Literally, it has been 8 years since the “Mamma Mia!” Broadway play has hit the big screen, and seeing it was fun at the time. Now, we have another film that splices the sequel-prequel genre. We see the events that follow, and the events that started it. Sure, it’s a little silly at times, but on its own terms, it’s actually a lot of fun. I took my mother to see it, and we both enjoyed it. And I wouldn’t be surprised if fans would, too.
Taking place, once again, in Athens, Greece, the movie starts with the young Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) preparing to reopen the Hotel Bella Donna, in loving memory of her mother Donna (Meryl Streep-appearing at the very end of the film). But trouble brews: her love Sky (Dominic Cooper) may be accepting a permanent job in New York City, her two fathers Harry (Colin Firth) and Bill (Stellan Skarsgard) can’t make it to grand reopening, because of work, and a storm threatens her lovely celebration.
The movie also splices in Donna’s story, starting in 1979 when she (Lily James) and her two friends: Tanya (Jessica Keenan Wynn before Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Alexa Davies before Julie Walters) graduate from Oxford. She decides to travel the world, and meets three charming strangers: the young Harry (Hugh Skinner), the young Bill (Josh Dylan), and the young Sam (Jeremy Irvine before Pierce Brosnan). She makes love to all of them, and because of some issues, they are forced to go their separate ways. But she became pregnant. But you already knew that, so…..
And she decides to make Greece her final home, because of all the wonderful features it offers: a place where she and her friends can perform, a place of magic, and a sense of beauty.
Meanwhile, in the present, we meet two new characters: the charming new villa manager Fernando (Andy Garcia), and the world famous singer Ruby Sheridan (Cher). And “If She Could Turn Back Time,” she could have been the world’s greatest mother to Donna and grandmother to Sophie, but she couldn’t.
“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” does goof off a bit with some awkward moments, and the way the storm enters Sophie’s story, so I did wince a bit. But on the other hand, my mother and I were having a ball-listening to the catchy tunes and charming performances from the cast.
I also admired some of the situations the young versions had to deal with, including a rags meets riches love story, the villa back when it was in ruins, and the minor characters they meet in all of this. It’s just fun to see this.
And not to sound like a jerk or anything, but if I were spoofing a musical, and I saw a bunch of people singing and dancing, I’d imagine myself saying: “Did they practice this song?.” All the singing and dancing will leave fans tapping in their seats. And Streep may have a very, very small role in this, but the rest of the cast keeps things in check.
Unlike “The Equalizer 2,” “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is the new sequel to see this weekend.