Bethlehem Press

Saturday, November 17, 2018
CONTRIBUTED PHOTOFrom left: Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” CONTRIBUTED PHOTOFrom left: Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”

Movie Review: Amanda ‘Mia!’

Monday, July 30, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

“Mamma Mia!” Here We Go Again” is really Amanda Seyfried’s movie.

While the movie poster for “Mama Mia! Here We Go Again” lists its stars in alphabetical order, Seyfried stars as Sophie, daughter of Donna (Meryl Streep), who is readying the reopening of Hotel Bella Donna on a Greek island (The fictional Kalokairi. Island scenes in the sequel were filmed on Vis, Croatia, in the Adriatic Sea).

Seyfried, an Allen High School graduate, is effervescent, in good voice and has the solo spotlight in “One Of Us,” “Angel Eyes,” “I’ve Been Waiting For You”; duets on “My Love, My Life,” and sings and dances in the finale, “Dancing Queen.” Her guy Sky (Dominic Cooper) is there for her.

Seyfried’s co-star in “Mamma Mia!” Here We Go Again,” which is sort of a prequel to “Mamma Mia!,” released a decade ago in 2008, is Lily James, who plays the young Donna.

Lily James is also in fine voice and dances in several numbers, including “When I Kissed The Teacher,” “Waterloo,” “Why Did It Have To Be Me,” “I Have A Dream,” “Andante, Andante,” “The Name Of The Game,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Mamma Mia,” and “My Love, My Life.”

While the setting of “Mamma Mia!” Here We Go Again” is ostensibly Hotel Bella Donna, the story, which is told in lengthy flashbacks (going back to 1979), is really about how Donna arrived on Kalokairi, and met the men in her life, including Josh Dylan, as the young Bill; Hugh Skinner. as the young Harry, and Jerery Irvine, as the young Sam.

Excellent are Alexa Davies as the young Rosie and Jessica Keenan Wynn as the young Tanya.

Much of the cast of the original “Mamma Mia!” is back, including Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård and Meryl Streep (in a cameo from beyond).

Cher shows up for some scenes and a spotlight number, a pumped-up “Fernando,” which she sings opposite Andy Garcia (Fernando).

The tone of the movie is that everyone is having a good time, seemingly waltzing through their parts as if at a party. If you liked the original “Mamma Mia!” and are a fan of the songs of Abba, then you’ll have a good time, too.

Ol Parker (screenwriter, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” 2011; “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” 2015; director, “Now Is Good,” 2012; “Imagine Me & You,” 2005) directs “Mamma Mia!” Here We Go Again” based on a screenplay he wrote from a story he wrote with Richard Curtis and Catherine Johnson as originally conceived by Judy Craymer and based on the original musical by Catherine Johnson, and, of course, the songs by Abba.

The movie is lensed with a brilliant palette of bright blues and pastels. The setting is gorgeous. If you want an hour or two of escapist fun, then “Mamma Mia!” Here We Go Again” is the movie for you.

“Mamma Mia!” was billed as a jukebox movie, which is a takeoff of the term, jukebox musical, which describes a Broadway show whereby the storyline is based on or inspired by songs of a music group or songwriter. “Mamma Mia!” the musical, which opened in 1999, is based on Abba’s 1975 album of the same title. “Mamma Mia!” Here We Go Again” is also a jukebox movie, which integrates the Abba songs successfully into the simple plotline.

Be forewarded: Fans of Abba will be dancing in their seats (and they were during the screening I attended) and singing and clapping along to the Abba hits in the movie, including “Super Trouper,” “The Winner Takes It All” and more.

“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is clearly a “chicks’ flick,” to quote what is probably an outdated cliche. If you’re a fan of Abba, Amanda Seyfried, feel-good summer movie entertainment, and the original “Mamma Mia!” movie and musical, you should consider going to this movie musical.

“Mamma Mia!” Here We Go Again,” MPAA Rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.) for some suggestive material. Genre: Musical, Comedy. Run time: 1 hr., 54 mins. Distributed by Universal Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous: In “Mamma Mia!” Here We Go Again,” Benny Andersson, an original member of Abba, plays piano in the “Waterloo” number. Björn Ulvaeus, another Abba member, has a cameo in the “When I Kissed The Teacher” number. Omid Djalili. who plays a Greek passport official, has a humorous scene singing “Take A Chance On Me” at the very end of the credits.

Box Office, July 27: Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible - Fallout” opened at No. 1 with a best-of-franchise $61.5 million, as “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” stayed at No. 2, $15 million, $70.4 million, two weeks, and “The Equalizer 2,” dropped two places to No. 3, with $14 million, $64.2 million, two weeks.

4. “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” traveled down one place, $12.3 million, $119.2 million, three weeks. 5. “Teen Titans Go! To The Movies,” $10.5 million, opening. 6. “Ant-Man And The Wasp” dropped two slots with $8.4 million, $183.1 million, four weeks. 7. “Incredibles 2” dropped two slots, $7.1 million, $572.7 million, seven weeks. 8. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” dropped one slot, with $6.7 million, $397.5 million, six weeks. 9. “Skyscraper” continued to collapse, dropping two slots, $5.4 million, $59.1 million, three weeks. 10. “The First Purge” hiccuped another two two slots, $2.2 million, $65.4 million, four weeks.

Unreel, Aug. 3:

“Christopher Robin,” PG: Marc Forster directs Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, and Mark Gatiss in the Animation Comedy Drama. Christopher Robin, now a middle-aged man, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh.

“The Spy Who Dumped Me,” R: Susanna Fogel directs Milan Kunis, Kate McKinnon and Justin Theroux in the Action Comedy. Two best female friends get mixed up in an international conspiracy.

“Eighth Grade,” R: Bo Burnham directs Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, and Jake Ryan in the Comedy. An introverted teen girl tries to get through her last week of the eighth grade. She posts videos on YouTube.

“The Miseducation Of Cameron Post,” No MPAA Rating: Desiree Akhavan directs Chloë Grace Moretz, Jennifer Ehle, Marin Ireland, and Quinn Shephard in the Drama. In 1993, a teenage girl undergoes gay conversion therapy.

Three Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes