It’s been ten years and the magic may not there as much as the original, but it’s good enough to still enjoy the great songs from the legendary group ABBA.
Sophie Sheridan has decided to re-open the Hotel Bella Donna on the island of Kalokairi, in honor of her late mother Donna. She has been going crazy to get the hotel ready, but is somewhat saddened to learn that her mother’s two best friends Tanya and Rosie, as well as two of her dads, Bill and Harry, will be unable to make it to the opening. In addition, her boyfriend Sky is in New York on business. When the stress becomes too much for Sophie, she discovers a secret that will change everything but along the way, some positivity is in store in the form of surprises.
Meanwhile, in 1979, Donna Sheridan has graduated from college and decided to spend the summer just enjoying life. She heads off to Paris, where she meets a young British accountant named Harry Bright. The two hit it off and enjoy their time together. However, when they depart, Donna decides to head to Kalokairi, but she misses her boat. That is, until she meets Bill Anderson, a young aspiring sailor and he offers to take her to the island before he must head off to a boating race. The two hit it off especially after rescuing a young man and prevented his love from marrying another man. Once on the island, Donna finds a decrepit building but while Bill is gone, in the middle of a rainstorm, she meets Sam Carmichael and the two find love together until she learns he has a fiancée back home in London. When Donna learns she is pregnant, she has no idea who the father is. Could it be Bill, Harry, or Sam?
The Broadway play Mamma Mia, based on the hit songs from Swedish legends ABBA, turned into a major film in 2008 with the likes of Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, and Amanda Seyfried, as well as others showcasing not only their acting skills, but their vocal talents as well. It was quite a surprise when it was announced a sequel was going to be made by Ol Parker. The new film serves as both a sequel set ten years later and a prequel set before the birth of co-lead character Sophie, reprised by Seyfried. While the original was such a great film, there was something important missing from this sequel that took this a few notches down and it’s pretty much revealed in the film’s opening.
That isn’t to say the prequel scenes aren’t fun to watch because they are. As a matter of fact, as Sophie’s sequel scenes prove to be more of a stressful and bring a bit of a somber mood, but the prequel scenes, which lead up to Sophie’s birth, are the delightful fun part of the film. Lily James is exciting to watch, bringing the spirit of Meryl Streep’s original character as the young version as we see her on the summer vacation that changes her life forever. Hugh Skinner, Josh Dylan, and Jeremy Irvine are a hoot as the young Harry, Bill, and Sam respectively, with them performing some classic tunes such as “Waterloo” and those that are not as popular as the hits. And speaking of ABBA, there are cameo appearances once again from members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, like they did in the original film.
While the original film brought the best out with the cast, the film is relegated to having original stars Stellan Skårsgard and Colin Firth, as the present-day Bill and Harry, in more extended cameo appearances as opposed to Christine Baranski and Julie Walters as Tanya and Rosie, as major supporting characters with even Pierce Brosnan making more of an extended cameo as well. Andy Garcia makes a welcome addition as hotel manager Fernando (get it?) and well, what better way to have a musical than have music legend Cher as Sophie’s grandmother?
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again has both a somber and delightful mood in terms of the depiction and alternate time frames. It makes the magic not as great as the original, but that’s not to say it is not a good movie, because it’s good, but that one spark is missing. That is, until the star-studded finale.
WFG RATING: B
Universal Pictures presents a Legendary Entertainment production in association with Perfect World Pictures. Director: Ol Parker. Producers: Judy Craymer, Anna Sofia Mörck, and Gary Goetzman. Writer: Ol Parker; story by Parker, Catherine Johnson, and Richard Curtis; based on the original musical by Johnson, originally conceived by Craymer. Cinematography: Robert D. Yeoman. Editing: Peter Lambert.
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skårksgard, Meryl Streep, Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Alexa Davies, Hugh Skinner, Josh Dylan, Jeremy Davies, Andy Garcia, Dominic Cooper, Cher, Omid Djalili, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson.