Every cinematic trope is pulled out of the hat, but it works!
You name me one, one British ski-jumper!
Me. Eddie Edwards. I'm gonna be the squad.You know what they say, never let the truth get in the way of a feel good story. To a certain generation Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards is very well known. The plucky, tenacious Brit who defied the odds to compete as the only British ski jumping athlete in the Olympic squad competing in Calgary back in 1988. The fact that he came last in every event did not matter; his spirit seemed to enthuse not only his home nation, but the entire Olympic crowd worldwide and on the back of it he became something of a celebrity, a status he still enjoys to this day. Due to the fact he was the very definition of an underdog, his life story would certainly make for an entertaining film, something that Matthew Vaughn (as producer) and Dexter Fletcher (as director) felt was long overdue to be told in Eddie the Eagle.However, Eddie’s real struggle was not quite so entertaining, so, as with many biopic films, a certain amount of dramatic licence has been used; scenes, story lines and whole characters have been invented to tell the story with one goal in mind – a true ‘feel good’ movie; the kind that is simply no longer made. And with that one aim and the perfect casting of Taron Egerton (as Eddie) and Hugh Jackman (as the invented coach Bronson Peary) whose natural chemistry (the ‘buddy’ section of the film) shines through the screen, has created a sensation that captures the spirit of Eddie’s motivation which was responsible for his winning the hearts of the world. Of course, every cinematic trope is pulled out of the hat to achieve the ‘feel good’ nature of the film; but you know what? It works!
Picture QualityThe disc is presented in a widescreen 2.35:1 1080p transfer using the AVC codec and is Region locked to B.
Shot digitally this wonderfully crisp image is enhanced by good detail and bright colouring. Skin texture, clothing weaves (or clean lycra lines!) are very apparent in close up, while tree lines, ski-jump slopes and terrains have equally tight edges in establishing landscapes. Snow has a keen edge, enough to give a small shiver, while set dressing is just as fine.
A clean, bright image.
Colouring is well realised with all primaries having a good sense vibrancy; the reds (or pinks) of the ski suits are sharp contrasting against the blues of the skies, while the greens of the tree tops are suitably lush. The digital grading works well, with typically warm hues inside, or in London, while cooler tones predominate throughout the snow.
Brightness and contrast are set to give a tremendous black level that adds significantly to the depth of the image. There are not many instances of dark scenes, thus the opportunity for shadow detail is limited. Digitally there are no compression issues or any edge enhancement and given the pristine nature of the digital source there are no faults whatsoever.
Sound QualitySimon Crust reviewed the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on a 5.1-channel setup – A very natural sounding track is given a bolster from the surrounds to create a wide and immersive surround field that mirrors being on the slopes, or by the bus stop in Cheltenham. The surrounds are predominantly used to fill out this ambience giving the natural effects room to breathe. Dialogue is clear, precise and dominated by the frontal array and is well layered into the mix. Bass is level and low while never pushing the limits of the sub, indeed LF effects are rather scarce, but then this is a biography. The score makes the best use of the surround environment with all speakers filling the room placing you in the centre of the stage.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack really puts you up on that jump and adds bass to all those crashes
Steve Withers reviewed the Dolby Atmos soundtrack on a 7.2.4-channel setup – A film like Eddie the Eagle is never going to have that many opportunities to shine in terms of its sound design but the Dolby Atmos soundtrack still proves a worthy upgrade. Naturally the dialogue is front and centre and remains clear and focused, whilst the music is mixed in very effectively, especially during the numerous training montages. However it's during the ski jumping sequences that the sound designers get to use Dolby Atmos to its full extent. The subtle sounds of wind really help to sell just how high the jumps are and, as it rushes past you, the adrenaline begins to flow before the inevitable thump when the LFE channel kicks in to add bass to yet another of Eddie's numerous crashes. The sounds of the crowds at the various ski jumping competitions are also nicely layered, adding a greater sense of immersion and reality with a more three-dimensional sound field. Eddie the Eagle isn't the best Dolby Atmos soundtrack we've heard to date but it's another good example of how an immersive audio mix can add to your enjoyment.
ExtrasLet the Games Begin: Soaring with Eddie The Eagle – Is a three-part making of feature that can be watched individually or all together with the play all function for a run time of 45 minutes. Plenty of interviews with all the usual suspects and comments on the whole film making process; contains much behind the scenes material as well as film clips. Titles of the individual chapters are: All or Nothing: The Heroes Heart, An Unlikely Friendship: Eddie and Perry and Attitude is Altitude: Filming the Ski Jumps. (Loved the information about the anachronisms regarding the ski equipment; it was illegal (and impossible) for the production team to find period kit for the film as it was deemed too dangerous!)
Deleted Scenes – Four in total that can be watched individually or all together with the ‘play all’ for a runtime of about 4 minutes.
Blu-ray VerdictEddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards won the hearts of the crowd, a nation and even the world when he defied the odds to compete in the Winter Olympics in 1988. The very definition of an underdog, this Matthew Vaughn produced and Dexter Fletcher directed biography of his life takes huge liberties with the truth but that really doesn’t matter as the film was made to be, and succeeds in being a ‘feel good’ triumph about beating the odds and realising your dreams against all expectations.
A ‘feel good’ triumphThis Lionsgate Blu-ray package is a pretty good set; the picture is clear, bright and colourful with great detail and smashing blacks, while the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is dynamic and wide, with plenty of bass to accompany the (many) crashes. The extras include an extensive making of documentary with plenty of behind the scene filming and information. Overall the film and its accompanying Blu-ray are a feel goof triumph.
You can buy Eddie the Eagle on Blu-ray here
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