Directed By: Ol Parker
Runtime: 114 minutes
“Here we go again” indeed! *sigh* Speaking as an ABBA fan, I wouldn’t say I was dreading this unnecessary sequel, but I also had zero intention of seeing Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in the cinema.
The original Mamma Mia film was released 10 years ago and was also a very successful broadway play, reintroducing modern audiences to the ABBA classics through a beautiful mother-daughter narrative.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again brings us back to this loveable (three fathers) family as Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is finalising preparations to re-open her mother’s dream hotel on the gorgeous Greek island. We find out quickly that Sophie’s mother Donna (Meryl Streep) has actually recently passed away, and that this is an homage to her dearly departed mum. The story then proceeds to send us back in time to see how Donna met Bill, Sam and Harry, and how it connects with the overall narrative.
The minute I found out that Donna’s character was dead, I lost interest very quickly. Not only is Meryl Streep amazing, but the character of Donna was one of the main influences that brought the whole ensemble together. While it was nice getting flashbacks of Donna’s young life, without Meryl Streep it truly lacked depth and made it feel even more pointless because we knew how the story ended.
The ABBA songs chosen were repeated a fair bit (obviously because the hits we wanted had to be), and the other songs chosen seemed weird and forced at the best of times. Supertroopers plays at the post-credits of the film during a weird dance scene and that was actually my favourite song and memorable moment from the film.
Julie Walters and Christine Baranski’s Rosie and Tanya were the only characters who provided any genuine laughs from me, and Colin Firth, who seemed far too good for this film, also had some great moments of humour.
Unfortunately, the plot was highly unnecessary and couldn’t fool us viewers into thinking any new story needed to be told. At the end of the film, the characters have barely changed or developed, and any true moments of tension in the conclusion of the film were quickly dissolved (often through a bizarre choice of song).
Cher’s appearance as Sophie’s grandma felt like a last minute decision to save a boring film and for me it didn’t pay off. She arrived, she was a bitch to her granddaughter and she ran back to the man she had long left behind, and then there was a musical number. After that, all was forgiven and the cruel and (again) unnecessary character seemed to just slot back into their lives in a way that didn’t suit the plot or characters at all.
The final song between Amanda Seyfried and Meryl Streep (if only she were on screen longer) was really beautiful and almost brought a tear to my eyes. Their amazing mother-daughter bond was always what brought the original viewers of Mamma Mia in, but sadly it came too late in the film and really made the entire film feel even worse, knowing Donna was barely in the film.
The young actors who played younger versions of Bill, Sam, Harry, Donna, Rosie and Tanya were actually incredible and I would give high props for their skill at mimicking their older counterparts. It truly felt as though I was watching young Pierce Brosnan during some of the scenes and that is a skill that is not so easy to achieve.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was unfortunately a very unnecessary sequel that did not provide more story or development to any of the characters. The ABBA songs were great, but some of the choices made little sense and ruined the vibe of the film. The lack of Meryl Streep was felt strongly in this film and every character and scene was highly diminished by her absence. If you enjoy ABBA and light humour, you may enjoy this film. For me, it felt like a pointless cash grab.