Small Screen Reviews

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Review

Mamma Mia2 DVD/Blu-ray

Studio:
Universal Pictures   

What’s It About?
Five years on, and Sophie is set to open the renovated Hotel Bella Donna on the Greek island of Kalokairi, inviting everyone of note to attend the opening night. Meanwhile the film flashes back to Sophie’s mum, Donna, and her experiences at the exact same place 30 years previously where she met the three main loves of her life.   

Who’s In It?
Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia, Les Miserables, & more recently Gringo)
Meryl Streep (Kramer vs Kramer, The Devil Wears Prada, & more recently The Post)
Lily James (Cinderella, Bay Driver, & more recently The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society)   

Other notables include:
Pierce Brosnan (Golden Eye, The Matador, & more recently The November Man)
Colin Firth (Pride And Prejudice, The King’s Speech, Kingsman)
Cher (Moonstruck, Mask, & more recently Burlesque)   

Director: Ol Parker (Now Is Good)   

Audiences Expect:
While the prospect of an overly cheerful musical full of ABBA songs might some (namely me) with dread, when it came to it, it was difficult not to be swept along, to some degree, with the overtly feel good nature of this sequel. 
Admittedly the original made so much cash that a sequel was inevitable, and with that in mind, presumably there was little doubt that all the cast would sign back on, but despite this director Ol Parker (the writer of The Exotic Marigold Hotel) still faced quite the challenge in terms of attempting to emulate the original’s success, but also in cobbling together a script with the knowledge that all the best songs had been used in the original.
The paper-thin plot, for what it’s worth, sees Amanda Seyfried’s character Sophie preparing to open the doors of the renovated Hotel Bella Donna, and inviting all the great and the good to the first night. Her experiences are then intercut with those of her mother 30 years previously, as she first crosses paths with the three loves of her life.
Lily James delivers a first rate and indeed pitch perfect performance as a young Meryl Streep, alongside Alexa Daviers (a young Julie Walters) and Jessica Keenan Wynn (who is uncannily like a young Christine Baranski). Meanwhile the love interests are played by the bumbling Hugh Skinner (of The Windsors fame), amusingly playing a young Colin Firth, a charismatic Josh Dylan as a young Stellan Skarsgard, and a somewhat underwhelming Jeremy Irvine as a young Pierce Brosnan.
The songs come thick and fast, and the energy and cheeriness are somewhat infectious both in the present day and the flashback scenes, but the film is somewhat stolen by a sassy Christine Baranski and a scene stealing Cher during her duet with Andy Garcia.
Admittedly the plot needs work, a couple of the performances are forgettable, and since many of the songs were used up in the original, one has make do with repeated hits or simply somewhat underwhelming ABBA B-sides, but it would be fair to say that perhaps normal rules do not apply for such a film. The setting is magical, some of the performances such as Lily James and Josh Dylan are excellent, and the routines are both energetic and uplifting, building to the rousing crescendo with Cher.   

In A Nutshell:
Despite using up Abba’s hits in the original and a familiar storyline, some fine performances and pure unadulterated fun result in this sequel somehow just about pulling it off.   

Highlight:
Cher’s cameo without doubt
Christine Baranski and Julie Walter’s delivery
And a fine turn from Lily James   

Lowpoint:
A few unknown and instantly forgettable ABBA B-sides to pad out the film.
A couple of the performances are instantly forgettable

Release date: 26/11/2018

Certificate: PG

EDITOR’S CHOICE