Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Words Lewis Cor­ner

Gay Times Magazine - - FILM -

Con­sid­er­ing the phe­nom­e­non that was the first Mamma Mia! movie – based on the in­cred­i­bly suc­cess­ful juke­box stage mu­si­cal that came be­fore it – was there any doubt of a se­quel? Hav­ing taken $600 mil­lion at the box of­fice, the first in­stal­ment far sur­passed any an­a­lyst’s fi­nan­cial pro­jec­tions. Money, money, money in­deed. The bi¦er prob­lem for a fol­low-up laid with the fact that all of ABBA’s bi¦est songs – which form the back­bone of the story – had al­ready been used up. It means that for the per­fectly-ti­tled Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, view­ers are left guess­ing the words through­out some of the lesser-known tracks used. Why Did It Have To Be Me? and One of Us are hardly karaoke sta­ples.

How­ever, hav­ing to work with some of the more ob­scure hits has re­sulted in ev­ery­thing else about the movie be­ing bol­stered up. There are bi¦er emo­tional stakes at play, the story spans across the globe rather than just be­ing con­fined to the Greek is­land of Kalokairi, and the camp fac­tor has been rammed into a glit­ter can­non and fired into an ex­plo­sion of shim­mer­ing pro­por­tions. Let’s face it: Cher singing ABBA clas­sics af­ter fly­ing to the is­land in her pri­vate he­li­copter is peak ‘giv­ing the gays what they want’.

It will come as lit­tle sur­prise, then, that Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a cheese feast even an ex­tra large Domino’s pizza would stru¦le to com­pete against, but it’s the heart and soul at the cen­tre of the char­ac­ters we’ve come to know and love that saves it from be­ing writ­ten off as nov­elty. Amanda Seyfried’s So­phie Sheri­dan has spent a year since her mother’s pass­ing to ren­o­vate the ho­tel she lived her life har­bour­ing am­bi­tious dreams for. The grand re­open­ing is an ex­cuse for all the old favourites to re­unite – in­clud­ing So­phie’s three fa­thers, played by Pierce Bros­nan, Colin Firth and Stel­lan Skars­gard.

It also serves as an op­por­tu­nity for the char­ac­ters to re­flect on their past, in turn in­tro­duc­ing Lily James as a younger ver­sion of Donna Sheri­dan (played by Meryl Streep in the orig­i­nal) find­ing her way in the world af­ter grad­u­at­ing back in 1979. The film flits be­tween the two time pe­ri­ods ef­fec­tively, adding emo­tional heft to the plot that un­folds in each. Lily James is a rev­e­la­tion in this role, step­ping for­ward as a triple threat per­former. Her vo­cals are clear and strong through­out ABBA’s finest, her dance moves are en­er­getic and nat­u­ral, and her per­for­mance as Donna is en­gag­ing and like­bable.

Her story es­sen­tially tells the ori­gin of the first movie and how she came to meet each of So­phie’s prospec­tive three fa­thers. ABBA clas­sics like Water­loo, Know­ing Me, Know­ing You, and an­other out­ing for Mamma Mia drive her jour­ney to her dream home of Kalokairi for­ward. Di­rec­tor Ol Parker frames many of the mu­si­cal num­bers as if they were their own mu­sic videos, giv­ing each se­quence a know­ing sense of the­atri­cal­ity.

While some picked holes in the script for the first film, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again has no such prob­lems. Each char­ac­ter has depth, and the plot breathes with both hu­mour and heartache. Chris­tine Baran­ski and Julie Wal­ters con­tinue to be comic relief as Donna’s besties Tanya and Rosie re­spec­tively, while their younger coun­ter­parts Jes­sica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies cap­ture their ado­les­cent be­gin­nings with strik­ing un­can­ni­ness.

And then there’s Cher. The pop icon joins the film as Donna’s es­tranged mother and So­phie’s grand­mother Ruby Sheri­dan. The best one-lin­ers are saved for her, and her se­quence for a duet with Andy Gar­cia on Fer­nando is as bril­liantly ridicu­lous as we’d hoped for.

It leads into a poignant and pow­er­ful fi­nale that will have you sob­bing ev­ery time. Trust us, you’ll never be able to lis­ten to My Love, My Life with­out turn­ing into a bawl­ing mess from here on in. You have been warned.

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