Thursday, July 19, 2018

31 Days: Film Review: Mama Mia - Here We Go Again

I'd been invited along to an advanced screening of Mama Mia - Here We Go Again. On telling Jonella, I was going to see this, she was very surprised. I'm known for hating musicals. And in some cases, I do. I normally can't abide musicals if they have been created by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I also really dislike Les Miserables. The only good bit is when Javert jumps off the bridge. (It was even better when Javert was played by Russell Crowe)

Any musical with a bit of soul or edge, I don't mind. Chicago. Rock of Ages. Rocky Horror Show. I can do musicals like this. I also loved Ladies in Black (Tim Finn did the music). Matilda is another favourite - funny, iconoclastic, edgy. I really enjoyed The Book of Mormon too.

Then we come to Mama Mia.

I haven't seen the stage show. I did see the original film ten years ago and really enjoyed it.

I hate to say it, but I really enjoyed the reboot too.

The story takes up a few years after the last film. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) has taken on her now dead mother's dream. She is still in contact with her three fathers, Bill (Stellan Skarsgard), Harry (Colin Firth) and Sam (Pierce Brosnan). This film looks at the back story as to how Donna, Sophie's mum, originally played by Meryl Streep and now taken on by the eponymous Lily James, while Sophie prepares for the opening of her mother's dream hotel.

The film returns to the same island in Greece, but also goes to England and Paris, as the wayward free spirited Donna looks for her destiny.

Mama Mia - Here We Go Again is not as fairy floss light as you think. Among the ABBA songs is a loving heart, which looks at grief, loss and searching for your destiny. We find out that Donna's best friend, Rosie (Julie Walters) had a thing for Bill. We learn that Sam still hasn't got over Donna's death. And we see a bit more of Donna, a spirited woman who goes after life with the ferocity of a lion hunting its prey.

Like the previous film, this has a joy about it which is infectious. There are some laugh out loud funny parts. For anybody of my age, who possibly reluctantly loses all street cred when they say that ABBA Arrival was the first album they owned, you will know all of the songs intimately. I am one of these people.The challenge is to not sing too loud.

What I forgot is that I knew all of the songs - even the obscure ones that came out in this film. And they are delivered with all the joy and fun of the first film. Some of the singing is just as dodgy (read Colin Firth and Pierce Bronsnan as the tone deaf duo here - but you have to love them for it)

What this film lacks in substance it makes up for in heart.

Another thing I loved about the film - the women in the film have women's bodies - not a stick insect in sight. I found this refreshing.

It also has cameos from Cher, Meryl Streep and Bjorn and Benny from the original band - cameos which were met with shouts of glee.

Me, I loved it. But ABBA is one of my guilty pleasures and I don't care if this ruins my street cred. ( I lost any semblance of this years ago, who am I kidding?)

Mama Mia - Here We Go Again has a lovely heart, a great look and some very touching moments. It's great fun. It's pretty to look at. What more do you need.

Four stars.

p.s. One of the songs that comes up in the film is Chiquitita - one of my favourites. I still think the best use of this song is found in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.

Today's Song provides the original:

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