Wednesday, July 25, 2018

FRESH FROM THE THEATER: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Over ten years ago I wrote my first blog post ever and it was about Mamma Mia! The Musical, as it was touring around Europe and they visited our little country and I just fell in love with it. The following summer the movie came out and despite them leaving out my favorite songs of all time... it quickly became my favorite movie. You can read my reviews here:

Here we are, ten years after I wrote that post, and the immense success of the movie yielded a sequel, to which all the stars from the first movie agreed to. I gotta say, I was skeptical at first, because after realizing who it was that they decided to cut from the movie I shivered a bit, but as the first song started to play I was along for the ride!

Sophie decides to reopen her mother's dream hotel as she now has the experience and the money for it, but she puts a great deal of pressure onto it. As she questions how did her mom find this place to begin with, we are acquainted with a young Donna and her summer of romance, when she met Harry, Bill and Sam. Not only do we learn how Donna decided to stay on this little patch of paradise, but how Sophie's true dream becomes that of continuing in her mom's legacy, in the only home they have ever known.

I need to be honest, I am mad at this movie.  It was, in my opinion, a comma away from perfection. You can see that they knew their source material, they knew what they wanted, what story they wanted to tell. But the forgot something very important... I don't care about the minor details (like Harry's guitar missing...), what bothered me is the grandmother's role. All we know about her is that, to quote Donna from the first movie, "She told me not to bother going home", and in this one: she misses her graduation and then Sophie realizes there is no point in inviting her to the reopening because "She won't come anyway"... everything points to her being this horrible person, and then Cher appears, she sings and that is it. I cannot shake the feeling that there was a deleted scene somewhere, but I was missing it a great deal! One, "Hey I was a bad mother, I missed too much." really would have set my soul at ease. And well, SPOILER, but as Donna dies, my sister pointed out, did she miss her daughter's funeral? Grandma was not invited for a reason, and after she shows up, I was missing some kind of explanation as to why we are suddenly OK with her being here. Actually, she has a memory of this place, and it would have been fun to point out that it was her mom's stories that made Donna come here. The "catholic guilt" mentioned in the first story was nowhere to be found when looking at the the grandmother and I just didn't get it... they either deleted scenes or simply assumed that Cher's presence would be enough to make us not notice... I dunno.
And the reason I was so mad about this is because it is otherwise a wonderful movie! They used the songs they cut from the first movie version originally in magnificent ways, they managed to write a whole new story with songs we know and love and you get the same happy feeling that the original gave. They managed to write a story that makes sense both prequel and sequel-wise! And then the grandmother's storyline made me very unsatisfied... I would also like to be rude here and add, that I was not very touched by the young actors chosen to play the dads... None of them really got me to understand why Donna would care for any of them, and well... OK, I really don't want to be rude, but they just didn't do it for me and so far none of my friend's either (the long hair was not necessarily a good choice). My final note would be the lead actress, whom I liked very much, but I never understand why they don't cast Meryl Streep's daughters to play young versions of her... they are super talented and they look exactly like their mom! Such a wasted opportunity...

That having been said, I am myself shocked at how much I loved this movie. Every second of it. The writing was terrific, the actors were great, the selection of songs made me weep through half of the movie like a little baby, and the whole thing just got me nostalgic for summer romances and the magic of beaches, and music, and sand and that salty water in the air!

Watch it? Definitely! If this song won't get you interested, nothing will!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Sophie - Amanda Seyfried
Young Donna - Lily James
Donna - Meryl Streep
Young Sam - Jeremy Irvine
Ruby Sheridan - Cher
Rosie - Julie Walters
Young Bill - Josh Dylan
Harry - Colin Firth
Young Harry - Hugh Skinner
Fernando - Andy Garcia

No comments:

Post a Comment