As I'm sure you all know by now, I am a completely obsessed with anything to so with ABBA, or the Mamma Mia franchise. Of course, this resulted on seeing the brand new 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again', sequel to the world-renowned hit film 'Mamma Mia!', as soon as physically possible. So on Friday 20th of last month, the day that the incredible movie was released to the public, we hotfooted it down to the cinema to see it.
I'm not going to lie, I genuinely thought the cinema would be packed to the brim with eager fans, especially since it was one of the first showings. But it was a time before a typical work day would finish, so I guess it’s fair enough that it wasn't. The second time it was rather busy though, so it's now definitely getting the attention it deserves. Because I've now seen it twice- in a short time... and many many more times to come, I'm sure- I can tell you that it is well worth the watch, and is most likely to make you want to see it multiple times too!
Now I actually find it quite hard to talk about the film without sharing some major spoilers, which I am going to have a solid attempt at keeping quiet about, as I think it's far better to go to watch it without previously knowing too much. But I think something that is inevitable that everyone has knowledge of is the fact that Cher is a feature, albeit not massively, considering the amount of credit she gets for being who she is. Now don't get me wrong, it may not be a popular opinion among some to have her singing ABBA hits, but I do think she is a good addition to the movie. I personally prefer the originals, rather than her versions at this point, yet the more I listen, they are beginning to grow on me! She just does things a bit differently, in her own style, where they sound more techno: I am looking forward to hearing the whole album of the covers coming out in September though, before I make any drastic judgements.
Another factor of the film that we are all aware of is that it magically both a sequel and prequel to the original. I have to say, they have conducted it excellently, somehow making the perfect film- I mean, what could be better than ABBA songs immersed in lots of singing, dancing and having fun (again!)? Of course, it couldn't be what is it without the iconic first one, but I may actually go as far as saying it's better. The storyline of young Donna growing up is beautifully intertwined with the current life of her daughter Sophie, who was planning to get married in the first film. Now, we follow her present day journey, interspersed with how things came to be with Donna, and the story behind Sophie's 3 possible fathers. Each part is seamlessly linked, captivating the audience throughout.
Of course, the use of ABBA songs makes the film incredible, regardless of anything else. But the cast are so good, both at acting and singing, though you may (or not, I mean he's not too bad, just a bit cringy) be glad to know there's a little less Pierce Brosnan solo work in this one... Some songs could even be said to be better than the originals, yet I'm on the fence with that: after all, they wouldn't exist without the first versions. 'My Love, My Life' is flawlessly sung in such a perfectly poignant manner for its scene, so I'd really recommend bringing tissues for the tear-jerking moments, in contrast to the pure joy during the rest of the film. If you don't cry at that point, you're heartless! I think it really makes the film complete, having the whole range of emotions expressed by watching- a necessity for any good film.
Looking deeper into this film, it portrays some great themes, with motherhood, friendship, family and love being just a few. Strong, independent women are crucial to the storytelling of both films, often passing positive messages onto the audience, and encouraging forward-thinking, empowering and modern views on the subject. From the touching moments of 'Slipping Through My Fingers' in the first film, to the incredible 'My Love, My Life' in the second, we can really feel that tight bond between mother and daughter, which are many building blocks of the tale being told, tugging on our heartstrings, and making us just want to hug those who we love.
Because a second film wasn't originally planned back when the first one was released, it has now become apparent to me that they felt obliged to put all the hits in, whereas number 2 seems more crafted around the songs left to choose from. I feel that the songs fit more smoothly this time around, and it's really nice to hear some of the lesser known tunes featuring, with the most popular still making their rightful appearances. It is constructed including the chosen songs so that they fit better, which I think makes it more of a joy to watch, as the characters, more often than not, gracefully slip into their number, rather than randomly belting it out half way up a mountain!
So without a doubt I'd recommend the magnificent watching of this film that has recently blessed our screens. It's totally uplifting, utterly joyous and full of fun. I think it's perfectly suitable viewing for all the family, as the innuendos are made hilarious for many, but most go over the heads of the little ones. Bringing the music to a new generation once again, I hope both the movie and soundtrack is as big and beyond as the last. It truly is a form of escapism that I believe in which everyone should be entitled.