Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Runtime 2 hours
PG-13

Although I am a huge fan of ABBA’s music and the stage play Mama Mia!, I was greatly disappointed by the 2008 film, even though it has accrued a gross revenue of $650 million on a budget of $52 million. While the story was contrived and immoral, what destroyed the movie for me was the casting of Meryl Streep and Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan, none of whom are qualified to star in a musical comedy.

As a result, because the new film was ballyhooed as a return of Meryl Streep and the others, I was not expecting much. I knew I would probably enjoy the music, but little else.

But there’s great news: Meryl Streep only appears at the end to sing one song!

But this one still started out to meet my low expectations. However, after 10 to 15 very disappointing minutes displaying a tedious script, it morphed into something quite enjoyable.

The music is, in a word, wonderful; the production numbers and orchestrations spectacular. The Mediterranean (Croatia) locale cinematography (Robert D. Yeoman) is dazzling. And the acting by lead actress Lily James who plays Donna, Meryl Streep’s character, as a young woman is a knockout, completely overshadowing a weak script and story that portrays a woman of extremely loose morals. But there are some questionable casting choices, to wit, Donna’s three boyfriends, who don’t really come across as guys who would be that interested in a woman.

Written and directed by a new person who was not associated with the first, Ol Parker, ABBA’s music is aptly served by this production. Many of their well-known songs like “Dancing Queen” and “Mamma Mia” are reprised here and several new ones added to other ABBA standards. ABBA fans will be happy to see performances of “Fernando” and “Waterloo,” two of their biggest hits, and the choreography matches the wonderful music. This ranks with the best movie musicals, one I can easily view over and over, just for the music and dancing.

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