saga.
A lot of people saw this movie, stuck at home in the midst of a drawn-out pandemic. For Europe, it was a welcome treat in a year that saw the actual Eurovision Song Contest cancelled in its traditional form due to COVID-19, and although the thought of an American doing Eurovision justice seemed like a stretch, Will Ferrell’s timing was nothing short of miraculous.

If you haven’t watched it, the film is about two likeable simpletons from a small town in Iceland who get chosen to compete in Eurovision on behalf of their country and, well, Eurovision ensues.
Eurovision in itself is a quirky and colourful phenomenon that mostly just writes its own jokes.
So, doing a whole comedy about it isn’t such a bad idea. And Eurovision has a sense of humour about its own kitschy pop culture. But what about Iceland?

A little background on the Icelandic Eurovision psyche

Icelanders have grown somewhat accustomed to being hailed as progressive and artsy, compared in character and creativity to the country’s awesome nature and otherworldly landscapes. The stereotypical Icelander we often see depicted is righteous and just, stoical and down to earth, yet full of comradery and love for his fellow human beings. Think stylishly bohemian nature loving lawyer.
While there might be some truth to this depiction, we do have some pretty embarrassing character defects you might not know about. We Icelanders are kind of self-centered and full of ourselves. This isn’t really our fault. We are a teeny tiny nation of islanders, isolated for centuries in the middle of the North Atlantic and we happen to live in the most beautiful place in the world (yes, we stand by that statement). We thrive on any sort of attention we receive from the outside world and in part because we need it. There are only 364,000 of us and we sort of need that outside eye to keep us in check. Oh, and most of us are actually Eurovision megalomaniacs. Every single year, Icelanders are more or less convinced that it’s now our turn to win Eurovision. And so, when Will Ferrell decides to do a movie about Iceland competing in Eurovision and has Pierce Brosnan dressed as an Icelandic fisherman, slaughtering our ancient language on screen, you best believe we will show up for the ride.

Iceland’s reaction to Fire Saga

The film was released on Netflix on June 26, 2020. By June 28, socializing with other Icelanders had become very awkward if you hadn’t seen the movie. Suddenly, everyone was humming lyrics to songs you’d never heard about and shouting “Play Ja Ja Ding Dong!” out of the blue. In short, everyone had seen the film. And for the most part, they loved it. It’s the things it gets right that seem to be the biggest hits. The fact that Iceland does in fact worry that we might actually win Eurovision, have to host it and go bankrupt as a result was spot on. That vulgar dude in the small-town pub who keeps shouting “Play Ja Ja Ding Dong!” and that annoyingly catchy song. The subtext of commonly known questionable paternity in a small town in Iceland is undeniable a thing. Even Will Ferrell’s and Rachel McAdams’ Euro-hippie appearance with the woollen sweaters and raggedy hair rings true. Their arguments about the existence of elves is a little embarrassing, maybe because we might kind of believe in them but we’d rather not talk about it. And the things the movie got wrong, like the way hidden people work (we’d rather not talk about it), Pierce Brosnan’s awful accent and something about a speorg note(?), were still familiar enough to keep us interested. While most of Iceland in this film is an absolute mockery, you have to know people to some extent to poke fun at them and most of us were quite flattered, to be known.

Is Husavik a real place?

Yes, very much so. Husavik is actually a rather large town by Icelandic standards and the film gets a lot of it right. That church Will Ferrell climbs to ring the bells is the town’s centrepiece, Húsavík sits by the very picturesque Skjálfandi bay and it is known for its thriving whale watching tourism. It even has its very own Eurovision representative (Birgitta Haukdal in 2003).

Will Ferrell’s version of Eurovision

Perhaps one of the more surprising aspects of this film is that it isn’t so much of a parody as a homage to the wonderful event that is Eurovision. The film’s version of Eurovision is a gathering of diversity in all its glory, much like real-life Eurovision. The original songs in the film sound completely authentically Eurovision and some of them are really, really good. The trailer with the duo’s song “Volcano Man” absolutely nailed the over-the-top costumes and theatrics of a classic Eurovision song and the power ballad “Husavik” had most of us teary-eyed, although we’d never admit it.

Oh, and just to be clear, Iceland would have definitely won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest had it not been cancelled. And thank God it was, we’d never be able to host it!

RE05-Reykjavik Panorama

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Will Ferrell’s Eurovision version of Iceland

How do we feel about it?

July 7, 2020

Will Ferrell’s Eurovision version of Iceland

How do we feel about it?

July 7, 2020

By now, you‘ve probably heard about the new Netflix Will Ferrell movie, Eurovision Song Contest: The story of Fire Saga.
A lot of people saw this movie, stuck at home in the midst of a drawn-out pandemic. For Europe, it was a welcome treat in a year that saw the actual Eurovision Song Contest cancelled in its traditional form due to COVID-19, and although the thought of an American doing Eurovision justice seemed like a stretch, Will Ferrell’s timing was nothing short of miraculous.

If you haven’t watched it, the film is about two likeable simpletons from a small town in Iceland who get chosen to compete in Eurovision on behalf of their country and, well, Eurovision ensues.
Eurovision in itself is a quirky and colourful phenomenon that mostly just writes its own jokes.
So, doing a whole comedy about it isn’t such a bad idea. And Eurovision has a sense of humour about its own kitschy pop culture. But what about Iceland?

A little background on the Icelandic Eurovision psyche

Icelanders have grown somewhat accustomed to being hailed as progressive and artsy, compared in character and creativity to the country’s awesome nature and otherworldly landscapes. The stereotypical Icelander we often see depicted is righteous and just, stoical and down to earth, yet full of comradery and love for his fellow human beings. Think stylishly bohemian nature loving lawyer.
While there might be some truth to this depiction, we do have some pretty embarrassing character defects you might not know about. We Icelanders are kind of self-centered and full of ourselves. This isn’t really our fault. We are a teeny tiny nation of islanders, isolated for centuries in the middle of the North Atlantic and we happen to live in the most beautiful place in the world (yes, we stand by that statement). We thrive on any sort of attention we receive from the outside world and in part because we need it. There are only 364,000 of us and we sort of need that outside eye to keep us in check. Oh, and most of us are actually Eurovision megalomaniacs. Every single year, Icelanders are more or less convinced that it’s now our turn to win Eurovision. And so, when Will Ferrell decides to do a movie about Iceland competing in Eurovision and has Pierce Brosnan dressed as an Icelandic fisherman, slaughtering our ancient language on screen, you best believe we will show up for the ride.

Iceland’s reaction to Fire Saga

The film was released on Netflix on June 26, 2020. By June 28, socializing with other Icelanders had become very awkward if you hadn’t seen the movie. Suddenly, everyone was humming lyrics to songs you’d never heard about and shouting “Play Ja Ja Ding Dong!” out of the blue. In short, everyone had seen the film. And for the most part, they loved it. It’s the things it gets right that seem to be the biggest hits. The fact that Iceland does in fact worry that we might actually win Eurovision, have to host it and go bankrupt as a result was spot on. That vulgar dude in the small-town pub who keeps shouting “Play Ja Ja Ding Dong!” and that annoyingly catchy song. The subtext of commonly known questionable paternity in a small town in Iceland is undeniable a thing. Even Will Ferrell’s and Rachel McAdams’ Euro-hippie appearance with the woollen sweaters and raggedy hair rings true. Their arguments about the existence of elves is a little embarrassing, maybe because we might kind of believe in them but we’d rather not talk about it. And the things the movie got wrong, like the way hidden people work (we’d rather not talk about it), Pierce Brosnan’s awful accent and something about a speorg note(?), were still familiar enough to keep us interested. While most of Iceland in this film is an absolute mockery, you have to know people to some extent to poke fun at them and most of us were quite flattered, to be known.

Is Husavik a real place?

Yes, very much so. Husavik is actually a rather large town by Icelandic standards and the film gets a lot of it right. That church Will Ferrell climbs to ring the bells is the town’s centrepiece, Húsavík sits by the very picturesque Skjálfandi bay and it is known for its thriving whale watching tourism. It even has its very own Eurovision representative (Birgitta Haukdal in 2003).

Will Ferrell’s version of Eurovision

Perhaps one of the more surprising aspects of this film is that it isn’t so much of a parody as a homage to the wonderful event that is Eurovision. The film’s version of Eurovision is a gathering of diversity in all its glory, much like real-life Eurovision. The original songs in the film sound completely authentically Eurovision and some of them are really, really good. The trailer with the duo’s song “Volcano Man” absolutely nailed the over-the-top costumes and theatrics of a classic Eurovision song and the power ballad “Husavik” had most of us teary-eyed, although we’d never admit it.

Oh, and just to be clear, Iceland would have definitely won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest had it not been cancelled. And thank God it was, we’d never be able to host it!

REYKJAVIK EXCURSIONS BLOG

Get inspired! Information and tips and must see places in Iceland, fun facts, customs and more.

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Although it may not seem like it, you have in fact landed in civilisation and airport transfer in Iceland is readily available.

Read Blog