Mamma Mia!


Action / Comedy / Family / Musical / Romance


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June 27, 2013 at 07:38 PM

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700.64 MB
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1hr 48 min
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23.976 fps
1hr 48 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Neil Welch 10 / 10

Utterly joyous

I like, but don't love, musicals - my DVD shelves contain a selection, but the stuff there is pretty obvious: Singing in the Rain, King and I, Wizard of Oz, Moulin Rouge etc.. I'm not a Meryl Streep fan - I admire her craft, but mostly haven't liked the parts she's played. Conversely, I've always liked Abba's music. So that's my starting point when considering this movie which I have just been to see with my 80-year old mother.

The story is a piece of fluff. Sophie, who lives with her mother in a dilapidated hotel on an idyllic Greek island, wants nothing more than for her father to be at her forthcoming wedding. The trouble is her father could be any one of three men with whom her mother dot dot dotted twenty years ago. So Sophie invites all three of them to her wedding and, as expected, complications ensue. The story, such as it is, is quite strong enough to enable the songs to be hooked onto it. And the songs, with one or two obvious exceptions (Money Money Money cued by the rundown state of the hotel) are very cannily worked into the story so that each one is relevant.

The film looks great. The Greek locations overflow with sun and primary colours. The script is mostly fairly deft, and there is a sprinkling of decent laughs.

But the film ultimately stands or falls - and it stands, believe me! - on two things: the music, and the cast.

The music - sitting through this film brings home the strength of the Abba catalogue. There isn't a weak song among the two dozen which feature on the soundtrack. The music, produced by composer Benny Andersson, mostly wisely sticks very close to the original arrangements, and the occasional divergences (Greek bouzouki on I Had A Dream, for instance) are spot on.

And the cast - well, they deliver. Brosnan's singing has been criticised, but he is always in tune, and he delivers a satisfactory vocal performance rather than dazzling with a polished singing technique (which he hasn't got). The four leading women are all wonderful. Julie Walters and Christine Baranski as Meryl Streep's two oldest friends are both very funny (Julie Walters has a particularly funny little bit of business in a rubber boat), and Baranski has her own knockout number. Amanda Seyfried as Sophie is simply delightful - she sings well, carries the plot and all the emotion which goes with it, and is very easy on the eye. And Meryl Streep is a revelation.

This film is an utterly joyous experience. My old Mum and I came out of the cinema buoyed up by the experience of watching it, and I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who enjoys musicals and/or Abba's music.

Reviewed by fionaallen 10 / 10

Brilliant feel good laugh out loud film

I saw this film at the screening on Sunday and was not too sure of what to expect from it. I hadn't seen the west end show so was not really aware of the story line but that really did not matter.

As soon as the first song started I was loving it! The actors may not be that great at singing but does it matter?! They are actors after all and this is not the west end! The actors play the parts really well and make fun of themselves at the same time. The story line is fun and has laughs for all ages. Julie Waters is her fantastic self in it and Meryl Streep plays the mother really well. The dance scenes are great and well put together. Loads of people in the cinema were singing and dancing in their seats so just enjoy it and have some laughs for a few hours.

If you take it for what it is, a fun laugh out loud film with good actors and fantastic songs, then you will enjoy this film so much.I suspect that this will be a summer box office hit! Enjoy it and have fun - you may need your tissues though as I'm pretty sure some of you will be crying with laughter at some of the scenes.

Reviewed by Chris_Docker 7 / 10

Here we go again ...

Mamma Mia! Does the mention of anything Abba-ish send you cringing to a corner? Or are you already joining in and dancing on the tabletops? Maybe another few drinks . . .

In short, if you are not allergic to Abba, book your tickets now. If you are, why would you be reading this? At a pinch, it is worth seeing for Meryl Streep alone, who not only throws herself headlong into every refrain with unashamed gusto, but adds a touch of class and nuance to what otherwise could be a one-dimensional adaptation. Streep vacillates engagingly between playing herself and not taking herself too seriously. Pierce Brosnan just about keeps up, and manages more expressions than he ever did as James Bond. Colin Firth and Julie Waters trail behind somewhat. Yet Mama Mia! is a roller coaster of emotion, careering colourfully from the blue waters of the Adriatic, bursting 'like Aphrodite's Fountain' into the lives of Donna (Meryl) , her lovers and friends, and her soon-to-be-wed daughter. It is the party spirit that says kick your shoes off and sing silly cheesy songs. Altogether now.

And yes – there's a story. Donna's daughter Sophie is getting married. To the buff-looking Sky. Only – where's her dad? She's never met him. A sneak-peek at Mom's diary shows Mom had three lovers before Sophie was born and Sophie secretly invites all of them. This is a film of threesomes. Three past lovers (Sam, Bill and Harry). Three close friends (Donna and two best pals). And, not to be outdone, Sophie meets up with two other young girls at the start of the film.

The breakneck pace still allows for brilliantly put together shots. Like Streep doing a 'Titanic' with drapes blowing in the wind. Or a pier-load of young hunky stag night crew doing a dance in trunks and deep-dive flippers. Moonlit boats and beaches to "I Have a Dream." Filmed on location, the views won't disappoint. And like a favourite song whose ending we know, the drama is in the details and execution.

As with many adapted-from-stage musicals, two young leads are played by talented singers, and the older parts by serious actors can sing well enough. Streep manages extremely well. Her performance is so professional and assured it leaves others standing. Fortunately, it is perhaps easy to paper over any cracks in musical comedy. Sweeney Todd relied heavily on Depp's charisma and stunning cinematography. Across the Universe, too heavily on the songs. Mamma Mia!, on the other hand, simply tailors everything to its joyous headlong rush. The songs fit naturally to the action. Streep even manages to sing them with her tongue firmly in cheek. She confesses to having been a "stupid reckless little slut" but then says she "grew up". (To which her pals chime in, "Well grow back down again!") The film is not without faults. There is a notable lack of chemistry between the people that throw themselves rapturously against each others' faces. Even Streep looks less than convincing in a brief lips-mash. And the men are a bit croaky in the singing department (Hugh Grant might even have been a preferable casting choice). And some of the time-line is wobbly. For instance, strange as it may seem, music from more than twenty years ago does not all come from the same era. So reminiscing about flower power (early sixties) in the same breath as a Johnny Rotten t-shirt (Sex Pistols, mid-late seventies) is either anachronistic or wishful thinking.

Sadly, I am of a generation that can remember Abba-mania. The records would shoot to number one. Yet even then few people would admit to buying them. I used to manage a night club, and Abba was great music to ask a girl up to dance. My entire chat-up repertoire at that time consisted of, "Would you like to dance?" and "Do you want to come back for a coffee?" But girls would be so happy dancing to Mamma Mia they'd say yes anyway. I'd fall in love with a new girl each week. Ah, those were the days! Now there's a new generation of Abba fans who have no need to 'come out of a closet'. Abba is retro-chique. Even Madonna segued an Abba riff into one of her songs. From karaoke to hen nights. From '70s' nights to gay dance-floors. Dress up. Camp it up. Sing it up. Get sassy and cheesy. Or, if you're old enough to remember, fly back in time to wonderful memories.

Mamma Mia!, whatever detractors might say, has been one of the most successful stage shows of recent times. Supported by the same director and original band members, the movie may well reach the similar fan bases. Or just the party spirit in all of us.

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