- Released Internationally on 09/07/08
- Released in Malta by KRS on 23/07/08
In a nutshell
Yet another successful jukebox musical makes the leap to the big screen. Mamma Mia! has been playing to packed theatre audiences on both sides of the Atlantic for nearly ten years, and considering the undying popularity of ABBA’s hits, it’s no surprise.
Mamma Mia! Is very much a summer film – loads of beautiful people singing and dancing away on a sun-drenched Greek island, as they prepare for a wedding. Guests start to arrive from around the globe, and a few old friendships are re-forged and some old flames rekindled. What more could you ask for on a hot summer night?
I admit to never having watched the stage musical, for reasons related to my Y chromosome, so I’m not sure how this screen version steers away from the original plot or song line-up. We first meet Sophie on the eve of her wedding, and she confides in her bridesmaids that she has raided her mother’s old diary looking for clues as to the identity of her unknown father. Instead of an answer, she finds three, and therefore decides to invite all three of them to the wedding. And sure enough they all turn up, never having met each other before, and all eager to meet their old summer romance, Donna.
Donna runs the island’s main hotel, is organising the wedding, and more or less steals the show. She is played by a very feisty Meryl Streep, who once again shows us her huge versatility and talent. Approaching 60, Streep transforms herself into a burnt-out but fun single mother, who’s put aside her wild youth and settled for a quiet but busy life cut off from the rest of the world. She sings, she dances, she performs splits, and she crowns it all with a wonderful rendition of ‘The Winner Takes It All’ atop a windy cliff.
Who else is in it?
Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls, Alpha Dog) is the bride-to-be, Sophie. The three potential fathers she invites are portrayed with gusto by Pierce Brosnan (007, Mrs. Doubtfire), Colin Firth (Bridget Jones’ Diary, Love Actually) and Stellan Skarsgård (Pirates of the Caribbean, Amistad). Julie Walters (Harry Potter, Billy Elliot) and Christine Baranski (The Birdcage, Bulworth) are equally entertaining as Donna’s best friends. The film was directed by Phyllida Lloyd, who had directed the musical to worldwide success back in 1999.
Flawed but fun
The fun never stops, and there are over twenty musical numbers squeezed into the plot, and chances are you know the lyrics or at least the tune to nearly all of them. And the entire cast seems to be having great fun throughout the whole thing. Admittedly, watching James Bond suddenly burst into song on a Greek veranda can take some getting used to, but most musical numbers turn out quite well. The scenery is exquisite, although some sequences give away the studio setting and fail to match the outdoors scenes. But all’s resolved in the end, and in true musical style there’s a big grand finale to suit everyone. And just in case you’re not smiling by the end of it all, the closing credits are sure to win you over.
http://www.apple.com/trailers/universal/mammamia/ (High-res QuickTime)