I wasn’t planning on writing a full blog post for this film. I planned on writing a paragraph or two straight from the cinema and saving it as a draft to form part of my next Friday Favourites. Then I went off on tangent after tangent and figured what the heck!
So… I just got back from the cinema and had to get this out straight away. I loved the first film. I saw it twice in the cinema (once with my bestie and once with my mum) and went straight out and bought the soundtrack. It became the soundtrack of our nights out (and in!) and I still love duetting SOS with John (hi if you’re reading!). I have the film on DVD but can’t resist a watch when it’s on TV and I popped it on when it was on Netflix. I know it has it’s problems but it is just such a good feel-good film. And I’m obviously not the only one who thinks so, as it’s one of the most successful British films of all time. So, obviously, it had to have a sequel. But that’s so risky as there are very few films where the sequel is as good as, or better than, the first.
So, what of the sequel? Well… the casting was fantastic (Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies were perfect as young Tanya and Rosie), and there were a couple of belters, but there wasn’t a lot of ‘new’ material that I wasn’t already familiar with. Waterloo and The Name of the Game were kinda in the first film and they re-used Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen. There wasn’t a lot that felt ‘sing-alongy’ to me (I’m clearly not familiar enough with the back catalogue). I didn’t really get into it until Waterloo came on and it didn’t feel like there was much of a narrative beyond flashing back to when Donna met the dads. And even then there wasn’t enough time given to each guy, particularly Josh Dylan’s Bill (who was, by far, the prettiest!). It was very much The Donna Show, minus Meryl.
What I think worked so well with the first film was Meryl, the mother/daughter relationship (could anyone else hear all the mothers in the audience sobbing at the end?), the friendships and the songs. As much as I flipping love Christine Baranski (I hope that in real life she’s a glorious mixture of Tanya and Diane Lockhart), there just wasn’t enough of the original cast and big tunes. The way I felt watching the finale (Super Trouper) was how I wanted to feel all the way through. There’s only one Meryl.
The other night I had a discussion with Luke about music. He was playing a few covers of songs I love which are 10-20 years old and it got me thinking. There are songs that are very much reminiscent of a particular time of my life. The Killers’ Mr Brightside reminds me of my A Level results celebration, The Kooks’ Naive reminds me of Freshers, Rhianna’s Umbrella was the summer anthem between my first and second year of uni, Kings of Leon’s Sex on Fire played throughout my 21st birthday celebrations… I can’t recall a song from the last few years which has that kind of impact. Mamma Mia has that kind of effect on me and I just don’t see the sequel having that kind of lasting impact ten years later.
That said, it was still fun and I’d sit through it again.
I avoided reviews until I had seen the film for myself and typed the above and I think this one, from the New York Times, says it perfectly.
While we’re talking films, let’s throw in some trailers I’ve seen this week which have more than whetted my appetite for future cinema trips.
I’m gonna watch the shit out of Shazam!!! I bleddy love Zachary Levi.
What did you think of Mamma Mia 2?