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Evan C

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

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While I am second to no one (or almost no one) in my hatred of the first film, I was pleasantly stunned by how much fun this one was.



The fatal flaws of the original film were too numerous to mention, but the three glaring ones were: the sloppy direction, camera use, and blocking; the bad mismatch of plot to song lyrics; and the repetitive monotony of song arrangements. Those are all fixed here.


[E]very scenario seems like a logical place to burst into song, all the characters who are singing make sense, and the performances are all top notch. The rendition of the title song here is one of the best uses of a title song in any movie musical. A cameo from Cher culminates in a fantastic rendition of “Fernando” in which she dances with Andy Garcia resolving a plot twist that’s obvious from a mile away, but the scene is so perfectly executed it doesn’t matter. “Dancing Queen” and “Super Trouper” return as the two big chorus numbers, roughly taking place where an act I and act II finale would occur in a stage musical.

The plot is as goofy and simplistic as would be expected, but the entire cast is having so much fun, and the film’s energy is purely focused on the rousing production numbers that it hardly matters.


Edited by Evan C

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I posted this to Facebook last night:

I can't recall the last time I cried at a movie as much as I just cried during Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. I was not expecting that. It's like the Godfather Part II of feel-good musicals or something. The actors who play the younger versions of the original film's stars are all perfectly cast, and I found myself wishing I could just spend time hanging out with most of them. Also, as one who doesn't really know Abba's music beyond the greatest hits album, I found that the most successful musical sequences were the ones based on songs I didn't know -- and *most* of the songs here were unfamiliar to me. But oh, man, the layers of joy and grief and nostalgia here. The scene before the baptism practically killed me.

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So, I went to a movie theatre in Paris in order to beat the heat--it's been 95+ degrees this week--and purchased a ticket for Incredibles 2. In the opening scene, I realize that the film is dubbed, and while my French has improved, it's not *that* good. I go to get a refund, but it's a non-refundable ticket, and the only two films playing in English with French subtitles are Ant Man and The Wasp (which I'd already seen), and this film. I haven't seen the original, I'm not that familiar with ABBA apart from "Dancing Queen," and I had no desire to see a belated sequel. But it was air conditioning for two hours and I'm out 8 euros anyway, so I stay. The opening scenes with Amanda Seyfried had me somewhat groaning and rolling my eyes, wondering if I'd made a mistake. But then Lily James shows up in the Oxford scene and she's marvelous. The film built from there, converting my cynical heart until I was tearing up at the baptism scene and my feet tapping/dancing to the final number.

I use the word "conversion" above intentionally, because this was one of those moments where I was reluctant to appreciate, let alone enjoy, the artwork before me. But it won me over in a way I can only describe as repentance, an unexpected, holistic turnaround in my emotions and POV.

All this to say, this film is much better than I anticipated.

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