Mama Mia! Here We Go Again - This Movie Abba Rocks
Dir: Ol Parker
Starring Lily James, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Meryl Streep, Cher, Stellan Skarsgard, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Jeremy Irvine, Hugo Skinner, Josh Dylan, Andy Garcia, Celia Imrie
Two words, ladies and gentlemen – Lily James. We’ve been saying for, well, years now, that this woman is the real deal. A genuine movie star – and there just aren’t that many of those around. True, she hasn’t quite conquered the world yet, but that’s because she keeps making interesting choices. More simply put, without her Mama Mia 2 would not be as good as it is. And – and we’re almost surprised to be saying this – it is certainly good.
It is also The Godfather Part II of fluffy jukebox musicals. No, think about it. A bifurcated story in which your central character from the first one is re-introduced and established as a younger person (in this case Lily in for Meryl in a DeNiro in for Brando kinda way) that dovetails with the tale of what became of the child of the Godfather/Mother (Seyfried in for Pacino) and that’s child’s descent into moral and spiritual corruption – or, in this case, opening a hotel she wants millionaires to come to. (OK, the comparison only holds up so far. But it is there.)
Now, if the first Mama Mia was an in-depth examination of the middle aged woman and her reignited desire to have sex once again after a long fallow period of unavailability more than abstinence – seriously, look at Meryl, gyrating on the roof, knowing full well there are not one but three men under her, and singing “Here I go again!” (we are not making this shit up!) – this follow up is an altogether fluffier, less horny concoction.
But also – to go back to The Godfather Part II analogy – it will long be debated whether this is even better than the first one. (Personally we go yes, it has Lily James in it – who really is the Pacino here, more so that Seyfried.)
Even when you remove the gangster classic referencing and the horny middle aged women, you still pretty much know what you’re getting with Mama Mia! Here We Go Again. What you may not be expecting is how utterly delightful it is. Yes, it’s obvious, yes the first film had the best songs, but it is sweet, sincere, well staged by new director Ol Parker in its musical numbers, and retains that feeling of “not everyone here is a singer, but damn, they’re all very happy to be in a musical” that worked so well the first time around. And just for the record – you remember how Pierce Brosnan couldn’t sing the last time? Well this time he confirms – he can’t dance either!
But you won’t care. You’ll just kick back and enjoy with the biggest of smiles on your face, up until the beautiful emotional punch it saves for its finale – and by then the tears will be flowing.
By the time Dancing Queen kicks in, you know resistance is futile. By the time you get to the chorus of Fernando – fuck it man, you’re dead in the water.
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