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Small Details You Missed In Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga

An entire film parodying the esteemed Eurovision Song Contest almost sounds like a redundant proposition. The actual performance-variety show-singing competition already pretty much exists on the edge of self-parody. It's an annual international event on the scale of the Olympics that pits semi-professional performing groups from constituent European member-states against each other in a spectacular, frequently sequined battle royale. Does any event like that really need the addition of Will Ferrell to achieve new heights of absurdity?

Yes. Apparently, yes.

Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams' outstanding Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is finally available to stream on Netflix after missing its planned May 2020 release date. Per the original plan, the melodious comedy flick was supposed to debut in parallel with the actual Eurovision Song Contest. The pandemic put a pin in those plans, and the release date for The Story of Fire Saga slipped back to June 26. We should all mourn the loss of the comparison videos that surely would have resulted from this exceptional act of coincident scheduling had Netflix been able to realize its grand ambitions.

Even without the advertising assist from Eurovision, the film took Netflix's weekly top ten rankings by storm as soon as it dropped. If you're one of the many subscribers who took the plunge and followed Ferrell and McAdams on this Icelandic musical odyssey, here are some fascinating details from the film that you might have missed.

Dan Stevens' Eurovision song is a not-so-subtle reference to his role in Beauty and the Beast

One of the purest pleasures of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is Dan Stevens' performance as the flamboyant Russian baritone, Alexander Lemtov. Ferrell and McAdams both shine as Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdottir, but Stevens literally commands the stage (like, with a bullwhip), stealing just about every scene he enters.

In true Eurovision fashion, we get the chance to see Stevens' Lemtov perform his hit track, "Lion of Love," on two occasions: once during sound check, and again in the finals. Aside from suggestive choreography and a hilarious extended animal metaphor, the catchy song also contains a nod to one Stevens' past musical roles. Disney fans will no doubt remember that Stevens played the Beast in the 2017 live-action adaptation of the classic animated feature Beauty and the Beast.

What is the Beast if not a true Lion of Love? It bears mentioning that Lemtov's frosted coif bears more than a passing resemblance to the Beast's surly mane. Once you see it, you can't unsee it. Sorry, not sorry.

The Story of Fire Saga soundtrack pulls in tracks from actual Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Rós

No, "Jaja Ding Dong" isn't one of them.

The Story of Fire Saga is filled to bursting with fictional Icelandic music, but the soundtrack also makes use of some actual Icelandic tunes — three songs, specifically, by the popular post-rock outfit Sigur Rós. Unpronounceable yet genre-defining anthem "Svefn-G-Englar," "Hoppipolla" — which loosely translates to "hopping through puddles" — and "Untitled No. 3" from the album Untitled all play in the background of some of the film's most pivotal scenes (via O).

Sigur Rós are famous for their droning melodies and overlong instrumental tracks, making their emotional songs a perfect fit for most movie soundtracks. Their sound is nothing if not distinct; you always know a Sigur Rós song the moment you hear it. The band has been around since the '90s, when they were just an artsy curio shared on burned CDs between indie rock kids in the know. By the end of the decade, however, their popularity exploded, and their tracks started popping up everywhere from Wes Anderson movies to video game commercials.

A little Sigur Rós is always appreciated, but the band's triplicate inclusion does beg the question: How come no Björk? Her omission feels like an intentional slight.

Fire Saga's hamster wheel references an actual Eurovision performance

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga drops allusions to outrageous incidents from the actual singing competition at a rate of about one per scene, but by far the most important is the runaway hamster wheel from Lars and Sigrit's disastrous performance in the competition semi-finals. In the film, Lars descends in a giant hamster wheel to join his (much more talented) partner in the performance of their Eurovision song, "Double Trouble." At first, the Icelandic duo gets the crowd on their side as they outperform their expectations, but everything goes awry when Sigrit trips over her elaborate costume, loosening a section of her white scarf that gets stuck in Lars' hamster wheel. The tangled scarf yanks the wheel off its track, bringing the performance to a screeching halt as Lars and Sigrit both tumble off the stage. 

This moment of physical comedy may seem too outrageous to have any real-life inspiration, but nothing is really too outrageous for the Eurovision Song Contest. According to The New York Times, in 2014, Ukrainian singer Mariya Yaremchuk performed her Eurovision song, entitled "Tick-Tock," as a man ran on a giant hamster wheel behind her. Their hamster performance went a lot more smoothly than Fire Saga's; apparently, the strange choreography choice helped propel the 2014 Ukrainian team to sixth place.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is currently streaming on Netflix. We dare you not to sing along.