Ten years on and with more than 15 awesome Abba songs giving breath to its plot, the new Mamma Mia! movie will surely get your fingers snapping, feet tapping, lips synching and hearts feeling all warm and tingly. British screenwriter/director Ol Parker (aka Mr Thandie Newton) takes you back to the magical Greek island of Kalokairi in a new original musical, with the whole gang from the last movie, plus some exciting new additions.
With Abba’s own Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus serving as executive producers, giving their seal of approval (I believe even adapting some song lyrics for the sake of the story), you can be assured the music is handled with tender loving care. And any Abba fan is going to love how the songs map out an entire new story, or in this case an old one. The sequel is after all pretty much a prequel as it traces the wanderlust and carefree years of the young Donna Sheridan (played marvellously by Lily James).
Sophie and Sky (Amanda Seyfriend and Dominic Cooper) return as the (not so) happy couple in paradise, as Sophie gears up for the opening of the hotel on Kalokairi her mother (Streep) had always wanted. Donna’s Dynamo sidekicks, Rosie and Tanya, as well as her trio of Romeos, Bill, Sam and Harry, feature throughout the movie both in flashbacks as their younger selves and in their present quite sexy sexagenarian years.
There’s a lot of heart and humour thrown in the mix and you’re bound to enjoy the expertly choreographed song and dance routines … even if you may occasionally wonder if you’ve suddenly been transported into a Bollywood movie instead.
It’s actually quite amazing watching all these old timers nail their parts effortlessly, and often relishing the whimsical silliness of it all. Colin Firth is 57, Pierce Brosnan 65, Julie Walters 68, Christine Baranski 66, Stellan Skarsgard 67, Meryl Streep 69, Andy Garcia 62, and “great grandmama” Cher – oops spoiler alert – is a stunning 72! Like the effervescent music that buoys this movie along, the cast is vintage gold. (Look out for cameos by Ulvaeus as a teacher, and Andersson as a piano player – what fun!).
The younger actors, assuming their roles with much gusto, are a joy to watch as well. The singing is a mixture of recording and live (as Parker has revealed in interviews – for example, the a cappella renditions of Andante, Andante and SOS). In fact, the whole vibe of the movie makes it feel very much as if you were watching it live, on stage, right down to the closing credits, when you’ll want to applaud the cast as they take their bows, and join in the song and dance finale.
I’m not going to really delve too much into the plot here because really it’s just a vehicle (albeit a relatively interesting one) to carry these magical songs.
If you, like me, grew up listening to Abba, you’ll love that this movie includes a lot of not so famous (but just as beloved tunes) like One Of Us, Kisses Of Fire, Angeleyes on top of classics like Waterloo, I Have A Dream, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Super Trouper and Fernando. Don’t forget the tissues for Streep, James and Seyfried’s combined rendition of My Love, My Life. Very nicely done.
If you don’t enjoy donning your bell bottoms, teasing your hair silly and being under the spotlight, then I’d take a raincheck. But if you love your Abba catalogue, then I highly recommend you go watch this with fellow fans, so you can all revel in its unforgettable songs together. Don’t be afraid to embrace your inner diva, put on those dancing shoes and sing out loud. Then let those super trouper lights find you, shining like the sun, smiling, having fun. Oh, and don’t forget to stay for the post-credits.
Catch this movie at Golden Screen Cinemas nationwide. Follow GSC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Director: Ol Parker
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Stellan Skarsgard, Dominic Cooper, Andy Garcia, Jeremy Irvine, Josh Dylan, Hugh Skinner, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Alexa Davies, Meryl Streep, Cher