Here’s the deal here, this is not my kind of movie and I feel bad that I had made my mind up to not enjoy it before I took my seat. I know, I’m a bad reviewer for admitting that but I feel that the following review will not be as objective as it should be, and I apologize for that in advance. If you are a fan of this movie, or the previous one, or Abba, or anything connected to it, then I would skip this. Don’t put yourself through it. I will only make you mad, and I don’t want to do that. So click away now, and understand that I know I’m not the target audience, and I am covering the movie as i feel it’s part of the job to do so, and don’t take it personal – it’s me, not you.
Now for the rest of you. Mamma Mia 2 is the sequel to the incredibly popular first outing, based on a musical, based on the original songs of Swedish mega group Abba. This outing is more of a prequel of sorts, as the action switches between the present day, and 1979, charting the lives and loves of the original cast. It actually takes a while to get into the swing of things, as the action switches more frequently between time zones than a Doctor Who finale.
You have to tune in to follow when we have slipped back and forward, but it’s a necessary evil to get the full effect of what’s going on. And to be honest, there’s not a lot of plot here to work with!
We see young Donna and her various romantic liaisons that fuel the initial Mia movie. I suppose the question here is, will we get a clue as to the real identity of the father of her daughter, but I won’t spoil how things work out in that department. Meanwhile in the present day, Donna’s daughter Sophie is trying to re-launch her mum’s Greek island restaurant to honor her mother and bring everyone back together. Along the way we have all the musical dynamite of classic Abba songs to remind us all that this is a fantasy musical that really doesn’t make much sense under the microscope.
Now musicals aren’t my thing at all, but I have seen a few, and the one thing I know is that the songs, the set pieces and choreography have to be on point. However, my problem with MM2 is the chunkiness of the song placements, the actual performances and the un-inspired choreography. It all just looks cheap and dare I say it amateurish. When I have actually plonked my money down for a ticket to a musical, I have initially invested in the premise, but when the actual production looks and feels un-real, my investment starts to slip. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I was physically cringing at some of the performances, and a lot of it seemed to have the feel of a TV show designed for a teenage audience.
When I think of, for instance, West Side Story, the songs are performed beautifully and the dance routines are jaw dropping and memorable. I can still recall the roof top dance and the song “America”. In MM2, the singing was not much better than Karaoke, and this is doubly distracting when you know most of the songs really well. The dancing was also really bland, and I’m no expert, but i know when i’m seeing something above and beyond, or just the usual old stuff you get on every audition of Britain’s got Talent.
As the plot slowly trundles to a conclusion, we get the arrival of Cher as a character that does nothing nothing to forward the plot or actually make any kind of a difference. I bet she cost a fortune too, and honestly, she does nothing. They should have just got Patsy from Ab fab to show up and do the same job. By the end of the third reel I was preying something would happen, but plot twist, it doesn’t. It ends just the way you thought it would and I couldn’t even make a quick escape, as the cinema was really busy and lots of the audience were really taking a long time to get down the stairs.
I didn’t enjoy this film, but I wasn’t meant to, but in my defense, I have enjoyed other musicals, because the songs were relevant to the plot, not shoe horned in to fit the remit, and the dance choreography was impressive. Mamma Mia 2 seemed to fail at the basics, and maybe that’s part of it’s charm, but not for me. It just seemed cheap, gimmicky and lazy, and if you are paying money to go see any film, that’s 3 reasons you should get your money back.