Here we go again. It’s time for another dose of ABBA hits and less-than-impressive singers in a second take on “Mamma Mia!”, which was a 2008 movie based on the hit musical. The premise was, get together a bunch of big names, who couldn’t necessarily sing well – if at all – and create a story around the hits of Swedish 70s band ABBA.
Regardless of what I thought of the first film, it faired well at the box office, and was generally regarded as a fun and enjoyable film by those who grew up knowing ABBA, and the younger generation, who would know the songs but not necessarily the musical impact.
“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” addresses both the past and the present, carrying on Sophie’s (Amanda Seyfried) story, as well as her mother Donna’s (Meryl Streep) origin – and how she came to live in Greece and, more importantly, not know who the father of her daughter is. Lily James takes the honour of playing the young Donna, and I’ll take this opportunity to declare her the winner of “Here We Go Again”. She’s an underrated actress, and I want her in every film.
Donna’s suitors Sam, Bill and Harry from the first flick (Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård and Colin Firth respectively) are back, played by Jeremy Irvine, Josh Dylan and Hugh Skinner in their younger days. Due to the closeness in time of Donna meeting them all, Sophie’s real father is too close to call, hence why all three play dad to her in the current day.
In the present, Sophie is working hard to fulfil her mother’s dream of opening a hotel, completing final renovations while her husband Sky (Dominic Cooper) is working hard abroad – causing tension between the two.
Anyway story aside, the reason you come to see a movie based on ABBA hits is to see a musical number or 10 of your favourite hits – and songs you didn’t know existed. Or maybe that’s just me, as apparently I don’t know ABBA as much as I thought I did. “Here We Go Again” certainly delivers in the musical component, putting aside the fact that some of the ‘talent’ was hired on name status alone. Thankfully, we are spared of Brosnan’s and Firth’s voices to a large extent. Not completely, but no big solo numbers. *PHEW*
My criticism for “Mamma Mia!” remains for “Here We Go Again” – the voices are weak as the proverbial. The big impact of the musical numbers that are so poignant of the musical just don’t hit the mark in the movies. That’s with a few exceptions of course – Cher is always going to belt out something amazing, and James’s voice is definitely the stand-out across the whole. Plus, when the entire cast sing, you can close your eyes so you don’t have to witness the old man dancing and just enjoy the music.
On a whole, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” delivers and fun and largely feel-good film that you’d expect from a musical. Singing and dancing talent aside, it’s something you’ll tap your feet to, and if you’re a middle-aged woman similar to the two that sat behind me in the cinema, you’ll try to out-sing everyone on screen and perform like nobody is watching. Here’s a sick tip: we are watching. We all saw your old-lady moves.