MAMMA MIA! HERE WE UNNECESSARILY GO AGAIN

Can you believe it’s been a decade since the original MAMMA MIA! hit the screens? Well it has and to celebrate, put on a reunion show, and to make a cash grab, we get to return to the Greek island of Kalokairi. MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN releases today, July 19th in Australia from the wonderful folks at Universal Pictures Australia. It is rated PG and runs for 114mins.

 

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
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BY JASON KING

MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN SYNOPSIS:

MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN starts with the audience learning that the movie’s lead, Donna (), is actually dead. I never picked up on that one from trailers – it may be a spoiler but it won’t really effect the movie. Her daughter, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) has built up the farm house on Kalokairi and it is soon to open as a hotel. Sophie is stressed about the opening, her slightly strained long-distance relationship with hunky Sky (), and that only one of her three dads will be at the opening.

The hotel has been built in honour of Donna. The two remaining Dynamos, Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters), are in attendance for full support and hysterics. While pondering the opening and the constant troubles associated with opening an island hotel we get to venture back into Donna’s life to learn how she came to be on the Island, how she ended up with three fathers for Sophie without coming off as a “floozy”, and what made her fall in love with Kalokairi.

 

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Lily James and
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn and Lily James

MONEY MONEY MONEY:

Sadly, the movie was unnecessary and fails on more levels than it succeeds. I would call it more of a reunion film; everyone wanted to get back together and producers whacked together a tele-movie styled option to make it so. The plot is as weak as you could imagine and the singing from half the cast is worse and more noticeable than the original. There is gaping holes in the plot, the most notable is all the fathers meeting for the first time and what happened to Young Harry? He appeared to stay on the mainland wharf for eternity?? was a fun addition for her less than 5mins screen time. But that being said, the movie is still heaps of fun.

I am all for reunions and was happy to return to the island with all of them. The new younger cast from Donna’s past highly impressed and seeing these stories would have made a fantastic prequel on its own. I loved their intertwining stories and Donna’s younger actor, Lily James, stole the movie. There are heaps of hysterical lines, mostly from Tanya’s characters, and the beautiful cinematography on Kalokairi does arouse a sense of wanderlust.

I took my Granny (of sorts) to see this one and we both had a fantastic time but the music does let the film down a little bit. The original MAMMA MIA! gave us all the big hits of ABBA so while this foes rerun a couple of them most of the songs in the sequel are lesser known B-sides. The choreography for dance numbers is wonderful however and one particular dance scene on boats is just superb.

 

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Colin Firth, and

 

SUPER TROUPERS:

The shining beacon of salvation of MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN is the cast. They are all just brilliant and do their best with what they have. You get about a minute of Meryl and somehow, she will no doubt end up with another Oscar nomination haha. The original Dynamos, Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters) are a wonderful duo, Tanya always cracks me up. Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper take quite a back seat in this to allow Donna’s past to be told. The three OG dads are delightful, I have grown quite fond of Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård and Pierce Brosnan together.

And finally Cher – just iconic no matter what she does, the movie could have done with a lot more of her and she was quite wasted besides a mostly walk-on role to make people clap and to belt out a tune or two. She needs to play Lady Gaga’s mum looking the way she did :).

Then there is the younger versions, let’s call them the flashbacks. They won me over and I could have just watched an entire movie of their story unfold. Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn and Lily James were perfection as Dynamos. Jessica Keenan Wynn nailed Tanya so perfectly it really could have been a younger Christine Baranski. Her every mannerism was exact. The younger gents were fantastic, I would have fallen in love with the younger Bill (Josh Dylan), I would have sailed the world with him. The younger Sam () was also very love-worthy and I could have spent eternity on the island with him. Younger Harry () was hysterically dorky and the older and the younger Harrys meeting in the credits scenes was a highlight of the movie.

HEAD OVER HEALS:

I was totally head over heals for young Donna in MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN. Lily James just lit the screen on fire with as much passion and light-hearted love as Meryl did in MAMMA MIA! The way she threw herself into the role was a marvel and reminded me of stage and screen sirens of the past. Her first song WHEN I KISSED THE TEACHER was a little shaky technically but more than made up for it with the choreography and humour. As the movie progresses she just impresses more and more.

Be sure to keep your eyes out for two ABBA cameos throughout the movie.

 

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper and Cher

 

WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE:

MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN is a fun reunion with the old cast and a wonderful journey with the flashback cast. While the film pales in comparison with the original it is worthy of an outing with “the girls” or take your mum or grand mum to it, they will love it.

 

 

 

YOUR CRITIC:

 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.