Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Mamma Mia: Here we go again (4 Stars)

This is a sequel to "Mamma Mia", which was made in 2008. I have nothing against sequels, but I'm always sceptical of delayed sequels. Usually they're a desperate attempt by film studios to make money when they've run out of new ideas. However, I decided to give it a chance because I love the original so much and all the main members of the original cast have returned for the sequel.

The story takes place a few years after the original film. Sophie's mother Donna has passed away, and since her death Sophie has worked on restoring the hotel, renaming it Hotel Bella Donna. She's planned a big re-opening ceremony, inviting her family and her mother's friends.

The film tells two stories in parallel. In addition to dealing with the ceremony it tells the story of Donna's arrival on the island and the three men in her life. Throughout the film we see two versions of the main characters, as people in their twenties and and in their fifties. Sophie's life mirrors that of her mother, apart from only having one man in her life.

"Mamma Mia: Here we go again" – I really should shorten the name to "Mamma Mia 2" – is a happy feel-good film which most people will enjoy, but it falls short of the original. It tries too hard to be funny. Whereas the humour in the first film was subtle, the sequel relies on slapstick and overt comedy. This humour is effective. There was a lot of laughter in the mainly female cinema audience today. If that's what you're looking for the film is right for you, but I missed the emotional depths that made me cry when I watched the first film.

None of the three actors who play the young versions of Sam, Bill and Harry are competent singers. The only weak singer in the first film was Pierce Brosnan, who unfortunately sings again the second time round.

Most of Abba's big hits were used in the first film. "Mamma Mia 2" repeats a few of these songs, like "Dancing Queen" and "I have a dream", but it relies mostly on lesser known songs. If you're an Abba fan you'll know the songs, but I was never a fan, so I only know the big hits that are played on the radio. The strength of the first film was the familiarity of the songs. That's missing in the second film.

I enjoyed the film today, but I can't imagine that I'll want to watch it again. It's not a bad film, but it's unnecessary. Donna's story doesn't add anything, it just retells what we already knew from her diary in the first film.

I found it interesting that there's an after credits scene. It used to be that after credits scenes were reserved for Marvel films and the Pirates of the Caribbean films, but now they're becoming more popular. Could it be they're just a ploy to keep people in the cinema to listen to the final songs?

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