Movie Review for Mamma Mia! (2008)

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Review #662 of 365
Movie Review of Mamma Mia! (2008) [PG-13] 108 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $13.00
Where Viewed: United Artists Circle Center, Indianapolis, IN
When Seen: 21 July 2008
Time: 2:30 pm
DVD Release Date: 16 December 2008 (click date to purchase or pre-order)

Soundtrack: Download now from Meryl Streep - Mamma Mia! (The Movie Soundtrack) - or - order the CD below

Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd (Gloriana)
Written by: Catherine Johnson ("Linda Green")

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Amanda Seyfried ("Big Love") • Stellan Skarsgård (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End) • Pierce Brosnan (Seraphim Falls) • Colin Firth (The Last Legion) • Rachel McDowall (debut) • Ashley Lilley (debut) • Meryl Streep (Lions for Lambs) • Julie Walters (Becoming Jane) • Christine Baranski (Bonneville) • Dominic Cooper (Starter for 10)

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For those unfamiliar with the story of Mamma Mia!—the stage musical sensation written to link various ABBA hits into a semi-coherent love story—it all begins with Sophie (Amanda Seyfried). She's getting married to Sky (Dominic Cooper) at her mother's run-down Inn on a tiny island in Greece. Donna (Meryl Streep), her mother, secretly believes she's too young to make this decision but goes along with the wishes of her daughter. To ensure the perfect wedding, unbeknownst to her mother, Sophie has secretly invited the three men from her mother's diary who could possibly be her long-lost father: Bill, an adventurer and novelist, (Stellan Skarsgård), Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan) a well-to-do English businessman now settled in the US, and Harry Bright (Colin Firth) a very, very well-to-do English businessman still living in England. They all arrive quite spectacularly a few days before the wedding holding invites they think Donna has sent them, and each secretly longs to be back in her arms.

When it comes to movie musicals, Mamma Mia! is spectacular good fun.
Also arriving that day are Donna's oldest and dearest friends, both former back up singers to their night club act, Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters). And all of this takes place in Donna's run-down little Inn that Sky is promising to use the Internet to put it on the map. Naturally, when the possible fathers arrive, there's a comedy of errors that ensues with Sophie trying to keep them out of sight and her mother's nose, etc. They are confused at first, but eventually they figure out, or so they think, what's going on. The climax of the film comes just before Sophie's wedding when all of the pieces to the complicated web she's weaved start to unravel and no one is sure with whom they are long-term bound.

When it comes to movie musicals, Mamma Mia! is spectacular good fun. The Greek Isle setting is magnificent supplying a wonderful backdrop to the true love that rages on behind the scenes. The singing is on par, as are the dance routines. Small attention to details is the signature of director Phyllida Lloyd, nearly a national treasure in England so well known for her stage and opera direction. Her translation of this gigantic juggernaut stage production into an accessible motion picture musical works very, very well. The cast is cohesive and chummy lending credibility to the onscreen relationships and rivalries. The story blends comedy and melodrama successfully while affording a seamless interaction between the elements of the stormy story and the ABBA hit songs. Needless to say, some of the singing will surprise and amuse—who knew Meryl Streep had this character inside just waiting to burst free. Amanda Seyfried carries her own opposite Ms Streep without the slightest hint of either hero worship or shadow syndrome. There's a scene where the two cuddle up in a chair that's as cute as can be—again demonstrating the incredible chemistry of the cast.

As far a movie musicals go, Mamma Mia! ranks pretty high up on the all time best list. Ironically, it's a hundred times better than the Chicago translation that won Best Picture some how; and, yet, there's no way anyone should be thinking that Mamma Mia! will even get a nomination.

a hundred times better than the Chicago translation that won Best Picture
The Academy Awards® have not been kind to musicals of late nearly shunning last year's brilliant achievement Across the Universe. Nonetheless, there's no reason to be sitting at home right now when you could be kicking up your heels in the aisles of Mamma Mia!!

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Other Projects Featuring Mamma Mia! (2008)
Cast Members
Amanda SeyfriedStellan SkarsgårdPierce Brosnan
Colin FirthRachel McDowallAshley Lilley
Meryl StreepJulie WaltersChristine Baranski
Dominic Cooper
Phyllida Lloyd
Catherine Johnson

Review-lite Mamma Mia! (2008) [max of 150 words]
If you love ABBA and/or stage musicals turned movie musicals, there's nothing to keep you home and away from Mamma Mia! the movie. With an incredible cast, wonderful backdrop, and sensational story featuring ABBA's greatest hits, all you need to do is step up and join this dance machine perfectly directed by legendary stage and opera director Phyllida Lloyd.

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1 comment:

movie mia said...

this is one of the only plays i've ever seen, which ended up being great... it's funny to think of ol' Pierce taking a stab at singing, yeeesh