Thursday, December 27, 2018

Review: Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! (on DVD)

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
[DVD Mamma]

This 2018 sequel to 2008’s original film Mamma Mia, which itself was adapted from the “jukebox” stage musical which opened in 1999. This film reunites the entire cast from the first film, in a story that picks up years after the original. But, this film also features the added bonus of having huge flashback sequences to twenty years before the events of the first film as well. A cast of younger actors plays the memorable roles: Lily James (young Donna to Meryl Streep’s older Donna), Alexa Davies (young Rosie to Julie Walters’ older Rosie), Jessica Keenan Wynn (young Tanya to Christine Baranski’s older Tanya), Hugh Skinner (young Harry to Colin Firth’s older Harry), Josh Dylan (young Bill to Stellan Skarsgard’s older Bill) and Jeremy Irvine (young Sam to Pierce Brosnan’s older Sam). Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper reprise their roles as Sophie, Donna’s daughter, and her partner Sky. And throw in new characters played by Andy Garcia and Cher, as Sophie’s grandmother Ruby.

The plot in a nutshell is that Donna (Meryl Streep) has passed, and her daughter Sophie has completely updated the little Greek island taverna her mother ran, into a modern retreat, and she’s planning a spectacular grand re-opening. But she’s also discovered she’s pregnant, and is having relationship issues with Sky, who’s gone to the big city to pursue his career. Sophie invites all her “three fathers” back to the island for the special event, and scenes inter-cut between the older versions of the characters reuniting, and the young versions of the three women just out of school and on the adventure that brought them to the Greek Isles — particularly the three flings the young Donna had with Bill, Harry and Sam, which lead to Sophie’s existence.

The younger actors were perfectly cast in their roles, and all sing incredibly well. The use of ABBA songs is terrific, and provides a great deal of energy and fun in all the singing sequences. The choreography in various dance sections is all uniformly excellent as well. People complained with the first film that Pierce Brosnan couldn’t sing, but he pulls off a marvelous solo in this film. Cher’s short appearance as Sophie’s grandmother (Meryl Streep’s mother!), is a little overblown, but allows for her to sing “Fernando”, which is a great moment in the film. There’s actually a lot of emotional resonance in this film, if you’ve grown to care about the characters, and a cathartic moment near the end of the film, to the song “My Love, My Life”, that is especially memorable. And, of course, the entire cast — both generations — gets to dance to “Super Trouper” in spangly outfits at the end of the film — a goofy highlight.

Personally, I loved this film. Your mileage may vary, depending on how much you like the music of ABBA and have a willingness to let characters break out into song-and-dance numbers at the drop of a hat.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the original first Mamma Mia film.] [Also available and worth recommending is the soundtrack album, featuring all the ABBA tracks as sung by the actors in the film.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Mamma Mia movies web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you watched this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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