Is “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” a super-trouper sequel, or does it leave you calling S.O.S?
Set five years after 2008’s musical hit “Mamma Mia!”, “Here We Go Again” tells the story of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) as she discovers what life was like for her mother, Donna (Lily James/ Meryl Streep), before she became an overworked hotel owner, and how she lived and enjoyed her life with the young Sam (Jeremy Irvine/Pierce Brosnan), Harry (Colin Firth/Hugh Skinner) and Bill (Stellan Skarsgård), all to the soundtrack of some of ABBA’s greatest hits.
If the first ‘Mamma Mia!” film isn’t your cup-of-tea, then I doubt you’re going to enjoy this one. However, that’s not to say that “Here We Go Again” is just a re-run of the original — there are some key differences to this sequel that really set it apart from its predecessor and make it even more enjoyable to watch.
I think the best thing about “Here We Go Again” has to be the cinematography — perhaps not what you’d expect from a feel-good musical film, but it has to be said. The composition of the shots, use of colour, and especially the transitions from scene to scene (especially when the film cuts from present to past) show that there must’ve been a creative eye behind the camera on this film, one who was keen to make this more than just a mash of ABBA tunes. The choreography of the dancing in the musical scenes was also superb, and though some of the actors’ and actresses’ singing could be better, the songs were all enjoyable and fitted with the plot very well — even if they weren’t ABBA’s biggest hits for the most part, though some of the fan favourites from the first film were repeated in this one.
My biggest gripe with the film, really, was its plot inconsistencies across from the first film, such as dates that really didn’t add up, and some bigger things to do with the characters’ personalities as a whole. However, if you take the plot an film at face-value, and don’t overthink it too much as I do, it’s reasonable, if a little jumpy at times as it cuts from present to past. I found this was mainly at the beginning, though, and by about thirty minutes in the cuts across time all felt natural and made for, as aforementioned, some really creative camera work to transition across.
I felt most of the actors gave good performances, especially those who had leading roles, though I do feel that the writer’s did seem to create completely different characters for the younger versions of Sam, Bill and Harry than what we’re told they were like in the first film. There is, though, one performance from the film that stands out as being a little lacklustre, and that’s from Cher — her character is briefly shown in the trailer, and (without giving too much away) that’s about all you see of her in the film, along with a bit of an underwhelming rendition of one of the more well-known songs that feature in “Here We Go Again”. Her character didn’t add anything to the movie, and neither did her performance.
Overall, though, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is a fun, well-produced musical with some strong performances and excellently choreographed dance pieces. It’s also shot exceptionally well, and for the most part does well with cutting back-and-forth across time. It does have quite a few plot inconsistencies and does miss-out on featuring most of the more prominent ABBA songs, but is an enjoyable movie to watch and so deserves an eight-out-of-ten.
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