If loving Mamma Mia is wrong then I don’t wanna be right! Guilty pleasure? Nope, not an ounce of guilt here. I was an unashamedly proud fan of the original and couldn’t wait to see this sequel. It seems millions of others felt the same because early box office projections suggest the film’s opening weekend is going to be huge. It will undoubtedly, go on to be another smash hit and massive worldwide success.
Mama Mia 2 here we go again, is, like the first film, a riotous, at times ridiculous, joyful medley of colour, holiday brochure cinematography and of course ABBA classics. Although most of the bigger hits were used up in the original and this sequel relies on several of the lesser known album tracks , there are still a couple of massive number ones here which were not in Mamma Mia.
Fernando is ABBA’s biggest selling single (14 million copies sold to date) and its rendition is worth the ticket price alone. (It brought the house down at my press screening as it was greeted with whoops and cheers). Then there’s Knowing me, Knowing you (ahaa) and also The name of the game.
Of course the mighty Dancing Queen is brought back in a glorious way and the ever popular Waterloo and Supertrouper are given another airing. However, it’s often the lesser known songs which give heart to the story between the tunes.
That story is basically this; Donna Sheridan ( Meryl Streep) has died. Her grieving daughter, Sophie (Amanda Siefried) still on the idyllic Greek island where they lived, though now married to Skye (Dominic Cooper) plans to her reopen her mother’s hotel with the ‘biggest opening party ever’. However, it all looks like it might be a big damp squib as her husband plans to take a job in New York, two of her three fathers ( Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard) are too busy to attend and her famous grandmother (Cher) never visits anyway. Even with her third father Pierce Brosnan (once again, gamely singing to much laughter) by her side all looks bleak.
From Sophie’s current woes to Donna’s blooming, hippie youth, the film flip flops between the lives of the two young women as we see flashbacks of how the mother ended up on the island and why the daughter now wants to stay. Mamma Mia 2 is an origins story of sorts. We get the young, carefree Donna, the three youthful hunks she beds in a short time thus leaving her unsure who the father of Sophie is and her two best friends as girls before they became the magnificent Julie Walters and Christine Baranski.
Does Sophie get to honour her mother despite the problems? Does it all come together in the end? Does your mother know that you’re out?
This is not the quiet, depressing Swedish reflection on life of Ingmaar Bergman, my friend. It’s the golden haired, sandal wearing, bronzed fantasy version dancing to the soundtrack of some of the greatest pop songs ever written. Of course things come right in the end and you will leave the cinema beaming and blinking in puzzlement that there are actually people who will choose not to see this joyful concoction and therefore not have the time of their life, oh yeah!